Ingham on Europe

by | Mar 10, 2010

Bernard Ingham and Margaret Thatcher
In today’s FT, William Hague underlines (again) that a new Conservative government will see the European Union as a platform for achieving progress on global issues.

With David Miliband’s enthusiasm for a G3, we’re left with robust cross-party consensus on Europe’s role as a foreign policy actor (whether it can fulfil this role is another matter).

I’m reminded of how Margaret Thatcher’s press secretary, Bernard Ingham reacted when asked, shortly after the new Tory government took office, to write a report on how the government could build public support for the European Community.

According to Robert Harris, Ingam wrote that:

A community of 250 million could achieve more than a ‘debilitated nation of 55 million, however much the latter may trade on past imperial glory‘.

Government publicity should stress this, ‘with all the instruments of the orchestra, not only central Government, reading the same score, playing the same tune and coming in on cue.’

True in 1980. Even more so thirty years’ later.

(Photo from Iain Dale.)


  • David Steven is a senior fellow at the UN Foundation and at New York University, where he founded the Global Partnership to End Violence against Children and the Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies, a multi-stakeholder partnership to deliver the SDG targets for preventing all forms of violence, strengthening governance, and promoting justice and inclusion. He was lead author for the ministerial Task Force on Justice for All and senior external adviser for the UN-World Bank flagship study on prevention, Pathways for Peace. He is a former senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and co-author of The Risk Pivot: Great Powers, International Security, and the Energy Revolution (Brookings Institution Press, 2014). In 2001, he helped develop and launch the UK’s network of climate diplomats. David lives in and works from Pisa, Italy.

More from Global Dashboard

Justice for All and the Economic Crisis

Justice for All and the Economic Crisis

As COVID-19 plunges the world into its most serious economic crisis for a century, a surge in demand for justice is inevitable. Businesses face bankruptcy – and whole industries may be insolvent. Similar pain is being felt in the public and non-profit sectors....

Who Speaks for the Global South Recipients of Aid?

Who Speaks for the Global South Recipients of Aid?

The murder of George Floyd and the resurfacing of the Black Lives Matter movement has led to heightened discussions on race in the international development sector. Aid practitioners in the North have not only condemned the systemic racism that they (suddenly) now see...