William Hague has announced a significant increase in the British Diplomatic Service. This diplomatic push includes five more embassies and many more diplomats. These will be deployed mainly in China and India and other "fast growing" economies. There will some reduction in European representation to help pay for this. But it is very far from self financing. ( See Here )
Whatever the potential merits of this diplomatic push ( and personally I think there few - if any) it is a bizarre extravagance in a time of financial stricture. Has anyone told William Hague that we are currently in a state of financial penury?
The propaganda that pours out from the Foreign Office is that we need extra representation in these countries to gain economic advantage. But this simply does not hold water. After all, most of our exports go to Europe and USA.
Germany (whose economy is doing very nicely thank you) does not need this huge diplomatic service. So why do we?
It is about time that the government started practising what they preach. At this point in time we cannot afford to throw more money at a grandiose "World Role".
Just about every sector of the economy is currently undergoing a severe belt tightening. So why is the Diplomatic Service being given more money? Is it simply so our Great and Good can do more global grandstanding?
Even in the unlikely event that this diplomatic expansion was worthwhile, this is really not the time for it. It should be put on the back burner. If not scrapped altogether.