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Garibaldi_1
You may recall we reported last week that Cameron had chosen Garibaldi as his political hero. ConservativeHome commmenters didn’t have too much to say at the time, with the notable exception of Daniel Hannan MEP:

"The more I learn about Cameron, the more I like him. Garibaldi was
arguably the chief exemplar of the great Nineteenth Century tradition
of liberal nationalism: that generous and high-minded strain of
patriotism that cherished the freedoms of all peoples, not just your
own. His guiding creed was self-determination: that is, the right of
every people to form their own state. Surely the perfect role model."

Today he has expanded on this in an excellent article for The Telegraph, entitled Britons should back oppressed minorities (that means us, too). He advocates broadening EU-scepticism into a global intelellectual fight for self-determination. Foreign affairs in the Conservative Party have for some time been divided between Europe and Not-Europe (the "Foreign (not Europe)" section of the official website is looking sparce in content). Daniel believes our principles should be universally applied:

"Until now, the British Right has lacked a holistic view of international affairs – what the Germans call a Weltanschauung, a conception of the world."

"There is a respectable intellectual case to be made for national
self-determination, but the Conservatives have so far been reluctant to
make it – let alone extend it to other continents."

True self-determinism isn’t just about national boundaries however, it has to be coupled with accountable democracy:

"Accountable democracy demands that people feel enough in common one with another to accept government from each other’s hands.

Take
away the demos, the community with which we identify when we use the
word "we", and you are left only with the kratos, the power of a state
that must compel obedience by force, because it cannot appeal to civic
patriotism."

The Conservative Human Rights Commission is doing a lot to re-establish this pro-democracy agenda (see our report of William Hague’s speech at last week’s hearing on Burma).
Foreign policy is increasingly sympathetic of the belief that "good for
my neighbour is good for me" – dictatorships don’t make stable,
reliable partners in trade, never mind the fight against
terror/drugs/disease/environmental destruction.

If democratic self-determination forms the bedrock of Conservative weltanschauung, the nation state is its manifestation:

"Where the EU regards the nation state as anachronistic, Britain should see it as the optimum forum for democracy. It was this thinking that, in 1939, led Britain to fight for the cause of all Europe’s nations. Our
fathers believed that the patriotism of free peoples formed a natural
bulwark against tyranny. You might call that approach irrational, or
even outdated. But don’t dare call it selfish."

If Cameron’s Conservative Party is looking for a positive way to espouse its Euroscepticism, this is surely it.

Deputy Editor

36 comments for: A Garibaldian foreign policy

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