Now is the time for the opposition to advocate internationalism again

Joe Biden

Joe Biden - Credit: NurPhoto via Getty Images

The election of Joe Biden is a rare moment of opportunity for British advocates of internationalism to help cement the president-elect’s world view. The moment will be short-lived. The news agenda will move on and the Bannon/Cummings right will regroup and chip away at the new White House. Now is the time for Keir Starmer, Ed Davey, Caroline Lucas, Nicola Sturgeon and Mark Drakeford to make big speeches in support of internationalism. The British progressive tradition of leading from the front in the cause of rules-based international order needs to be heard in Washington, in the chancelleries of the EU and around the globe.

We can help president Biden set a different course for the world. One that respects difference, treasures democracy and supports trade arrangements that recognise the rights and obligations of producer and consumer, capital and labour and the environment and ecology of the planet itself.

Two of England’s leading parties of the centre left have chosen to stay silent on EU membership, to accept it as an irreversible policy. Their rationale for so doing leaves many puzzled. Indeed, the US election has given new heart and new impetus to the British European cause. But if Labour and the Liberal Democrats will not speak up for the EU they can surely speak up for the post-war world created by men and women of great vision and energy. They can speak up for internationalism. 

The Biden/Harris partnership has made more real a place called hope. Those British leaders who share their ideals need now to put their shoulders to the wheel and keep hope alive. Speak up. Speak out. Command the agenda. 

Martin Roche

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