Someone once wrote, “At the high level, the UK’s first
national interest must be to promote the prosperity, peace and happiness of UK
citizens.” I agree. So let’s take a scientific attitude and look
at those countries whose foreign policy has been most successful in doing this
for their citizens. After all, if we
wanted to decide on an economic policy, we should look to emulate those
countries which had been the most economically successful.

I would contend that the two most successful European countries
in promoting the peace and prosperity of their citizens were Sweden and
Switzerland. Over the last 100 years,
when literally millions of Europeans have been slaughtered in various
conflicts, I doubt if more than a handful of Swiss or Swedish citizens have
lost their lives in conflict. Both
these countries also enjoy a high standard of living with Switzerland probably
the wealthiest country in the world.

So what is the foreign policy which performs this
trick? Quite simply put, the Swiss and
Swedes mind their own business as far as is humanly possible. They even managed to stay out of the two
world wars. If the UK were to do this
for the next 100 years, it’s a strong possibility that it and not Switzerland
would be the wealthiest country in the world.

In any case, I raise a glass to 2015 as the first year for a
very long time that British troops were not engaged in a conflict somewhere in
the world.