UK foreign policy: it’s all change

An end to the liberal consensus means a new world role for Britain, writes Thomas Raines

The World Today Published 7 December 2018 Updated 9 November 2020 4 minute READ

Thomas Raines

Former Director, Europe Programme

Despite the tumult of Brexit, it hasn’t yet led to the sort of fragmentation of the party system in Britain that has affected other European democracies in recent years. A commonly noted fact is that at the 2017 general election, more than 80 per cent of Britons voted for the two main parties, a high not reached since the mid-1970s.

Rather, Britain’s broad church political parties have been able to absorb their own more radical fringes, adapting to reflect shifts in opinion within their membership, voter base and the public at large.

Political change, at least at the national level, has therefore happened within and through the parties, rather than outside them. This is as true for foreign policy as it is for traditional disputes over economic redistribution and the size of the state.

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