Ed Davey: Boris Johnson has failed again

Ed Davey has criticised Boris Johnson for failing to make any progress at the G7 summit today.

He said:

Boris Johnson has come out from this summit with nothing. Britain should stand tall in the world, but this Prime Minister falls short at every turn.

He has failed on the global stage once more, and the consequences could not be more devastating.

We abandoned all those who needed us in their hour of need; those who have put themselves in danger to protect British troops, vulnerable women and girls, and all those who simply fought to make their country a better place to live.

There have been calls for a safe passage to be prioritised since the outset of this crisis, but the government was caught on the hoof, and left scrambling with the clock ticking.

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  • Barry Lofty 25th Aug '21 - 9:58am

    Well said Sir Ed, Johnson gets away with far too much.

  • We saw the reality last year. The Prime Minister had other things on his mind when the Covid problem was starting. That was the same time as President Trump was agreeing with the Taliban to withdraw American troops.
    Now it looks as if the Prime Minister is engaged in an exercise to blame others. But that is the way he works.
    Thanks to Ed Davey for his statement. I hope he keeps up the pressure whenever he can. The country needs it.

  • The G7 Summit was back in June, there was G7 Leaders video meeting on Afghanistan on the 24th, where the “special relationship” was shown for what it was: not particularly special, with the UK PM being left standing alone – having been deserted by its US ally and no longer having access to the table to influence EU policy. So it is hardly surprising that he came out from this summit with nothing; other than hopefully a better appreciation of the UK’s new post-Brexit status in the world.

    Given the warnings, including those from our own intelligence services, why are we scrabbling around?
    It does look like it’s not voting reform that is urgently required, but a wholesale overhaul of the UK Goverment machine.

  • Nonconformistradical 25th Aug '21 - 1:22pm

    “G7 Leaders video meeting on Afghanistan on the 24th, where the “special relationship” was shown for what it was: not particularly special, with the UK PM being left standing alone – having been deserted by its US ally and no longer having access to the table to influence EU policy. ”

    I asked this in another thread – A question for participants… Under what circumstances would you trust a US government – of whatever political persuasion – to take into account the interests of other nations where such interests might not be aligned fully with US interests?

  • Dominic Raab, has said, that the ‘special relationship’ is still intact but 40 years ago Henry Kissinger stated “America has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests”…Nothing has changed..
    Mrs. Thatcher’s ‘special relationship’ with Ronald Reagan didn’t stop him informing her after his invasion of Granada after the action had started (US Navy SEALs were deployed on 23rd October 1983)…France’s refusal to join the Iraq invasion led them to being castigated by the US (I remember eating ‘freedom fries’ in a restaurant in Dallas) but Barak Obama called them the USA’s ‘oldest allies’ and all was ‘sweetness and light’..

    Harold Wilson used the relationship in the same way that the US uses it “Is it In our best interest?’…Other PMs have not always acted with that in mind..

  • Kissinger was only paraphrasing Lord Palmerstion who in 1848 said “We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow.”
    In terms of International relations we need to be able to assess where national interests lie. This article https://thebackbencher.co.uk/what-are-britains-national-interests-a-foreign-policy-crash-course/ argues “the transatlantic alliance must remain strong…our security and that of Western Europe is almost entirely dependent on [the USA]. That we are so dependent on the US is entirely our own fault. A succession of British and European leaders have taken the cheap option and relied on the US for the bulk of our defence strategy. The price tag, however, was an implicit agreement that we would support Washington when (not if) required. Broadly speaking this has worked because the US has wanted, broadly speaking, the same things. How long that will remain the case is another matter. NATO works because it is dominated by the US. Remove the US and it becomes a loose affiliation.

  • Barry Lofty 25th Aug '21 - 5:25pm

    If my history is correct Churchill had great difficulty in getting America to assist us at the outbreak of the second world war, even reluctant to supply us with their out of date armaments at one point, until Pearl Harbour that is?? I don’t suppose this has any relevance to this discussion though?

  • @ Barry Lofty Not really so, Barry. Roosevelt signed the Lend Lease Act on 11 March, 1941. You can look up what that involved and it was more than helpful.

  • Barry Lofty 25th Aug '21 - 6:23pm

    David Raw@ oh well David you have ruined my argument now, I thought it took Churchill a great deal of persuasion to get that agreement through!

  • @David Raw – WW2 started in September 1939, some 18 months before the Lend Lease Act, it wasn’t until December 1941 that the US actually joined the war in Europe. Remember it took time and events to overcome the isolationists – especially those in Congress but also among the public.

    The relevance to Afghanistan is I think more about US reluctance to become entangled with foreign conflicts, something that has become more pronounced since Vietnam.

  • Roland 26th Aug ’21 – 12:36am………The relevance to Afghanistan is I think more about US reluctance to become entangled with foreign conflicts, something that has become more pronounced since Vietnam………..

    Really? There have been 21 US foreign ‘interventions’ since Vietnam; of which Afghanistan was the 13th..

  • John Marriott 26th Aug '21 - 9:53am

    From my reading of history, FDR was keen help; but was mindful of the strong isolationist pro German feeling in the USA. National hero, Charles Lindbergh, was a prominent admirer of the Nazis and, I believe, at one stage, might have considered a run for the White House.

    Two things tipped the scales in favour of US involvement, namely the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour and Hitler’s totally unnecessary declaration of war on the USA. Thank goodness, however, that the Yanks did come. Otherwise we might all be singing “Die Fahne hoch…” by now.

  • FDR may well have been sympathetic but may well have been reluctant to side with Britain ( why help a loser and alienate a winner?) because of the influence of his close friend, and political ally, Joseph Kennedy who wasn’t ‘sympathetic’ and thought Germany would defeat Britain..
    When war broke out In 1939, as ambassador to the UK, he stated that Britain was unlikely to survive attacks from Nazi Germany and, even after the ‘Battle of Britain’ had removed the threat of a Nazi invasion, he declared that ” “Democracy is finished in England. It may be here (in the USA).”…
    That final phrase forced him to resign his position..The rest is history..

  • Lorenzo Cherin 26th Aug '21 - 1:25pm

    Ed Davey personalising too often is not as effective or sensible. This is a failure ofthis whole govt.

    Too much eulogising an fandom is lousy also. All the gush about Biden Harris goes too far, as did the loathing of Trump.

    Trump is awful, Biden not. Enough said as a basis, then go for the policy and effectiveness.

    Biden is currently failing on both.

    Harris is merely deflecting and giggling in many interviews initially.

    Political leadership needs substance. There is a very special relationship between the UK and the US. It is with the people,. and is cultural as well as political. Politicians come and go and often are little in that relationship.

  • Sorry, Expats, but Joe Kennedy was recalled and effectively sacked by FDR in the summer of 1940 for his defeatism – although this was not formerly announced until after the 1940 Presidential election was safely out of the way.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 26th Aug '21 - 1:33pm

    Expats is correct on the Second world war.

    The govt of the US was indeed supportive as David Raw says, though way too long after the war began. Joseph Kennedy was terribly right wing and dodgy as to democracy vs autocracy. He, like Edward V111, too in thrall to despots, easily impressed.

    The tone of all govts, apart from the UK is default position nationalism. We as Liberals see the merest nod there and get vapours. In reality this country is rarely nationalist, and is especially internationalist. The US are neither or both, but have, as in the early part of those two wars, been more nationalist than not.

    France are ever thus. Most countries are to the point of isolationist.

    It is good to at least put our own country high in pecking order, but not at the expensive of aiding a troubled country!

  • We tend to think of Germany;s invasion of Poland as being the start of WW2, but Japan invaded China in 1937 when Chinese and Japanese forces clashed on the Marco Polo Bridge near Beijing. U.S. officials believed that it had no vital interests in China worth going to war over with Japan. ,
    As the US watched Japanese forces sweep down the coast and then into the capital of Nanjing, popular opinion swung firmly in favor of the Chinese. Tensions with Japan rose when the Japanese Army bombed the U.S.S. Panay as it evacuated American citizens from Nanjing, killing three. The U.S. Government, however, accepted an apology and indemnity from the Japanese. An uneasy truce held with Japan into 1940.
    Early on, U.S. aid to China was limited to diplomatic pronouncements opposing Japan’s invasion of China. In 1940, Washington Roosevelt approved credits to the Chinese government that would be used to purchase war supplies. After Japan signed its Tripartite Pact with Germany and Italy in September 1940, the U.S. instituted a full embargo on Japan. After the Pearl Harbor bombing in December 1941, the United States declared war on the Japan and further strengthened its political and military ties with China.
    The initial US aid to the UK from 1939 was on a cash and carry basis with payment up front, in gold. When the gold began to run out, it was in foreign currency and securities; then through the forced liquidation of British assets in North America at knock-down prices; then the surrender of British patents and royalties for inventions, such as radar and jet engines; finally it was territory. FDR wanted British bases in the Caribbean, Bermuda, and Newfoundland. Churchill handed those over in exchange for small arms and 50 mothballed destroyers.
    FDR had to fight the 1940 Presidential election at a time when his opponents were casting him as a war-monger and the voting public didn’t want to get involved in another European war. When FDR was voted back in, he came up with Lend-Lease as a way of bypassing the Neutrality Acts to supply the UK with munitions, aircraft, food, vehicles and ships. Lend-Lease helped turn the tide and was extended to Russia following the Nazi invasion of the USSR.

  • Barry Lofty 26th Aug '21 - 3:24pm

    Jo Bourke @ Thanks for the reminder of events during that period of history, I have read, and seemingly, forgotten much of what I had learnt back in the day!

  • David Raw 26th Aug ’21 – 1:30pm…Sorry, Expats, but Joe Kennedy was recalled and effectively sacked by FDR in the summer of 1940 for his defeatism – although this was not formerly announced…..

    David, Joe Kennedy was still in the UK during the Blitz which didn’t start until September 1940..He stayed in the countryside outside London to avoid the bombing and was known as ‘Jittery Joe’. ( Randolph Churchill wrote “I thought my daffodils were yellow until I met Joe Kennedy.”)

    He returned to the US in late October 1940 at his own request and, in November 1940 when the Roosevelt administration was debating whether or not to grant military aid to Britain, he made his notorious “Democracy is finished in England..” speech against any such aid..

  • Thanks for that Expats.

    I’m not going to quibble about late Summer/early Autumn, 1940, but I know a bit about the Blitz (which ran from 7 September 1940 to 11 May 1941) because my Dad flew Hurricanes (and later Typhoons) in the RAF.

    By the Summer of 1940 British Intelligence was ‘bugging’ Kennedy…… which FDR knew. His relationship with FDR was more than a little complicated – they couldn’t stand each other. JK’s resignation wasn’t actually announced until 1941 (though he offered it and returned to the USA in October, 1940). In the November election he was persuaded to speak in support of FDR because of a deal arranged with FDR about Joe K. jnr’s future political ambitions.

    Meanwhile FDR had arranged the second hand Destroyers deal with Churchill, apparently communicating with the King and the British Government via sealed envelopes which Kennedy had to present but was not allowed to read.

  • John Marriott 27th Aug '21 - 11:13am

    To all you potential rewriters of history, two things stick out in my increasingly simple mind.
    1. Without the USA entering WW2, however ‘late’ that entry might have been, we on these islands would have been toast.
    2. If the atom bomb had not been dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima, at least another million military lives and countless millions of civilian lives would have been lost in seeking an bend to the war with Japan.

  • John Marriott 27th Aug '21 - 11:40am

    Sorry for the typo. For ‘bend’ read ‘END’.

    While my fingers are still hovering over my iPad, let us NEVER forget how we in these islands stood alone against the forces of fascism after the fall of France until the entrance of the USA into Ww2.

    I am currently two thirds through part one of Simon Heffer’s mammoth unexpurgated edition of the diaries of Henry ‘Chips’ Channon. Besides being a fascinating mirror into the life and mores of a certain section of 1930s British society, the clear evidence from Channon’s comments is that, amongst the ‘upper class’, support of German fascism was high. No wonder, or so it is alleged, that the public records of certain prominent figures from that period are still embargoed long after the thirty year rule should have kicked in, as this might prove embarrassing to their descendants. There were plenty of Joe Kennedy’s amongst the British ruling class, including a brief occupant of the British throne, who would have been quite happy to see the swastika flying over Whitehall!!

  • @ John Marriott How long is a piece of string, young John ?

    a) Not entirely convinced we would have been toast given that Hitler (a la Napoleon) made the monumental error of attacking Russia in June, 1941 before the US entered the war ….. though we might have ended up with a completely Soviet dominated Europe.

    b) Possibly, but I still shudder at the impact of those bombs on innocent people and children.

    c) Monty and the British 8th Army gave Rommel and Musso’s lot a real pasting at El Alamein in August, 1942 without a huge amount of support from the US.

    Without in any way wanting to diminish the US contribution, I well remember a group of Normandy veterans saying to me in Caen back in 1994, “We shot at the Germans, the Germans shot at us, and the Americans shot at both of us”. This coincided with Dad’s experience.

    d) It’s a gross exaggeration to say Churchill (or Lloyd George in WW1) ‘won the war’. It was the ordinary squaddies, airmen and sailors who ‘won the war’ in both wars and expended the ‘blood, tears, toil & sweat’….. and the women who worked in the factories and brought up the kids like thee and me when their men were away, many of whom would never come back – and followed it up by voting for a welfare state and education system in 1945 which gave you and me the chances and opportunities we have both been so lucky to enjoy.

  • John Marriott 27th Aug ’21 – 11:13am………….1. Without the USA entering WW2, however ‘late’ that entry might have been, we on these islands would have been toast……….

    Hitler ‘lost’ the war with his invasion of Russia in 1941..He underestimated the Russian will to fight, their industrial capability (T-34 tanks, etc), German supply logistical problems and the sheer numbers of Russia ‘eastern reserves’. Add to that the ‘quagmire season’ and the winter and he was doomed to follow Napoleon..
    Russia could absorb the losses in men and materials Germany could not. ‘Barbarossa’ and ‘Typhoon’ both ended in failure.. Had the resources Hitler wasted in Russia been deployed in the desert campaign it is doubtful if things would have gone our way and Italy would have remained in the war; there would have been no Italian landings and no ‘D-Day’..
    The European war might well have ended with a US atomic bomb on Berlin; we’ll never know..

  • John Marriott 27th Aug '21 - 1:31pm

    @David Raw
    In response to some of your comments, here are a few rejoinders:
    1. Hitler’s big mistake was not attacking Russia. It was surely arbitrarily declaring war on the USA following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour.
    2. If you had asked my dad after he returned from his evacuation from Dunkirk in 1940 what he would have thought about our prospects, having seen the Nazi war machine in action, I don’t think his response would have been that positive.
    3. I realise that, for many people, Churchill is a bit of a marmite figure. It’s wasn’t me who said that he “won the war”. However, as someone wrote, he took the English language “into battle”. Could you have imagined someone like Lord Halifax in his place. Ending up as the British Ambassador in Washington DC was probably far enough away from the action for safety as was the Governorship of the Bahamas for his former monarch.
    4. As for North Africa, surely the big ‘loser’ there was Mussolini’s Italy. I’m sure you are familiar with the old joke about the Italian tank.

  • Peter Martin 27th Aug '21 - 2:30pm

    I’ll leave further discussion of WW2 to the aficionados of the subject but there is one popular misconception that goes along the lines that the German government had no choice but to start it because they had borrowed too much money and couldn’t afford to repay their loans. As if their creditors would have declared them bankrupt and moved in to repossess their assets. The German government wasn’t a company and so that could never have happened.

    Those who airily dismiss economic theory as of no practical significance might care to consider what might have happened if various Weimar governments had made a better job of managing the German economy, Also, if the Western allies had realised that the scale of reparations demanded and the economic austerity which followed afterwards was never going to work as intended. It completely destabilised the social order there and created the conditions for a war that otherwise would not have taken place.

  • Barry Lofty 27th Aug '21 - 3:12pm

    Of course Hitler and his fellow maniacs had nothing to do with it??

  • John Marriott 27th Aug '21 - 5:16pm

    @Peter Martin
    Yes, sir, and it was, I believe, France’s Clemenceau, who insisted on harsh punishment being placed on Germany for starting WW1. As for who created the circumstances for Hitler’s rise to power, don’t forget the Wall Street Crash and the withdrawal of US credit.

    As for financial constraints coming in the way of Hitler going to war, as I wrote on another thread, German historian, the late Joachim Fest, states that Hitler ignored the military advice that he should wait until 1943 before starting, mainly, it is speculated, because he feared his own physical health would not hold out.

  • Peter Martin 27th Aug '21 - 9:14pm

    @ John,

    “As for who created the circumstances for Hitler’s rise to power, don’t forget the Wall Street Crash and the withdrawal of US credit.”

    You’re still missing the point. Which is that the levels of production in Germany, and the health of the German economy generally, with of course the correct understanding of macroeconomics, depended neither on the value of shares on the US stock exchange nor on the availability of US credit. A fact also not appreciated by the orthodox mainstream of the time but grasped only too well by Nazi economists. Otherwise they’d never have been available to do what they did.

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