Jack Straw delivers WCIA annual lecture

As the steps to the Temple of Peace were placarded on the night of October 10th, inside the marbled hall, veteran Blackburn MP and ex-Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, briefly explained the trend of UK foreign policy in the last half-century.

Addressing a room with few empty seats, Straw summarised the last seventy years of British involvement in international affairs from the embarrassment of Suez to the country’s hesitation to act militarily in Syria this year.

He pointed out that the recent refusal to follow the US to the troubled Middle-Eastern state was based on “sentiment in the House of Commons…that…the case that was being made for us to be involved in further military action had not been made”.This was evidence, he argued, of Britain’s continued authority in the global community.

When quizzed on the EU’s authority in state affairs, he claimed that although he was in no way anti-European, he disagreed with the strong preoccupation with relatively trivial debates, such as in the growing trade of E-cigarettes.

Straw, who served as Foreign Secretary for much of the last decade, is perhaps most known for his hand in the UK’s military responses following 9/11, particularly in the tumultuous state of Iraq.

It was the UK’s embroilment in the War that caused some to question the Centre’s provision of an audience for the “war criminal”. Smothering the entrance with one of Heinz’s 57, they argued against what they believed to be the WCIA’s failure to create an ‘independent, non-partisan forum

The WCIA was clear in its response, saying, "we firmly believes that politicians and the public alike should be given a fair opportunity to air their views."

Dan Jones

Sign up to our newsletter for regular updates