They say a week is a long time in politics, and no more so surely than in the week just gone.
Domestically the situation is changed utterly: from a Prime Minister on the brink over cheese and wine to one in the vanguard of the Western Alliance, leading from the front and facing down the greatest threat to its security since 1945. And in Keir Starmer we have a loyal opposition leader rising to the occasion and playing the role precisely as the situation demands.
Abroad, the situation is similarly transformed as Stewart Jackson, former Conservative MP and special advisor, observes in an article for Conservative Home:
“The German volte face on defence and energy and the ditching of the Nordstream 2 pipeline, the repudiation of the foolish and cynical Merkel engagement with Putin, the shattering of the Net Zero shibboleth, the renaissance of a cohesive and united NATO and the pivot of the US Administration back to European security, are all fundamental changes.
It would be churlish to deny that the European Union has risen to an historical challenge – although the “strategic autonomy” fantasies of Emmanuel Macron are surely now irrelevant. A partial post-Brexit thaw is also notable as witnessed by the Foreign Secretary’s invitation to and attendance at the EU Foreign Affairs Council on Friday.”
These are significant developments in Europe and should be welcomed even if it took an existential crisis to bring them about.
“The German U-turn and commitment to spend an extra £83 billion on defence this year is an epoch-making development as significant as German unification in 1990. The Prime Minister, Foreign Secretary and Defence Secretary have all been integral to these changes.
Indeed, it really isn’t too much to claim that the UK Government has, since last autumn, galvanised the wider liberal democratic West towards action in defending its own values and strategic interests.”
There is a similar welcome sense of purpose and direction from the UK government too. As well as maintaining defence spending at 2% of GDP
“We’ve trained 22,000 members of the Ukrainian armed forces under Operation Orbital since 2015, and were among the first European nations to send defensive weapons to Ukraine, with an initial tranche of 2,000 anti-tank defensive missiles, and more weapons left RAF Brize Norton last weekend, including handheld anti-aircraft and anti-tank weaponry.
UK economic warfare and sanctions are focused on restricting the Russian economy and bringing the leadership and oligarchy to its knees using such legal measures as Unexplained Wealth Orders and the putataive Economic Crime Bill, as well as multilateral action.
The UK has led the way sanctioning in banks – cutting off Russian debt raising and limiting deposits in UK banks, while also employing trade embargoes, travel bans, asset freezes and export controls and draconian measures in space, aerospace, aviation and maritime and other key strategic sectors like services and energy.”
In broader terms the current crisis has proved the UK’s ability
“to exert influence as an independent, sovereign nation which freely chooses to work collectively with both bilateral and multilateral partners, helping to strengthen NATO, stand with America and forge a partial rapprochement with the European Union in the face of the most serious assault on our values since the Cold War.”
The full article can be read here with a link to the original beneath it: