Britain to revamp diplomatic service

Press quote (The Hindu)
02 November 2018

Past cuts, particularly the hollowing out of staffing levels within some of Britain’s major partners in previous budget cuts, had had a detrimental effect on British diplomatic efforts, said Ian Bond, the director of foreign policy at the Centre for European Reform and a former diplomat.

“The world is a very different place to the one it was: the day of Western countries like Britain telling others what they are doing are by and large over. A lot of this is reversing cuts of recent years,” said former diplomat Mr. Bond, who expressed his scepticism about whether the plans entailed extra spending or simply a re-jigging of existing budgets, including developmental budgets. “If there are actually going to be 1,000 extra personnel, including British staff, that has got to be a good thing but it has got to be properly resourced and resourced sustainably.’

He was also sceptical of Mr. Hunt’s plans to focus on the creation of an invisible chain of democracies. “I do think it’s an unrealistic assessment of Britain’s place in the world, which I would link to this government’s fixation on the Commonwealth as a replacement for the EU.”