William Hague’s resignation is ‘just a change of personnel, not UK politics’
Neil Clark is a journalist, writer, broadcaster and blogger. He has written for many newspapers and magazines in the UK and other countries including The Guardian, Morning Star, Daily and Sunday Express, Mail on Sunday, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, New Statesman, The Spectator, The Week, and The American Conservative. He is a regular pundit on RT and has also appeared on BBC TV and radio, Sky News, Press TV and the Voice of Russia. He is the co-founder of the Campaign For Public Ownership @PublicOwnership. His award winning blog can be found at www.neilclark66.blogspot.com. He tweets on politics and world affairs @NeilClark66
RT:Why do you think William Hague chose to go? Was that failed vote on Syria a signal?
Neil Clark: It is pretty clear that the whole British policy towards Syria has been disastrous. The British government way back in 2011 was calling for President Assad to step down saying that his days in power were numbered and of course they have been backing the violent rebels who were trying to topple Assad. Last summer we had the British government trying to push parliament into war against Syria. But the British public said “no”, the British parliamentarians listened and a disastrous war in Syria has been averted. Of course, William Hague was very much part of this policy as Foreign Secretary, so there is no doubt that as a Foreign Secretary he was very poor, he doesn’t represent British interests, his policies have been very dangerous, and I think that’s a good day that he has actually gone from that post. The only disappointing thing is that it's likely that the person that is going to take over is going to be even more hawkish than William Hague was.
RT:Hague will now become Leader of the House of Commons. Will he be able to influence anything in this position? And will British policy change under a new Foreign Secretary?
NC: I think what we need to understand is this is very much a neo-conservative administration in Britain. It’s important to understand that we have a very slavishly pro-US government in Britain. It’s a neo-conservative administration and foreign policy. So it was very unlikely that we will get a more peaceful person as Foreign Secretary, someone who believes in peace and diplomacy. We are going to get a hawk, whatever it was because of the nature of this government. It is naïve to think that William Hague would be replaced by someone who would be less hawkish. Phillip Hammond has been Defense Secretary; he has been a hawk while he was at that post, so I don’t think there will be any changes in British foreign policy. Britain, I’m afraid, the British elite is adhering to the US line on the whole range of issues, we saw it recently again with the policy towards Russia and Ukraine. I think the problem is not just individuals. William Hague is gone but the basic problem that we have in Britain is that the UK's entire political are singing from the same hymn sheet on foreign policy. They are pro-US, they seem to want a new Cold War with Russia, they want desperately to topple President Assad in Syria, and it’s just a change of personnel. I think the basic problem is policy here, not individuals.
RT:What do you think Hague’s time at the Foreign Office will be remembered for?
NC: There is no doubt that William Hague’s period as a Foreign Secretary has been pretty disastrous for Britain. He was a strong supporter of the Iraq war in 2003 when he was in opposition, and in 2011 he took Britain into war against Libya. It is quite ironic that today we hear about him stepping down and got this news about what is happening in Libya and Tripoli with fighting in the airport. Libya is in total chaos, it’s a ruined country now because of the Western intervention. On the top of that he has done all he could in the last three years to try and get military intervention against Syria and of course he has been a very strong supporter of backing the rebels there. So I think William Hague’s time as Foreign Secretary has been disastrous for Britain. He should have resigned last summer when he failed to get Parliament to support war against Syria, that’s the time he should have gone. But the side effect is of course that he is going but he is being replaced by a man who is probably just as hawkish, Phillip Hammond. So this is not about individuals, it’s about the government policy in Britain which is hawkish and neo-conservative, and is not going to change really.
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