Nick Clegg: Our real loss of sovereignty is not to Europe but to the US

Share
Related Topics

Let me be clear. I'm an Atlanticist much like everyone else. I spent a happy time working in the United States. I think it is vital to our interests that we maintain a positive, strong and even uniquely warm relationship with the United States. But it is not our only relationship and it mustn't become a relationship that at every junction, every time a decision is made we have no choice but to follow the decisions made in the White House. And yet that seems to have been happening with greater velocity and frequency in recent years rather than less.

Look at the headlines. The former head of MI5 saying "startlingly" that she now feels that the American Secret Services were conducting interrogations of terror suspects in ways which are wholly unacceptable, contradictory to our principles and legal values – but weren't telling people here! What does that say about the British relationship? What a lopsided asymmetrical relationship.

What does it say that we seem to be apologising for far too long? Why is it that I find myself as the only leader of a political party asking the obvious question of whether we, as a country, should be spending £120bn over the next 20 years on the like-for-like replacement of the Cold War Trident Missile System?

I certainly think there is no case for the like-for-like replacement for that system. I believe one of the reasons there is a deafening silence on that issue is because that missile system is cemented by a sense of indebtedness to our American friends.

I don't think that's right. I'd like to see us repatriate our foreign policy interests so that we conduct a foreign policy which doesn't just conclude that we have no choice in vital matters such as whether you go to war or not just because a vital strategic partner tells us we must. That is a loss of real sovereignty about which I never hear the swivel-eyed Eurosceptics worry about at all! But surely any foreign policy must be conducted in line with your values, principles and strategic interests. Our strategic interests will not be served unless we release ourselves from that spell of default Atlanticism which has prevailed so strongly since Suez.

From a speech by the leader of the Liberal Democrats at Chatham House

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Day In a Page

Read Next
SEEN graffiti Wonder Woman  

Warner Bros’ bold stance on Wonder Woman opens the door for Hollywood evolution

Matthew James
 

Errors & Omissions: moderate, iconic royals are a shoe-in for a pedantic kicking

Guy Keleny
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us