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12 August 2008

Brown and Miliband Left Standing

As Nicolas Sarkozy races to Tbilisi with his foreign minister Bernard Kouchner, Britain is stuck in

By Martin Bright

The speed with which the French president has reacted to events in Georgia is impressive. New Labour has always had a blind-spot for foreign affairs (its main players speak no foreign languages and have little knowledge of, or interest in, “abroad”).

It is deeply embarrassing that Sarkozy has spoken to Merkel, Berlusconi and “colleagues of Mr Brown”. What is going on? David Miliband issued a statement on Monday condemning Russia’s actions, but he is hardly striding the international stage. No surprise, perhaps, considering the fury that greeted his Guardian article on the future of the Labour government last week.

But if Brown is not allowing Miliband to show his mettle (he was impressive in his swift condemnation of Russian aggression when he took over as Foreign Secretary last year) then why is Brown not doing something himself. Is he afraid that any move he makes will be interpreted as an attempt to distract from his domestic woes?

Whatever the reasons, we are left with a government utterly paralysed by its own internal problems when it should be acting to assert Britain’s position in this most dangerous of situations.

Mary Dejevsky makes similar points on the Indy’s Open House website here.

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