[A-List] UK imperialism: the home front
michael.keaney at mbs.fi
Tue Mar 9 05:16:30 MST 2004
This looks like part of Tony's "Big Conversation" -- the effort to
demonstrate how much in tune with and concerned about public opinion the
government really is, as it railroads through the very same public opinion
implacably opposed to the Iraq invasion, the privatisation of schools and
hospitals, and just about everything else Tony has committed himself to
doing. If handled well this is certainly a much more effective way of
keeping enough important constituencies within the big tent. But it also
shows how precarious is Britain, geopolitically, when it is foreign policy
that is proving to be the achilles' heel of the government, rather than all
the other disasters-in-the-making.
Minister leaves 'ivory tower' to involve people in foreign policy
DEBORAH SUMMERS, Political Correspondent
The Herald, March 09 2004
SCOTTISH business and community leaders and ethnic minority representatives
will help shape foreign policy today, when Mike O'Brien leaves Whitehall's
"ivory towers" to seek public opinion north of the border.
At a high-powered seminar in Glasgow, the Foreign Office minister and Tavish
Scott, deputy finance minister at the Scottish Parliament, will consult
about 80 delegates on the importance of linking policy with local people and
Terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, drug trafficking and international
crime will be high on the agenda, along with issues such as education,
asylum, immigration and jobs.
Mr O'Brien said: "This is part of a process of engaging in foreign policy.
Jack Straw, when he became foreign secretary, took the view that foreign
policy was discussed in the ivory towers of Whitehall, and what we really
needed to do was engage the community much more widely and canvass their
views on things rather than just letting career politicians and academics
lead the discussion. This is part of that process.
"We want to get away from immediate issues and talk about medium-term
foreign policy and which direction we should be going in on issues like
extremism and problems relating to jobs offshoring, particularly in the case
of call centres."
Specially invited delegates include representatives from the Royal Bank of
Scotland, Clydesdale Bank, British Airways, Scottish Refugee Council,
Glasgow University, Food Standards Agency, Scottish Drug Enforcement Agency
and Strathclyde Police.
An exhibition highlighting the ways the Foreign Office helps Britons at home
and abroad will be held at the Kelvin Gallery at Glasgow University from
today until Thursday.
Mr Scott said of the seminar: "It's an important opportunity for the
Scottish Executive to point out the importance of joined-up government,
which is key for Scottish business, for individuals and other people who
need the services that government in the round provide."
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