I have a piece on the 'year to go' theme in this week's Tribune - We can change the world after Bush on why we need to respond to the opportunity with a new British foreign policy.
But I also argue that the debate on foreign policy that we need to begin must take place publicly - and outside government.
Gordon Brown’s Government has shown it understands the need for change on foreign policy .... Brown’s “new multilateralism” must now be developed into concrete plans for how Britain and the EU can contribute to an effective multilateral agenda when the next US President picks up the phone. It must offer new foreign policies which can help to rebuild Labour’s fractured electoral coalition, offering a positive internationalist argument for the next general election manifesto.
One problem is that these two goals may conflict. Diplomacy and democracy do not easily mix. The Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary will stress the diplomatic reality that they must work with the incumbent US administration for another year, while preparing to work with any successor afterwards. Yet this will prove politically frustrating to many Labour supporters. If there can only be new thinking on foreign policy behind the scenes or of it can only be discussed in code, this limits the chances to re-engage and repair the political damage.