March 19, 2001
Jenkins: Last of the Little Englanders
THERE ANYBODY OUT THERE?
of the reasons I started writing this column more than a year ago
was the belief that no one in Britain was making the case for a
limited foreign policy, at least on the right. There were some Libertarians,
who quite naturally did not focus on the foreign dimension. The
most prolific of these is Sean
Gabb, who has been featured on Antiwar.com a couple of times.
There were a number of other authors, including our own Christine
Stone, and the excellent John
Laughland although in the latter case his main writing
has naturally been on Europe. His Intelligence
Digest is always worth reading, especially for its news on Eastern
Hume, formerly of Living
Marxism, also writes solidly anti-interventionist fare with
a suspiciously right wing flavour, and has now set up in a new web
magazine, Spiked Online.
Jenkins is, however, the most influential anti-interventionist journalist.
This is somewhat of a surprise, as he is an establishment
man to the core. He writes for the Times (who have a dreadful
web presence one of the reasons for writing this article
was to provide reference to his work scattered over the web). He
is most famous in Britain for his book on Britainís
thousand best churches and his biggest impact on public
policy was persuading Tony Blair not to dump the Millennium Dome.
His politics range from a staunch local patriotism for London to
a bias towards laissez
faire economics, and general leaning
towards Labour. This former editor of the London Times and chair
of the Booker prize judges is not the model heretic.
foreign policy, Simon Jenkins is an admirable heretic. His consistent
opposition to "humanitarian" intervention, from a perspective
of national interest, is a breed of commentary that is far too rare
in England. Profiles
of him mention his opposition to hare-brained military intervention
in passing. It seems so out of place, it is not worth mentioning.
The statements of principle are there, such as Weep
for poor Orisa or The
new order that splits the world. Both of these explain the British
case against intervention far better than I could, and deserve to
Jenkins is also very much in favour of George
Bush. This is mainly on the (over-optimistic) view that George
Bush is a closet
isolationist, who will not get into silly wars. It is also based
upon distaste for Clinton, both in his policies (especially on the
and for the man
himself. Perhaps he is wrong on Bushís distaste for foreign
wars, but he is certainly right on what would have been a worse