Thursday, 20 January 2011

An idiot abroad?

I read a surprising piece today by Nick Bryant on the BBC.  The blog was regarding William Hague's visit to Australia, two things surprised me about this.  Firstly that it was the first I had heard about it, I like to think of myself as up to date politics wise, yet I've not noticed any mention of this previously.  Granted I haven't been following much Australian news (as I don't like the way disaster stories are covered by the press - that is not to say that the floods are not devastating and a terrible event) but on the main body of the Independent's website or the BBC's politics site the only article I can find without actively searching for this is the blog from the BBC's Australian correspondent.  

Maybe you don't think this is big news, however this brings me to my second surprising point, this is the first time a Foreign Secretary has visited Australia since 1994.  I find this astonishing that throughout the 13 years of Labour government they did not send the person responsible for foreign policy to Australia.  We will hopefully always have a connection with them that goes beyond other Commonwealth countries due to our history which is why the annual talks are more than welcome.  They are a vital ally and as such we should be strengthening our relationship with them, especially given their proximity to Asia.

I find this welcome news after the poor start to the coalition where the government appeared to just want to piss everyone off, now they are making up for Labour's 13 years of foreign policy that seemed to revolve almost exclusively around the US. The US are still the major international player and as such we should ensure our relations with them are good, but not at the expense of other nations.  If you couple this with the attempts to build bridges with China (although I don't think that trade mission was exactly successful) and Nick's popularity abroad things are looking up - if only we could get a good immigration policy!

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