We live in a dangerous world.

Most of the time it doesn’t seem that way on the generally peaceful, civilised and co-operative British Isles.

That is because for the past 400 years, the United Kingdom of Great Britiain and Northern Island has quite effectively exerted its influence upon the world around us through economic, social and military means.  The 20th century saw the UK win two world wars, dismantle the British Empire and transform it into the Commonwealth of Nations, stand firm against the encroachment of Communism, and play an often positive role in driving the world towards a happier state of affairs.  Though we hardly have a perfect track record: Iraq being a prime example of a monstrous failure of foreign policy.

But there is still much to be done to achieve world peace.  And many would say that it is no longer any of our business what goes on elsewhere in the world.  We are safe and happy, and we should accept that we are no longer a global power.  We should ‘take care of own first’, and so on…

The problem is, we are a global power, with global responsibilities.  It we retreat from those responsibilities we will find our interests and our security threatened.  Our allies will value us less, adversaries will look upon us as prey, and there may well come a time when Britain finds itself at a political, environmental, economic or military knife-edge.

The question is, are we prepared to invest in a future of national self-confidence were we a force for good at home and abroad, or will we bury our heads in the sand and hope the world ticks along just fine without us?

I say it’s about time we stand up tall once again, recognise what a great country we truely have, and be brave enough to say we have an important part to play in the future of our planet.

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