The deal’s dead.” These were the words of my chief negotiator, approximately six years ago, in the middle of the night in the final hours of the sleep-deprived Copenhagen summit. I was standing in my bedroom as I took his call, about to go to bed for the first time in 36 hours. Thanks to the efforts of a number of countries into the night and the next day, it turned out the deal wasn’t quite dead, and something did survive.
But in truth, it is what has happened in the years after Copenhagen that made it not quite the disaster it appeared at the time.… Seguir leyendo »
There will be those who believe Thursday's vote in the House of Commons means that Britain cannot make a difference to the innocent civilians of Syria who are suffering such a humanitarian catastrophe. I don't agree. We must use next week's G20 meeting in Russia, with the eyes of the world on Syria, to seek to bring the international community together, and force the warring parties into the political solution that is necessary.
But the vote remains an important moment: for parliament, for the country and for Britain's relations with the world. This moment also gives us the opportunity to learn the right lessons for the conduct of foreign policy across all parties.… Seguir leyendo »
Is 20th-century capitalism failing 21st-century society? Members of the global elite debated that unusual question on Wednesday at the annual World Economic Forum.
There was a time, not long ago, when such a debate would have been held only among the protesters who annually shelter in igloos farther down the Alpine slopes. So it is encouraging that more than three years since the global financial crisis, a belated process of soul-searching has begun in search of the right lessons to learn from it.
In Britain, members of the Conservative-led government — not least the prime minister, David Cameron — have echoed the Labour Party’s call for a more responsible capitalism.… Seguir leyendo »
For the last generation, despite the twists and turns of Conservative and Labour prime ministers, Britain has been determined to stay at the top table in Europe. Today, David Cameron, after months of posturing and disengagement, took the catastrophic decision to walk away.
We should be under no illusions about the import, the impact or the reasons behind the decision. The significance is that we have chosen to let 26 countries make crucial decisions without us. The prime minister's apparent warning at the meeting that they "couldn't use this building for their meetings" would be laughable if it was not tragic.… Seguir leyendo »
British citizens facing great danger in Libya have a right to expect more than David Cameron's shambolic, incompetent government gave them last week.
All of us have the right to expect a more coherent and principled foreign policy than the one on show: trying to pretend a trade mission for defence manufacturers and other businesses is a "democracy tour" really doesn't cut it.
But the wider truth is that all western governments are profoundly challenged by the chain of events that began, 10 weeks ago, with a young Tunisian man setting himself on fire in anger and desperation.
The central assumption of the durability of long-standing and unpleasant regimes has been swept away.… Seguir leyendo »
You might have voted for Nick Clegg on 6 May. But since the general election, I believe both the Liberal Democrat and Labour parties have been on a political journey. I think for both parties the destinations are now becoming visible.
Many who turned to the Lib Dems in 2010, or even those who turned to the party long before that, did so because they thought they saw a party that believed in fairness and social justice.
Indeed it is a party of proud traditions: of Keynes, Lloyd George and Beveridge. But it is increasingly clear that these traditions are being abandoned by Clegg as he goes along with damaging cuts in public spending undermining economic growth, tax rises hitting the poorest hardest, and a clear threat to the universal welfare state.… Seguir leyendo »
It is no accident that the government has seemed paralysed in responding to the Deepwater Horizon crisis, not knowing whether or not to defend BP in the face of politicians' and public opprobrium. The reason is that it is unable to understand that the root causes of the crisis are ideological.
To blame or not blame BP is really not the point. BP must take its share of responsibility along with other US private companies involved. But the deeper lessons of the oil spill concern the future of our energy supplies, of regulation, and the shape of our society and economy.… Seguir leyendo »
This has been a depressing week for everyone in the Labour party and all who believe in a fairer Britain.
We need to face uncomfortable truths: we lost the election and it was a bad result. Despite the hard work that was done, this is the second worst result for us since universal suffrage.
We can't explain away that defeat on the basis of one person or one moment in a campaign. The reasons for defeat are much more fundamental than that.
Now is the time to make use of the only advantage, frankly, that we get in opposition: the chance to have the far-reaching debate that we did not have in government.… Seguir leyendo »
Sabíamos que acordar una solución global para el cambio climático no iba a ser una tarea fácil. Pero intentamos hacer algo que ninguna generación había hecho antes: invertir con carácter permanente el aumento de las emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero. Esto no solo es importante para nuestro futuro, lo es ahora, pues ya empezamos a observar los efectos en todos los continentes. Hay señales del avance de las sequías que afectan a la producción de alimentos, y también de la subida del nivel del mar en todo el mundo debido al deshielo y al calentamiento de los océanos. Informes científicos sugieren que en la zona mediterránea, España incluida, un clima cada vez más seco tendrá impactos importantes en los ciclos de las cosechas, mientras que las áreas costeras se verán afectadas por el aumento del nivel del mar y la erosión del litoral.… Seguir leyendo »
Where do we go from here? That is the question we are all asking ourselves after Copenhagen. We have to begin by understanding the lessons of what went wrong but also recognise the achievements that it secured.
This was a chaotic process dogged by procedural games. Thirty leaders left their negotiators at 3am on Friday, the last night to haggle over the short Danish text that became the accord. To get a deal we needed urgent progress because time was running out. Five hours later, we had got to the third paragraph.
The procedural wrangling was, in fact, a cover for points of serious, substantive disagreement.… Seguir leyendo »
In the 1980s Ronald Reagan had a clear view about the future: small government was the answer, he said. In the area of energy policy, he was a particular believer. He even took Jimmy Carter’s solar panels off the White House roof. When it comes to his roof, David Cameron is no Ronald Reagan. He has put a wind turbine on it.
But symbols of modernity are no substitute for substance. To understand whether his energy policy is right for this century, we have to go a bit deeper. With his speech at the Conservative Party conference last week, Mr Cameron has firmly put himself in Reagan’s sweeping, right-wing ideological tradition: whatever the issue, government is always the problem not the solution.… Seguir leyendo »