Latest Issue

A truly ethical foreign policy

Britain has no right to demand money back from Iceland. In fact, we should give them cash

By Mark Hannam   February 2010

In 1997 the late Robin Cook, then foreign secretary, talked of a foreign policy with “an ethical dimension.” Many were unclear what he meant, but we can be sure he did not mean bullying a small European neighbour into accepting years of economic austerity or international isolation.

The British government does not present its policy towards Iceland in this light. We are, it says, negotiating reasonable terms for the repayment of monies due. Iceland’s banks failed in 2008, and the Icelandic depositor protection scheme was insufficiently funded to repay British investors. Our government stepped in to cover the losses. Now…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect