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A good choice for one of your ten themes.

Why must we mention this phrase "Human Rights"? It always reminds me of the French Revolution.

We must simply take account of morality in our foreign policy, because it is the right thing to do and we are wealthy enough to carry it out effectively (or should be, though 10 more years of Brown could change that).

I am slightly wary of condemning anyone who blocks political or religous dissidence - Britain is in a minority of developed countries, and less than 200 years ago we were still imprisoning political prisoners occasionaly, when neccessary.

However, I broadly agree with this "Agenda" item.

Er, shouldn't naked national self-interest be at the heart of our foreign policy? If that involves overt or covert support to pro-democracy movements overseas (or in Brussels!) then all well and good, but that is still a secondary aim.

Wait, how is this not a leftie agenda? This is setting out ideas for giving everyone the same priviledges, isn't the heart of this movement supposed to be to give people the right to choose their walk of life and take responsibility for it?

Or are we talking about international action only?

EU now sorts out foreign policy for us. What we need is a policy about the EU (preferably the leaving of).

I am afraid that this would put a millstone round our neck - I agree with both Mark Wadsworth's comments and Will Stobart's views above. Remember the ethical Foreign Policy advocated by the late Robin Cook, which was scuppered when the government allowed BAe to sell hawk trainers to Indonesia.

ANd how will the Al Yamama deal with the Saudis and similar deals with a lot of other ME countries, China etc stand up.

The incoming Conservative Government must make repairing the national economy and self esteem its top priority - not Human Rights.

I know a lot of our EU partners do pay lip service - but their prosecutors and Courts are'nt as ardent in pursuing their own corporate entities to fall-in line.

Frankly, this is not a good idea.

So, team UK is witdrawing from the Beijing games then. Official Tory policy?

Or is maintaining harmonious relations with the next global economic superpower rather more important than dead monks?

This gloss of moral rectitude falls as soon as national interest is compromised so why set yourselves up for the fall?

So, are the Tories reversing their policy to revoke the embodiment of ECHR in UK law? I do hope so. Hopefully, you will be embracing the court set up by Winston Churchill rather do everything you can to avoid the difficult consequences of supporting human rights.

The main difficulty the Right have always had with human rights, is that they include rights for people such as prisoners, paedophiles, terrorists and those with unpleasant views.

Human rights includes a commitment to support displaced persons, particularly the millions displaced by our own conduct in Iraq, and that means making it clear that you shouldn't lump asylum and migration together. I'd like to see some positive words from the Tories about this, instead of pandering to the little Englanders.

Passing leftie typifies why the party should back burner this issue because every pointy headed leftie will find inconsistency and hypocrisy galore. How about a Human Responsibilities Act? Ask not what your country can do etc.

I would support that idea, a little quid pro quo wouldn't go amiss in our society.

Sounds like Bush . Don't do it .

Our national interest should be the paramount determinant in deciding our foreign policy. Most of the time this will reflect our ethical values ocassionally it may not. That's really too bad.

This appeared on ConHome last year:-

"A Conservative Prime Minister should always raise human rights issues when he meets the leaders of nations that oppress their citizens

A strong majority of 73% agreed, with 18% disagreeing."

I'm glad most of my fellow party members are more supportive of human rights than those on this thread.

Passing leftie typifies why the party should back burner this issue because every pointy headed leftie will find inconsistency and hypocrisy galore. How about a Human Responsibilities Act? Ask not what your country can do etc.

The Human Rights Act should be supported by conservatives - it protects the individual from the excesses of the State.

Usually human rights and the national interest should go hand-in-hand; but there has to be compromise. Spending a disproportionate amount of money on promoting defense exports, engaging in costly and illegal wars, engaging in protectionism to prevent developing countries reaching your markets are both against human rights and the nationalist interest. I'm sure you'll find counter examples.

The editors were very clear to say that -- in this context -- they were talking about "torture, imprisonment for political or religious beliefs, state-sanctioned rape*, forced labour, conscription of child soldiers, restrictions on religious freedom, ethnic cleansing and genocide." If Conservatives like Malcolm Dunn really are indifferent to that I'm ashamed of my party.

The best interests of our country should be at the heart of Conservative foreign policy.

The best interests of our country should be at the heart of all government policy.

That is hasn't been since 1997 is the reason our country is in a state of near terminal decline.

I'm not indifferent to that Umbrella Man but equally I'm not interested in risking the precious lives of our soldiers to overthrow regimes we find distasteful nor do I think the Foreign Office should jeopordise the interests of British people for a Human Rights Act which no doubt will be open to hugely differing interpretations.
I have to say I'm rather unwilling to be lectured by someone who not only hides behind a pseudonym but is still despite all the evidence an unashamed advocate of the Iraq War.

"If Conservatives like Malcolm Dunn really are indifferent to that I'm ashamed of my party"

I agree. God help Braintree!

Thanks Justin. You can always be relied upon for a sensible comment.


You don't have to risk British soldiers' lives to be concerned about human rights. Why do you assume that from this post? Ypu crudely just say that the only thing that really matters is the UK national interest. No wonder some people think of us as the nasty party. We can do all sorts of things, politically and economically, to influence human rights abusing nations.

The post above also makes it clear that the human rights being championed here are different from the Human Rights Act. Did you bother to read the post before commenting or did you simply read "human rights" and get very excited and go into some sort of auto pilot?

I blog anonymously because of my job. I wish it was otherwise.


In defending Britain, patriots often cite its unilateralist abolition of slavery as evidence of its virtue and strength. That wasn't in our interests at all.

In future generations the balance of power in the world will shift. We must use our influence in a way - now - that we would wish other world powers did if we were living under oppression.

Google Martin Niemoller.

I had a small dig at Malcolm Dunn because his posts only serve to remind us why some people see us - even now - as the nasty party.

Of course our dealings with other countries should be underpinned by sound moral and Christian values. I would have hoped that this was a given for our party, not something that requires discovery or announcement. Slavery is abhorrent, as are torture, and rendition, and the invasion of sovereign countries, such as Iraq, which neither threatened us, nor had plans to do so.

I have been saddened to hear William Hague and others say in recent months that even knowing what they know now about Iraq's lack of WMD they would still have voted for the invasion. I am sure I wasn't alone in being shocked and sickened to hear Michael Howard make the same statement on television on the eve of the last election.

If we are to hear a change in this position along with this proposal then it is to be welcomed. It is hard to see how the human rights of the many thousands of Iraqis who have died as a result of the invasion have been well served by it, or the human rights of those who now live with greatly diminished public services and the continued constant threat of violence and sudden death.

The interests of Britain will always be best served in the long term by upholding Christian values and rejecting obscenities like slavery and unwarranted foreign military adventures.

That said, if we fail to keep our country strong and secure we will be in no position to maintain these values, or to help others to maintain them, or to assist those for whom such values may be a distant dream.

It is for this reason that the best interests of this country must always be at the heart of our foreign policy.

As I posted on Stephen Crabb's Platform thread, we should withdraw from the UN. It put Colonel Gaddaffi in charge of human rights!! The organisation is just a taxpayer funded supporter of leftist dictators.

Britain should withdraw from the Beijing Olympics. Hopefully, the IOC would then take away the 2012 Olympics from London and give them to France. That would be a real blow for human rights and save us billions too.

There is no conflict between Britain's best interests and people's human rights abroad. The two objects not only dovetail perfectly, they are one and the same.

It is true that we are limited in what we can actually do; but it is also true that we are nowhere near that limit yet.

It's sad that anyone should think they are somehow better off if people abroad are forced into slavery, or are tortured, or are imprisoned without trial, or are denied freedom of association.

One can only claim that such atrocities are of benefit to British people if one has a tragically narrow view of what it means to be human. We are not merely economic beings. We do not live in a merely materialist universe. There is more to it than that, and humanity's unity is more fundamental than either economics or the material dimension.

So thank you to all those who are fighting for human rights to be at the centre of British foreign policy.

I'd be happier to support Human Rights being at the centre of foreign policy if I could be persuaded that those noble sentiments wouldn't lead to a single drop of British soldiers blood being spilled to satisfy the conscience of the political class.

You say

"..His successor, Mark Malloch-Brown doesn't even have the human rights remit mentioned in his title."

The FCO website says about Mr Malloch-Brown
"His responsibilities include Africa, Asia (Afghanistan, Sub-Continent and Far East), the UN, the Commonwealth, human rights, global and economic issues, and FCO Services, as well as FCO business in the House of Lords."

Can you publish a correction, please?

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