You may not have noticed, owing to all the noise about the party-that-wasn’t, but on Wednesday the foreign secretary, Liz Truss – a potential successor to Boris Johnson should he ever, heaven forfend, lose the confidence of the Tory Party – warned us all about the future of the world.
Democrats were losing ground, she said, in a speech at the Chatham House thinktank in London. Those who believed in freedom must stand up and be counted if they were to ensure “democracies don’t just survive, they thrive”. In this, she is right: democracy is under attack everywhere, with kleptocrats such as Vladimir Putin amassing ever more wealth, power and influence while western governments squabble over things such as inshore fishing rights.
As such, her speech was an important warning, except for one startling omission: Britain is a primary enabler of the autocrats she is so worried about; we are butler to the world’s worst people. Our shell companies hide their money, our private schools educate their children, our lawyers defend their reputations, our financial markets fund their companies, and our banks launder their money. It’s absurd to talk about the threat that dictators pose to our democracy without acknowledging how without our assistance they wouldn’t be a threat at all. It’s like condemning a war without mentioning you supplied the weapons, or criticising a party that took place in your own house…..more