Strategy relies upon the foundation of key guiding interests. Without these, attempts at strategic thinking and action are liable to go round in futile circles. Now that Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty has been invoked, and almost certain withdrawal from the European Union set to officially take place on the 29th March, 2019, the fundamental columns of a Sovereign, UK national interest can now be established.
In the last instalment, it was recognised that the UK’s future, as well as its present, is inescapably global. But this global status can now begin to be very different to that which has reigned since 1972, where the unaccountable European Union with its bloated bureaucracy and suffocating regulations entrenched itself ever further into almost every aspect of the lives of the British people.
The opportunity for the rebirth of the UK’s global status as a sovereign nation state has profound implications. The practical process of negotiation and disentanglement is about to begin, and the UK’s position – despite the elitist naysayers and confused blue-faced teenagers – is looking strong. To many of us, this is unsurprising. We knew all along that the UK retains almost unparalleled diplomatic, economic, military and cultural links across the globe.
With this in mind, it is now possible to establish a clearer conception of the UK’s sovereign, national interest. In strategic terms, it is never wise to have too many overriding objectives, as they will likely conflict and dilute each other. Therefore, this article proposes three critical elements as the foundation of a clear, post withdrawal, sovereign UK national interest.
Firstly: national security. National security, of course, is the point itself of any national security strategy. However, there exists no specific consensus among UK policymakers or academia as to precisely what is meant by the term. Subsequent articles in this series will highlight specific security threats and suggest strategic approaches of engagement. At its core however, national security for a sovereign UK relates fundamentally to a state of public trust that our everyday, normal lives can continue, confident that the multiplicity of threats and hazards to those daily lives are being sufficiently managed by those who act in our continuous defence.
Secondly: global trade, not globalism. As a sovereign nation state, the UK will regain the power to forge trade agreements with countries all around the world: agreements which are negotiated by the UK and which therefore uphold the UK’s specific interests as the critical objective. Specific economic opportunities available to a sovereign UK will be highlighted in subsequent articles in this series, but broadly, the opportunity for renewed economic prosperity, launched from the already strong position that the UK enjoys, can now be seized in such a way as to project UK power, influence, and enrich British citizens beyond what was possible as an EU Member State.
Thirdly: British culture. Neglected – indeed often trampled upon – by the globalist politicians and eurocrats of the last forty years, British culture and values as the unifying beacon of this nation can now be reasserted as a foundational column of national security strategy for a sovereign UK. Culture and values serve as the pillar upon which perception of our interests is based, the lens through which we navigate the world both as individuals and as a nation-state. British culture was manifest on the 23rd June 2016, when the British people chose the boldness of liberty over quiet subservience. British cultural integrity must be upheld and defended. Let national pride and energy return, and watch the people put it into action.
These three points establish a fundamental basis for the national interest of the soon to be sovereign UK. The challenges ahead are not to be ignored, and neither are the opportunities. But without a clearly defined conception of the UK’s national interest as a sovereign nation state, there can be no national security strategy. The time is now to recognise those interests, and realise our sovereignty.