Britain needs to make a better use of its existing historical links with a host of countries worldwide that used to be part of its old empire, Lord (David) Howell argues in a new book and a forthcoming exclusive article for The Middle East in Europe and European Crossroads.
In Old Links and New Ties: Power and Persuasion in an Age of Networks (London: IB Tauris, 2013), Howell, 78, former Secretary of State for Energy (1979-81) and Minister of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for International Energy Policy (2010-12) argues that in a digitally networked world, Britain enjoys great softpower resources in the form of the country’s culture, institutions, public diplomacy and historical connections at all levels through the Commonwealth, and these linkages need to be re-energised.
Published shortly before the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka in November 2013, the Conservative peer exhorts Britain to focus more on the Commonwealth. Though some critics might question his sentiment about the Commonwealth’s importance, Lord Howell presents a powerful argument for a future consisting of networks of people, not blocs of governments or countries.
“David Howell challenges pessimism about Britain’s role in an evolving world, and sets out with rare clarity how she can improve her status,” former British Prime Minister John Major said. “He has produced an excellent and very readable book – for today and many years to come.”
Old Links and New Ties: Power and Persuasion in an Age of Networks, I B Tauris (ISBN 9781780768151).