Originally published in The Spectator
It is often said that British ambition and influence in the world are on the wane. But there can be few greater demonstrations of this than our country’s lack of attention to one of the biggest issues of our time. I am in Washington at the moment, and have been admiring how intensely the Vienna negotiations have been on the political and news agendas here. But in Britain?
Obviously the British Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, has been involved in the P5+1 talks. But it would have been easy to miss the fact. There has been no meaningful criticisms from within the Conservative party to the deal which Philip Hammond has just put this country’s name to. And although the Labour party are in the midst of a leadership race, none of the contenders seem to have expressed any opinion on the talks. I can find nothing on the issue from the party’s acting leader, Harriet Harman, while the party’s leadership frontrunner, Andy Burnham, seems uninterested in any disaster since Hillsborough. It is the ripest marker of the degradation of our politics that the only foreign policy matter to have slipped into the Labour party leadership campaign is the extent to which one of the candidates – Jeremy Corbyn – is a fan of Iran’s racist terror proxy Hezbollah.