I am going to risk finishing with a little reflection, which might seem rather unlikely, from my experience of being an Anglican. I want to tease out some things about the Anglican tradition and soft power. I need to make clear that neither the most reverend Primate nor I have any real levers that we can pull to make things happen. Everybody thinks that we can and they write to us, but in my diocese and in the Church of England across the communion we have few levers that we can pull in a hard way and something will happen. We have to work with what you might call soft power.

A few years ago I was invited to write a book about Anglicanism, and I had to think about what Anglicanism is; we might have a debate on that one day. I came up with the definition that Anglicanism is fundamentalisms in dialogue: that is, people who believe things absolutely passionately, think that the other lot are totally wrong and are not in an explicit dialogue but are somehow held together. The root of that is Jesus’s teaching that you should love your enemies, which is the great text of soft power. There is a presupposition that you will have enemies. Human beings fall out—we have heard about original sin—but you somehow have to love your enemies. It is hard to do that through hard power but it is what soft power is about. Fundamentalisms often contain a very important truth that just gets overembroidered. The art is to take seriously the fundamentalism in somebody but be willing to challenge the embroidery that stops others getting a look in.

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From that experience, I can see four marks of soft power. The first mark in this attempt to love the enemy is to trust in a bigger overview. In our Anglican tradition, that is what episcopal oversight is: we stand for the overview of the whole church with the local and little fundamentalisms. In the world, I guess that the dream of a bigger overview is the dream of the United Nations and how we can have a bigger scene within which to operate.

The second mark of soft power is to trust in the dignity of everybody, even the fundamentalists who you find it very hard to engage with. For Anglicans, the scriptures give us countless texts and teaching—a common text about the dignity of all human beings. I guess that, in the world, the equivalent would be things such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. There are common texts that challenge us to see the dignity of every human being, whatever their fundamentalism or approach.

The third mark of soft power is to trust in the hope for goodness that is in human hearts. I have been involved in Derby with the families of those who have gone to fight for ISIS. Of course, I do not agree with that but some of these young people see that their hope for goodness in their hearts can be best expressed like that. They are not going to kill people; they are going because they believe that that is the way to get a better society. How can we somehow connect with the hope for goodness in people’s hearts? As Anglicans, we do that through what is called common worship. If you go into Anglican churches there is an enormous variety and it does not look common at all. But there is a commonness about the hope for goodness that God can raise in human hearts. I guess that, for politicians, that is the art of setting a tone to raise what I would call public spirit—a spirit in the public who have hopes and dreams for goodness.

The fourth mark of soft power is a willingness to learn new things. For us as Anglicans, that is in struggling to use our reason to try to see what God is trying to teach us. We see through a glass darkly; we can always see new things. That is probably the biggest challenge to hard power and politics, as it is often caricatured through parties and ideologies: the courage to be shown something new and to learn and change, breaking out of the paradigm in which you have been set.

Those would seem to be some marks of how soft power might operate for people like me, as an Anglican, and people like us in a world with high aspirations through soft power. However, it is going to be messy, so I will finish with some questions for the Minister. How seriously can government take the importance of fundamentalisms and have a politics that is generous about seeking the core truth in even the most extreme views, by taking away the embroidery because we recognise the common dignity in human beings? How seriously can government operate soft power through partnership and not partisan power or, as we say in our Prayers here each day, not through “partial affections”? How seriously can the Government work with agents such as the church, faith groups, Christian Aid and the Anglican communion—people who are making small steps to operate soft power and probably

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need encouragement? The Government probably have the courage to invest in small steps and not big systems all the time.

My last point is that the criteria for government investment in soft power is dominated in our world, inevitably, by what people call smart objectives. As the noble Lord, Lord Wei, said, we need to have dreams and faith. We need to trust in messiness and taking a punt on small things that could have heart-to-heart consequences for our relationships through human beings with other nations. That is a bold thing for government but it is how soft power would need to operate. As hard power is exposed as having severe limitations in the modern world, we need to invest in this kind of approach seriously and heavily.

1.44 pm

Baroness Berridge (Con): My Lords, I, too, thank the most reverend Primate for this debate, the particular title of which has invaded my thoughts rather like the title of an essay that one has been set. Although implicit, it is not specific about our considering only the UK’s soft power and non-military options. The hyperconnectivity of the world affects nations as well as citizens. Who our allies are and what they are saying will affect our soft power on the international stage.

The title also points to soft power being used for a purpose beyond maintaining our own economic and political status in the world, to a purpose that benefits us all but primarily those in potential conflict zones. The masterful report of the Select Committee speaks of the UK playing,

“a responsible and progressive role in building global peace”,

and security, but most of the report is about our soft power mechanisms, its role with hard power and retaining our global position primarily for the benefit of our citizens, so any later debate on that report alone would be distinctive and valuable.

As I thought about this, I was also struck by the triumvirate nature of today’s debate, which differs from the procedure in the other place. Involved today we have the most reverend Primate from our established church, the Government and Opposition at their Dispatch Boxes and the most reverend Primate’s parliamentary colleagues. It was this that made me see a lacuna in the report and our thinking around soft power.

The report is comprehensive in outlining the breadth of mechanisms, from excellence in science and sport to the BBC and my own profession, the law. However, it is not only the Anglican communion and faith communities domestically and globally that are not considered in any depth in the report by the Select Committee, but the nature of the world that we are engaging and trading with. It is a deeply religious world. Some 84% of the world’s population have a religious faith and, for the majority of those people, it is beyond ticking a box on a census form. Go to the academy or the policy world at the moment and it is religion and foreign policy, and religion and its involvement in conflict, that you will find on the agenda. Visit the boards and senior management teams of many multinational companies and you will find religious literacy on the agenda. I know that Her Majesty’s Government have made a beginning in addressing this

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issue, but could the Minister please outline what assessment the Government have made of the religious understanding of civil servants in DCLG, the MoD and DfID, as well as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office? Is there a strategic plan and programme across government to fill any gaps in that knowledge and understanding?

What of the soft power of the UK’s religious institutions, which has not yet been adequately explored in the report? Soft power is intensely relational and not easily measurable, but no one can doubt that we will benefit in the world from the world tour of the most reverend Primate visiting his fellow Primates in 32 countries. The enormous banners on the streets in Ghana declaring “Akwaaba”, meaning “Welcome” in Twi, are testament to this. Over the past decade or so, the established church has also illustrated how it can be the guardian of religious pluralism and tolerance here in Britain by facilitating interfaith dialogue. With the requisite diplomacy and creative thinking, surely there is a role for this beyond our shores in conflict prevention.

I was pleased to hear the most reverend Primate mention the little-thought-of country, the Central African Republic. Perhaps the measure of how little it is thought of in the context of this debate is that when the noble Lord, Lord McConnell, and I visited it last month, there were no advertisements for Coca-Cola or Nestlé, and I saw no presence of the FA Premier League. The only consistent reconciliation work to try to avoid full-scale civil war there over the past three years has been an interfaith platform of Protestant, Catholic and Muslim leaders. With little resource but great courage, they have toured the country and, at times of conflict, the Catholic Archbishop of Bangui has given sanctuary in his own home to the nation’s imam.

In addition to the idea of future aid by the UK being delivered via CAFOD, the Muslim Charities Forum and World Vision, all of which work in CAR, I join the noble Lord, Lord Alderdice, in saying that these need to be supported by UK religious leaders. That could be strategic. As I mentioned, the most reverend Primate has probably clocked up more air miles than the Foreign Secretary recently, but the sheer presence of him, Cardinal Nichols, perhaps a leader from one of the black-led denominations and a British imam in this unknown country could be significant. I am not saying that our interfaith dialogue has been perfect—the history of the church overseas bears some of the same issues as our colonial past—but attempts to facilitate such invitations working with DfID must be worth trying.

I also think our interfaith work here would be strengthened by learning valuable lessons overseas to apply at home. I hope that, if the Select Committee is reconvened, there will be an exploration of religious soft power. Obviously many of the countries on the cusp of conflict correlate with those where freedom of religion or belief is barely visible for their populations. I declare an interest as chair of the all-party group. This week, accompanying the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, to the Holy See brought home to me, as the most reverend Primate had previously warned me, the

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enormous soft power of the Pope, whose global leadership is so inspiring and whose global institutional reach is on a scale that makes Anglicans pale into insignificance. As I understand it, he also has more central levers at his disposal than the most reverend Primate. Indeed, there is a network of a million people in Catholic religious communities around the world, many of them specialists in education and healthcare. Most of their work is unseen.

In preparation for that visit, as I am a member of the Anglican communion, I read Vatican II. It states clearly that religious institutions also have a responsibility to protect and promote religious freedom. It is not just a matter for Governments and the United Nations. Our experience here gives us humility but a clear voice in that arena. Most of the mistakes being made today in the world—connecting religion too closely to the state in breach of Article 18, such as in Vietnam and China; making the state mono-confessional, such as Georgian Orthodoxy or, in the extreme, in Iran; and religious intolerance leading to the killing of the other, such as with IS in Iraq—have been made at one time or other in our history.

The English church in its historic denominational diversity has particular constitutional expertise to offer in this area. As my noble friend Lord Cormack mentioned, next year we will celebrate 800 years of Magna Carta, in which the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Stephen Langton, and his bishops played a key role. In fact, clause 1 of Magna Carta states that,

“the English church shall be free”.

Although that was, of course, not realised for many centuries, it was an important statement of freedom of religion to King John and Pope Innocent III.

In any future Select Committee report, I hope to see recommendations for the most reverend Primate and the established church in relation to their role in soft power. Perhaps the most reverend Primate is rueing the day when he brought our attention to its absence in the Select Committee’s report. I know that my noble friend Lord Cormack laid out quite a grand plan in relation to Magna Carta. To cut that down to size, perhaps, it would be useful to see a project that explored the correct principles regarding a connection between any religious institution and the state. There is a particular, unique role that our religious institutions can play in that regard, which would be important in conflict prevention when speaking to other Governments and religious institutions overseas and which could enhance religious freedom.

There has also been a surprising entrance of soft power in this context with the intervention of His Royal Highness Prince Charles, whose courageous speech a year ago gave so much encouragement to Christians suffering in the Middle East, as did his personal visit to the Coptic Orthodox Church Centre in Stevenage and the Syrian Orthodox communities here in the UK. After the events connected with IS in the summer, his continued support in a video message for the launch of the Religious Freedom in the World report of the Catholic agency Aid to the Church in Need was much appreciated. Sometimes I think that

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we forget that Britain’s wonderful diversity often means that the relatives of our citizens are being killed in these conflicts.

As Professor Anholt testified at paragraph 292 of the report,

“the aim is to prove the utility of the country to humanity and to the planet, rather than brag about its assets or achievements”.

Similarly, Peter Horrocks from the BBC World Service said that that station is the “world’s radio station” and therefore,

“can attract people to Britain precisely because we are not pursuing a British agenda”.

The global situation today means that the UK must pour out its power and influence for conflict prevention rather than trade, for the benefit of others, not ourselves. The by-product of using our influence this way is that we will see our global status enhanced rather than decline, which of course includes our trade balance and our security.

1.56 pm

Lord Judd (Lab): My Lords, like other noble Lords I am extremely grateful to be able to hear and participate in this debate. We should all be appreciative of the most reverend Primate for the way in which he has given us this opportunity. This has been a refreshing debate, because for once we have talked about strategy rather than about our constant preoccupation with tactics. Our species is lost if we cannot reassert the primacy of strategic considerations, towards which tactics are a means of travel.

This is about conflict prevention. I see a great paradox in human society at the moment. On the one hand, we are more and more conscious of our total interdependence with others across the world. On the other, there is a growing sense and yearning for personal identity and significance. Sometimes we talk, for example, in the context of our own society, about the issues of Scottish nationalism. However, we overlook—I declare an interest as a half-Scot; I am very close to my Scottish family—what people yearn for, which is the sense that they matter and belong, and have dignity and identity. That is of course central to any concern about conflict and its prevention.

However, if we are talking about peace, which by definition we must be, sometimes the language we use becomes too easily confused. We talk about peace enforcement, peacekeeping and peacemaking, but over my lifetime I have become interested in what I see as the greatest challenge, peacebuilding, which is quite different. That is about finding the bricks with which you build the security for the future, and it requires infinite patience. There will be many set-backs, but the danger is that we get into an impatient management mode in which we want to manage a solution and, in a sense, want to find a solution to other people’s problems, get them to buy it, and then enforce it. That is destined to lead to greater and greater trouble in the future. We need solutions that belong to the participants in the conflict. That means building relations of solidarity. Solidarity is a very important concept, because it is not about talking to or about other people but about talking with them, listening and learning from that experience.

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The noble Lord, Lord Williams of Baglan, referred to the immensely important part played by the NGOs—and again I declare an interest, because that has been very much part of my life. I think that he is right to emphasise why they matter so much, because, although they are not all perfect, at their best they are close to the people. The advocacy that they bring into deliberations is that based on experience and engagement, and their strength is that they really are in a meaningful relationship with the people about whom we are talking. Governments of all persuasions have failed to see the vital importance of this aspect of NGO activity—that they bring an unrivalled contribution to the quality, content and integrity of the debate.

The most reverend Primate referred to the issue of visas, and I am very glad that he did. One issue here, it always seems to me, is that we fail to realise that a relevant centre of higher education in the nature of the world in which we live must be an international community. It is not just about having overseas students here and the contributions that they make to the finances of a university. The quality of the education is related to its being an international community, in which people from completely different backgrounds are learning and studying together and informing each other from different perspectives. To do anything in administration that hinders the process of developing these flourishing institutions as centres of international co-operation and understanding is to be very detrimental to our future.

On a more local level, I happen to be a patron of a very interesting local organisation based in Marlborough, set up at the time of the Brandt report, which has kept going extremely well. The point about the Marlborough Brandt Group is that over 20 years it has brought people from the Gambia in West Africa to Marlborough to work there on Marlborough’s social problems and challenges. Behind the façade of the college and all the rest, there are a lot of challenges and social problems in Marlborough. Young people from Marlborough have been going to work in the Gambia. That programme has recently had to stop because they simply cannot cope with the difficulties of getting visas for the Gambians to come to this country. It is at moments like this that we have to ask ourselves what on earth we are doing, cutting off our noses to spite our faces. If anything is an illustration of practical co-operation, that is it.

If we are talking with the NGOs, they would be the first to make the point—and my noble friend Lord Boateng referred to this in a powerful and effective speech—that it is all about a matrix. It is a matrix of climate change and social issues, as well as refugee, migration and economic issues, along with issues of land and water resources and health and security. There is a need for security sector reform, because everyone needs to have a stable society. Of course, the security sector will be necessary—but it must be one that is trusted and in which there is real accountability. So security sector reform is a vital part of our approach.

Underlying all this is the issue of human rights. You can put it very simply—in the absence of any serious human rights issues, there is a chance to have a stable, secure society. If there are human rights issues of any significant nature in society, you are on the road to

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instability, extremism and tension. Therefore, we must stop seeing human rights as a possible option; we must see them as an absolutely indispensable cornerstone of stable society. That is why the international approach to human rights is so important and any talk of repatriation of human rights is nonsense, because what matters is that these are rights of mankind across the world. They are not just British rights or French rights or German rights but the rights of people wherever they are. If we start to dismantle that principle, which Eleanor Roosevelt, Churchill and others regarded as being so important in the aftermath of the Second World War, what on earth are we doing to the cause of peace and understanding in the world?

The Government are coming to terms with interdepartmental co-operation and are to be commended for that. I am very interested in the concept of the new Conflict, Stability and Security Fund, which is to be introduced in April next year. However, we need to make sure that this is not just—how shall I put it?—a formal response to an issue that has been identified but is an effective muscular response. As my noble friend Lord Boateng said so well, this means that departments have to stop thinking as departments and start to think about being part of a common cause, and of how one carries that common cause forward.

An issue that I do not think has had much attention today is that of arms control and the Arms Trade Treaty. We have to stop thinking that arms are part of our export business and that we can get on with making money for Britain and providing employment in Britain unless there is an overriding reason not to do so. Surely everything we are experiencing in the world demonstrates that arms in the wrong hands are immensely dangerous. Arms are dangerous things to make and you should export them only where a cast-iron guarantee can be given—if that is possible—that they will be used to maintain peace with close allies who can be trusted and that people will be accountable for what happens with them. The whole balance of the assumption behind the operation of the arms industry has to change in that context.

I always thought that one of the finest assets of the BBC was Bush House, as the quality of what was broadcast across the world was due to the quality of the work that was done there. The quality of the community in Bush House reflects what I said about universities in that great experience and learning came together to back up the quality of the journalism. I hope that we will manage to maintain that tradition under the new arrangements. I am not always sure that that is the case. I get worried when I receive letters from the BBC saying, “You will be cheered to know that our audience has increased by this amount”. Of course, I am cheered; I am glad to hear that. However, sometimes the value of the BBC is demonstrated in areas where there may not be a very high listening audience but where the listening audience that does exist is crucial. The BBC, with its objective reporting and wide understanding of the world, is a lifeline for sane, decent people.

As regards the contribution of the British Council to education and cultural exchange, cultural exchange enables us to understand others’ backgrounds so much

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better. The way in which people across the world have loved Shakespeare as the result of the British Council’s efforts is not to be underestimated.

I conclude by referring to the observation that I was so glad the most reverend Primate the Archbishop included in his interesting opening speech. In all this we have to look at ourselves and what is happening in Britain. Whenever there is a miscarriage of justice, or an unjustifiable action or manhandling in the forces, police or border authority, it is storing up insecurity for the future. It is essential, given the personal experience of people’s treatment by one of these authorities, that standards of decency, care, concern and compassion are there all the time. They are important for the people concerned but if they are not there, we may have bright people going home, alienated and aggravated, and becoming potential recruits to extremism and the rest.

Perhaps I may make one important—for me, anyway; I am sure it is for others— point about all this. We must be very careful about slipping, under pressures and provocation that I do not underestimate, into the concept that somehow the Home Office, which is the equivalent to the ministry of the interior in many countries of the world, is moving into positions of responsibility in our universities. This matters not only in terms of academic freedom, which we have treasured in our society, and the autonomy of universities in that context, but what is the example we are setting to the world? To the world, it is quite normal for interior ministries and the Home Office to do that. Of course the issues are huge, but let us pause for a moment and ask ourselves what we are really doing.

2.12 pm

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer (LD): My Lords, I am grateful to the most reverend Primate for his introduction, and for mentioning nightmare scenarios and the power of diplomacy, because I want to talk about the essential use of that power to prevent the ultimate nightmare scenario.

I am talking of an issue on which the UK has a particular moral responsibility to engage because we are a nuclear weapons state. As such, we need to engage all our energies in diplomacy to resolve extremely pressing issues. It was back in 2009 that the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament said in its report:

“So long as any state has nuclear weapons, others will want them. So long as any such weapons remain it defies credibility that they will not one day be used, by accident, miscalculation or design. And any such use would be catastrophic”.

We had another illustration last week, for those in your Lordships’ House who went, of the likelihood of just accidents, not even by design, when Heather Williams from Chatham House came to present its report, Too Close for Comfort: Cases of Near Nuclear Use and Options for Policy. Eric Schlosser, who undertook a study in the United States on similar issues, shared a platform with her.

Just how close we are to the brink of that catastrophe is something that the 15 people who wrote the international commission’s report were very aware of. They were absolute realists and included senior figures of wide

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experience such as William Perry, former US Secretary of State for Defense; General Karamat, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of Pakistan; General Naumann, former chairman of the NATO Military Committee; and, from this House, my noble friend Lady Williams of Crosby. The year in which they published their report, 2009, was a year of optimism, because President Obama made his speech in Prague. The Inter-Parliamentary Union, which the noble Baroness, Lady Hooper, mentioned, unanimously passed its resolution on nuclear non-proliferation. I must declare an interest as a co-president of the international grouping of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament. However, during this time of optimism there were some moments of pessimism. In 2010, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference did not succeed nearly as well as it should have. Most unfortunately for the UK, it fell exactly at election time, so the political lead was lost. One of the unseen fallouts—if I may use that ghastly pun in this context—is that the UK will not be able to take a strong lead in the 2015 conference either, because it will fall at election time. All focus will be on elections and the subsequent forming of a Government. As we are a nuclear weapon power, that is particularly unfortunate.

I appreciate that for this Government, and no doubt the next, disarmament and non-proliferation remain, theoretically and rhetorically, high priorities. However, having had many conversations with my fellow parliamentarians on PNND, I do not think that that is how the rest of the world sees us. I suspect that they do appreciate all those aspects of soft power that I, too, appreciate, which noble Lords have spoken about, such as the World Service, the British Council, and economic and trade issues. However, that is a paradox. We are talking about this while still holding a very big stick behind our backs.

The rest of the world, fed up with the fact that the UN conference on disarmament is widely recognised as moribund because the P5 will not engage and solve that paradox, commenced two initiatives post-2010. First was a UN open-ended working group to try to get a work programme agreed for the conference on disarmament. Sadly, the UK refused to take part. The second initiative was a new fact-finding series of conferences on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons. The first was held in Norway in 2013, which, again, the UK, along with the USA and France, did not attend. I had hoped that the UK might attend the second one in Mexico. However, my hopes were dashed when, in reply to my Question in this House in November last year, my noble friend, who is replying today, said:

“We continue to have concerns that the initiative would divert attention from the 2010 action plan agreed by states parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty”.—[Official Report, 6/11/13; col. 218.]

Next week, starting on Monday, we have the third conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, held in Vienna. I especially welcome the US’s very recent decision to attend the third conference. I hope that my noble friend will have better news for me today and that the UK has decided to finally attend these conferences.

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There are many things we could do at a diplomatic level to move the agenda on and move to a safer place. On the second of this month, at the UN General Assembly, there was a draft on achieving a nuclear weapon-free world and accelerating the implementation of nuclear disarmament commitments, which the assembly had called for. A recorded vote was held. Unfortunately, although 169 countries voted in favour, the seven usual suspects voted against. They were: North Korea; Israel, which still refuses to acknowledge that it has nuclear weapons; India, which has not signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty; France; Russia; the US; and, of course, the UK.

If we continue not to put our diplomatic force behind efforts to make the world a safer place at least in terms of de-alerting, we will have a lot to answer for. Unfortunately, the article that talked about de-alerting was one on which we abstained. It is difficult to understand why we should want to abstain on something like reducing the hair-trigger quality of our nuclear weapons, allowing them to be launched at any moment, when the threats against us—

Lord West of Spithead: I am sure that the noble Baroness is aware that our missiles are no longer on that hair trigger. We have set an example, which has not been followed by anybody else. We have gone down to one system only and have reduced the number of warheads dramatically. We have been honest about how many warheads there are. If the rest of the world had followed suit, things would be a lot better, but we certainly do not have missiles either targeted or on a hair trigger.

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer: I thank the noble Lord very much for that, but it is particularly curious that we could not then vote in favour of the paragraph in the General Assembly’s resolution. I hope that he will join me in encouraging the Government to change that vote the next time it comes round.

In conclusion, however good our soft power is, we will come back to the fact that the rest of the countries in the world will see the P5 as those who, as I said, hold a big stick behind their backs but talk in very different terms when face to face.

2.21 pm

Lord Ramsbotham (CB): My Lords, I join other noble Lords who have thanked the most reverend Primate for this very important debate. I also congratulate him on his very thoughtful and masterly introductory speech.

I declare an interest as a very chastened member of the soft power Select Committee, so ably chaired by the noble Lord, Lord Howell. As the son of a bishop, I have been taken to task, quite rightly, twice today—by my wife and by the most reverend Primate—for the fact that the church is not included.

One memory that I have of that committee is the evidence given to us by the high commissioner for Mozambique, who explained why Mozambique applied to join the Commonwealth and laid out very clearly the values which many noble Lords have expressed as being particularly British. However, I do not intend to say more about soft power at the moment; I intend

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to concentrate on a sentence in a letter that the most reverend Primate sent to me on 21 November. It said that the relationship between overseas conflict and the radicalisation of communities in the United Kingdom, and what we can do to limit that link, is also an issue for him and his colleagues on the Bishops’ Benches.

At the time, I was reflecting on the re-emergence on the world scene of one of the giants of the ending of the Cold War, Mikhail Gorbachev, and what he said in public on the occasion of the anniversary of the falling of the Berlin Wall. I very much agreed with the noble Baroness, Lady Williams of Crosby, when she said that it is essential that we increase our understanding of Russia. Gorbachev said that the world was on the brink of a new cold war and that trust should be restored through dialogue with Russia. He said that America was still intoxicated by its Cold War “triumph”—whatever that meant—pushing everyone to take an anti-Russian position and that triumphalism was the reason why the global powers were unable to cope with the conflicts in Yugoslavia, the Middle East and, now, Ukraine. However, he ended by saying that it was too late to ratchet down the confrontation and that we must go back to the starting line from which we began building a new world both in Europe and elsewhere.

That caused me to go back in my own memories. During the Cold War, I was a soldier. In 1985 I was commanding an armoured division in Germany based on the side of the Möhnesee, which many people will have heard of. It was an extraordinary year. It was 40 years after the end of the war and the Germans have an extraordinary belief that two generations absolves you from any connection with what went on two generations before. The very remarkable mayor of Dortmund, which was a large town very near us, asked whether I would take part in a ceremony where all the political parties would mark 40 years of peace. I did so and said that we had made our contribution. I then asked him whether there was anything that he particularly felt the British should be thanked for. He said that it was interesting that immediately after the war we, the British, as opposed to the Americans, made the Germans responsible for the administration of Dortmund. By giving them something to do, it gave them back their pride, and pride is important in the development of a nation.

I never forgot that. In 1990 I happened to be in Hungary watching a Russian division being taken back to Russia by train. In the first part of the train were coaches of soldiers and then came all the equipment. The back part of the train consisted of trucks on which there were drainpipes, bits of wood, windows and doors. They knew that when they got back to Russia there would be nothing for them. It was quite clear that the pride had gone out of them. In 1993, I was asked by the head of the Russian army to go to Russia and advise on setting up a contract as opposed to a conscript army. I was taken to a place called Tver, which is halfway between St Petersburg and Moscow. I was taken to see a division which had been kicked out of Poland at 24 hours’ notice. The soldiers had been removed to this place and all their equipment had gone missing. They were living alongside families in rooms separated by blankets—there were four families

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living to a room. They asked what I would do if I were in a division living in Russia. I told them how we would live and how we would assimilate with the community. It was the most extraordinary day because we then went to see the mayor and asked whether he could arrange that. At the end, the general threw his arms around me and said, “Thank you so much helping the Russian army”, and I reflected that I was teaching it how to live in its own country. The tragic thing was that pride had gone. It is very important that we do not do anything to triumphalise over what the Russians are going through. We should remember that they see these sanctions as war.

I was also involved at that time with the United Nations, which picks up on what the noble Lord, Lord Alderdice, was saying. I was co-opted by Kofi Annan into a committee trying to revive the old military committee to give some co-ordination to the peacekeeping operations that were developing all over the world. What was interesting was that we discovered that although peacekeeping operations were going on and contingence was being made, there was no co-ordination of the post-conflict reconstruction or humanitarian effort at all. One of our recommendations was that when a special representative was appointed he should have two deputies—a force commander and a humanitarian commander—and they must be equals. The military was trying to develop wider conflict prevention somewhere else by stopping someone in a country or assisting in the post-conflict reconstruction, because there could be no reconstruction and redevelopment until whatever opposed them had been removed.

I also declare an interest as a member of the Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy. I was very pleased to hear the most reverend Primate say that soft power must be included in hard power when we are looking at what the national security strategy is. I could not agree with him more. I hope that it does not just develop into a scrap between the MoD and the Treasury, as the MoD is merely one of the players in this. It is desperately important that all the other players should have their say.

I have been thinking about the youth of this country. I took from my bookshelf a very remarkable book written by a godmother of mine, Amy Buller. It is called Darkness Over Germany and it was written during the war. It explains the almost religious grip that Nazism had over the youth of Germany. In it she said:

“If every Nazi were slain tomorrow, we should be left with the deeper and more terrible phenomenon of a German youth in desperate need of a faith … That need must be met primarily by Germans themselves, for it is obvious that, in such a situation, healing must come from within ... That these Germans will need and indeed seek the co-operation of other nations is clear, but the United Nations must show signs that they, in their several countries, know how to meet the needs of their own youth”.

She went on to describe a conversation with one of her students, who asked her:

“‘Didn’t you say that, however well the Nazis had organised, they would never have called forth that dynamic energy and passionate devotion of youth, unless they had somehow given answers, however false, to the more fundamental spiritual needs of youth?’”.

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To which Amy replied by saying:

“‘Recognising that these things would not call forth the fanatical allegiance of the youth of this country, we may fail to realise the significance of the spiritual bankruptcy and real destitution underlying it all, for that is something which is evident to the whole of Western civilisation, though in more insidious forms and subtle dress. The real tragedy of the Nazi betrayal, not only of Germany but of Europe, is that it claimed to have given a radical answer to some of the most fundamental problems of our age. It is of the utmost importance that we should understand the problems that they were trying to solve, and then analyse, closely, the fallacious and heretical character of their answers. To a generation without faith, the Nazis gave a brutal philosophy, and millions of lives have been sacrificed to free the world of this false answer to real need, but let us not fail to understand that it was caused by real need. We are now faced with the greater task of bringing healing to the nations including our own. I am convinced this cannot be done without a faith in God adequate to the tremendous task of reconstruction’”.

Of course, we are dealing with different fundamental spiritual needs, but if we are to play our part in trying to provide the answers that our youth require to today’s problems, it is vital that we understand and repair our national strengths and weaknesses with regard to the protection and projection of the values that we as a country maintain. That includes our political masters, who I hope will read, mark and learn from what so many noble Lords have contributed to today’s debate, for which they and the whole House must thank the most reverend Primate.

2.33 pm

Earl Attlee (Con): My Lords, when I saw the subject for today’s debate and noted that it was being promoted by the most reverend Primate, I did not hesitate to put my name down to speak. I intend to adhere to the subject of the debate, but would observe that soft power also has utility in ordinary treaty and commercial negotiations, and not just in conflict situations.

The noble Lord, Lord Boateng, talked about the funding of soft power. I thought that we could perhaps divide it into direct and indirect soft power. The good news is that indirect soft power arises automatically from our JROL, culture, values and vision, as referred to by many noble Lords. So, of course, there is no marginal cost for indirect soft power. As we were reminded by the most reverend Primate, direct soft power is orders of magnitude less costly than hard power.

The noble Lord, Lord Parekh, asked: what is soft power, and is moral authority soft power? He made me consider whether there was a spectrum between indirect soft power and direct soft power, ending with sanctions, before getting into hard power. I very much enjoyed the speech of the noble Lord, Lord West. I agreed with everything he said and I look forward to a full debate on defence—that is, hard power—for precisely the reasons that he laid out.

The most reverend Primate and others touched on visas, but we must not forget that one of the effects of our soft power is that the UK is one of the best places to be in the world. For that reason, we have to be far more cautious than most other countries before granting a visa. Nevertheless, if I had picked the short straw of

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having to be an Immigration Minister in the Home Office, I would pay very careful attention to this problem.

Many noble Lords referred to the importance of students in our soft power stance. I entirely agree. When I was in the Government and at the Home Office, I could not detect anything to the contrary. But what we cannot escape from is the fact that our student entry route was being abused to a gross extent. I have no doubt that we had to tighten up on that abuse.

The most reverend Primate talked about the SDSR and the hard and soft power interface—or perhaps balance. I do not believe that one needs to be pursued at the expense of the other. In the SDSR, they should be considered together. The beauty of soft power is that it is not expensive. The issue is how to exercise it effectively. With hard power, the issue is: how much do we need, are our capabilities in balance, and can we afford what we think we need?

Many noble and gallant Lords have attended the Royal College of Defence Studies. I was honoured to attend in 2008 as part of the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme. In the previous SDSR, the RCDS was retained because of its very significant role in conflict prevention. Each year half of the intake of about 30 members are from overseas, and the whole emphasis of the course is to think at the strategic level to understand the causes of conflict, how to cool things down and how to de-escalate, and, picking up on the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Ramsbotham, to understand the position of your opponent.

The RCDS attracts the very best lecturers and presenters. Only the very best are invited back. I understand that my noble friend the Minister had addressed the RCDS many times before I heard him present there. I know that he cannot make any undertakings regarding the next SDSR and the RCDS but I hope that he can acknowledge its most important role in worldwide conflict prevention and reduction.

This week I received a very interesting document from Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs. It told me how much I had earned and how much income tax and National Insurance I had paid in the previous financial year. My overall earnings were just under £100,000, but I should point out that that included a sizeable accommodation allowance. My actual salary was about £63,000—about the same as a head teacher, I believe. The document also showed how the Government had spent my contribution. The biggest expenditure by a long way, at about £8,000, was welfare, followed by health at just over £6,000, education at £4,300 and pensions at £4,000, while national debt interest was £2,300. Defence—in other words, hard power—was £1,700. There followed a number of relatively modest spending areas.

There was also a pie chart, which was even more illuminating. It showed the 25% slice for welfare, 13% for education and so on. The noble Lord, Lord Pearson, is not in his place, but the very smallest, wafer-thin slice was for the UK contribution to the EU budget. The next, very slightly bigger slice was overseas aid—that is not surprising, as my contribution to it was only £379 compared to, as I have said, £8,000 for welfare.

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One could either double or entirely eliminate the overseas aid budget and it would not make the pie chart look any different, because, as we know, we spend only 0.7% of GDP on it. For that reason, I think that my right honourable friend the Prime Minister was right to ring-fence the overseas aid budget. It is nothing to do with the deficit; we can afford it.

The other place appears to have been voting all afternoon and I understand that it is considering a Bill to enshrine the 0.7% rate in legislation, but your Lordships know perfectly well that it would be an unobjectionable but pointless provision since a subsequent Finance Bill could change it. If I am wrong on that, a Bill with that purpose certainly could, as this Parliament cannot bind the next. However, I am personally committed to 0.7% of GDP being spent on overseas aid.

2.41 pm

Lord Elton (Con): If your Lordships will spare me a moment, I would like to add a footnote to the debate which I think has not been mentioned before, certainly not in the 20 speeches that I have listened to.

It is based entirely on a subjective, personal observation but one in which I have considerable confidence. It is that wherever there is a conflict resolution effort going on in the world there seems to be a Norwegian, and very often they have started it. At this point, I declare a shadow of an interest: my mother was Norwegian. I saw the Norwegians at work when I was part of the successful international effort to secure a treaty banning cluster munitions. I am raising this point because I discovered that the Norwegians have conflict resolution as an academic subject both in their schools and in their universities, so they have a fund of people qualified to do the work that we have been talking about. I wonder whether the most reverend Primate or the Minister on the Front Bench would give thought to our doing the same in this country.

2.42 pm

Baroness Morgan of Ely (Lab): My Lords, I thank all the people who have participated today in this most illuminating debate. I thank in particular the most reverend Primate for introducing this most important subject. I am sure that at some point we will have the opportunity to discuss in more detail the specific points raised in the report written by the noble Lord, Lord Howell, and his Select Committee. I shall therefore try in this debate to restrict my comments to three or four key issues, but I again thank the most reverend Primate for an introduction that was carefully constructed and intelligently thought through.

When I was 16, I won a scholarship to study at Atlantic College, an international sixth-form college based in south Wales. I had no idea at the time that this college was a part of global approach to the development of soft power. It was established as a response to the Second World War and the idea was to promote international understanding and world peace among the 350 or so students there representing some 80 different nationalities. Before that, I do not think that I had come across many people from different parts of the world. We were a very different kind of place then, and it is enlightening to think of the way

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that our society has changed. Despite the fact that we now live in a multicultural, much smaller world, there is still a need for us to understand each other’s cultures, ways of life and motivations. If we start with this, we are already a long way down the path of avoiding conflict.

What is soft power? I have heard a lot of noble Lords say that they are uncomfortable with the term. It is about co-option rather than coercion. It is a means of achieving desired outcomes without recourse to threats or military power. The British Council, the organisation that has done such magnificent work in the area of soft power, defines it as,

“the things that make people love a country rather than fear it, things that are often the products of people, institutions and brands rather than governments”.

Soft power is being prioritised as a foreign policy tool by other countries. China, for example, has opened 300 Confucius Institutes since 2004 and aims to have a thousand institutes in operation by 2020. We in Britain have an in-built advantage over other nations as two of our most notable soft power tools, the BBC World Service and the British Council, had decades to establish global reputations for excellence. We must not throw this advantage away but we must be aware that others are catching up very quickly. Just look at the growth of Russia Today TV. According to the Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board, around 2.5 million Britons tuned their televisions to Russia Today during the second half of last year. It boasts the most popular news channel in Britain after the BBC and Sky, so we have to understand that we cannot let this advantage run away from us. It is particularly important for us to consider because the funding cuts to the World Service have already meant closing 22 bureaus, including cutting the radio service to Ukraine. I will need to elaborate a bit more on these two institutions when we discuss the other report.

Soft power is about the representation of ideas, of a way of life, of attitudes and values, some of those in Britain being tolerance, openness and respect for law, and as the noble Lord, Lord Parekh, suggested, what we stand for is what matters. Its real impact can only be long term, but it is absolutely worth the investment. As my noble friend Lady Kinnock said, soft power cannot be seen as the soft option.

One of the other key tools in the area of soft power needs to be protected at all costs. Nobody can doubt that one of the main keys to the future influence of this country globally is its international development funding. Any reduction in the commitment to spend 0.7% of our GDP on development aid would wound not only our international partners but the UK. As long ago as 1969, the Labour Party was committed to that 0.7% target, and since 1970 it has appeared in every one of our manifestos. I am delighted to report that it has now been passed in the other place, so we hope that the Minister will give us an assurance today that time will be made for this in this House in the new year.

To give credit where it is due, the coalition Government have been committed to ring-fencing the development aid budget, despite real pressures from less enlightened members in the Tory party. So we urge the Government

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now and in the future to hold their nerve on this important issue. I also ask the Minister to indicate whether the Government will conform to the £1 billion extra funding estimated by the Office for Budget Responsibility today as the amount needed to reach that 0.7% target.

The then Secretary of State for International Development said just two short years ago:

“For under 1% of gross national income this is a tremendous investment, not only in the future stability and prosperity of some of the poorest and most dysfunctional parts of the world, it’s an investment for Britain in Britain's future prosperity and stability and security”.

Those two years have seen increased problems faced by some of our international partners. Their interests have become our interests, their prosperity our prosperity, their stability and security our stability and security, and we have become more inextricably bound than ever before.

Sadly, some shrill voices are determined to see the foreigner, both in their own country and here, as a drain on our resources when the truth is that they are assets and allies for present and future prosperity. Those voices even fail to recognise that the consequence of investing in international aid is not just mutual growth but a reduction in migration, as people are able to flourish in their home countries. The less that we give, the greater will be the number of people from around the world needing food and shelter in our country. Yes, there is an issue with immigration in the UK but we need to place this immigration into a global context. There are 42 million forcibly displaced people around the world today but four out of five refugees are housed in the developing world. Pakistan alone takes in 1.7 million of them, more than the 1.6 million taken by the whole of Europe. The Lebanon has taken in 1 million refugees from Syria, which had a population of 3 million. The least that we can do is therefore to pay our fair share to help those countries carrying the biggest burden.

Where are we failing and how can we do better in relation to our soft power influence in the world? The Government in the UK are in real danger of sending out mixed messages on our values. When it comes to developing the UK’s strategic narratives on soft power, it seems to be necessary to stress again and again that they must reflect reality and should not be undermined by concrete political action or even debates. The committee of the noble Lord, Lord Howell, stressed that the UK would find it difficult to portray itself as an open, tolerant country and promote these ideas in conflict-prone areas at the same time as engaging in an increasingly vitriolic debate on immigration.

One of the other points to note is the shift in power networks going on through the world. The rise of non-western countries is altering the international balance of power and influence. The UK has a huge advantage: the country’s history and experience of global reach now present it with an enviable opportunity to work with others in shaping the world. The Government must communicate openly and actively with both old allies in the Commonwealth and new partners around the globe. However, we must also understand how crucial the EU is in promoting the kinds of values that

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we espouse. My noble friend Lord Anderson underlined the point that the support for the European Convention on Human Rights is absolutely critical to that value system.

We cannot fail to have noticed that upheavals in the Middle East and parts of Africa are increasingly being determined by more extreme forms of religious beliefs. The most reverend Primate was correct to point out that this is an ideological, even a theological, struggle which cannot simply be won by violence. It is therefore essential that we have within the Foreign Office a ream of top-flight advisers in important areas such as ethnic and religious issues, as suggested by the noble Baroness, Lady Berridge. Awareness of the sensitivities and an understanding of cultural, ethnic and theological diversity is vital to the proper exercise of soft power, and an understanding of how and why religions help to create—or attempt to eliminate—tensions and conflicts should be a prerequisite of the locally based diplomat. A failure to grasp the complex internal divisions within religions, as well as between faiths, and how these are often connected to ethnic groups, civil strife and international conflicts is critical to solutions, whether it be in Ulster or Nigeria. The most reverend Primate was also correct to draw attention to the fact that religion was not mentioned in the Select Committee’s report.

In conclusion, it is worth emphasising the link between soft power and hard power. The suggestion by the most reverend Primate to explore this during the strategic defence and security review merits serious consideration. To this end, I want to pay our respects to the members of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces for the outstanding service that they provide as they travel the world to deliver the more practical and life-saving aspects of soft power on our behalf, when as a nation we respond to natural disasters and human folly. Their role in the world, helping countries to restore normality, replace infrastructure and rebuild communities, often in the most challenging and dangerous environments, gives us all a deep sense of pride.

I heard this week a story recounted by a young airman who has served several tours in Afghanistan. He told how it was so important that they walked around among local people wearing what he called “soft” clothing—he meant his beret rather than a helmet, and an absence of heavy body armour bristling with weapons. The corporal said:

“It’s about hearts and minds, that’s where we British do well. That’s where the real battle has to be won—hearts and minds”.

Ultimately, we will not defeat terrorism with arms. It has to be with hearts and minds.

2.55 pm

Lord Wallace of Saltaire (LD): My Lords, the most reverend Primate has given us the basis for a fascinating debate, starting with his own very helpful speech. The Government of course strongly support its underlying premise that soft power and non-military actions have a critical role in preventing conflicts and in building stronger societies, state structures and economic development. We are indeed deploying smart power as

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well as we can, which brings together all the tools at our disposal. That must be the cornerstone of our approach.

This year, sadly, we have seen an unpleasant increase in the number and intensity of high-profile armed conflicts around the world: some new, as in Ukraine, some revived and continuing, as in Libya, and some with a new and dangerous slant, as with the rise of Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, while prospects for lasting peace in the Israel/Palestine conflict appear dimmer now than at the start of the year. The UK has been at the forefront of efforts to resolve these and other conflicts by peaceful means. Such is the complexity of modern conflicts, most often involving rather more non-state actors than state actors, as in the Sahel and across the Middle East, that we and like-minded members of the international community need to use the full range of tools available to us to try to restrict, contain and end these conflicts.

Conflict prevention is much more difficult than post-conflict reconstruction. The unexpected outbreak of the Arab spring in Tunisia, which no one, even in Tunisia, had suspected, is a perfect example of how difficult it is to anticipate just where conflicts might break out next and do one’s best to anticipate it. The noble Lord, Lord Boateng, pointed out the unanticipated spillover of the NATO and Gulf states intervention in Libya. We have to remember that that intervention was in large part intended as a humanitarian one to prevent the large-scale killing that was threatened within Libya at that time. The subsequent collapse of state and society into conflicting militias and the dispersal of weapons across the Sahel from abandoned military bases across the country was not foreseen. Sadly, as he rightly says, we are now faced with a huge problem of ungoverned areas within what we think of as states, albeit very weak ones, with which we now have to deal. Peacekeeping, post-conflict resolution and the containment of conflict have therefore to be our major preoccupations.

The Building Stability Overseas strategy, which has been mentioned, is the Government’s strategy to help to shape a stable world and tackle threats at their source. It has three areas where the Government wish to focus efforts: first, early warning, improving our ability to anticipate instability and potential triggers for conflict, so far as we can; secondly, rapid crisis prevention and response, taking fast, appropriate and effective action to prevent a crisis or to stop it from developing further; and, thirdly, investing in upstream prevention by trying to build strong, legitimate and robust societies in the many fragile countries and weak states around the world.

We fund this partly through the interdepartmental Conflict Pool. Again I have to say to the noble Lord, Lord Boateng, that there is a great deal of cross-departmental co-operation in this, and it is improving. The National Security Council has now agreed to reform decision-making on the UK effort within fragile states. A new Conflict, Stability and Security Fund will therefore replace the current Conflict Pool in April 2015. That will have £1 billion, of which £100 million is new additional money. It will operate across several different departments and include work focused on

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reconciliation, intercommunity dialogue and weapons reduction and support focused on strengthening other countries’ institutions.

I welcome the general support for the size of our current development budget. It focuses on long-term development but deals with short-term and immediate humanitarian assistance. With the Norwegians and some others, we are now a leader in world development, and we are very proud of that. DfID has been scaling up its work in fragile and conflict-affected states and in the previous SDSR committed itself to investing 30% of total UK ODA in fragile and conflict-affected states. A great deal of effort goes into those many fragile countries across the world.

In addition to that, some of the ODA is being spent in other departments. I was in Istanbul at the weekend where the noble Lord, Lord Janvrin, the UK trade envoy to Turkey, had just launched the UK’s Newton Fund, which is a DfID-funded but BIS-administered fund for promoting scientific and technological collaboration between British scholars and scholars in the developing world. I can assure the noble Lord that there is increasing co-operation across Whitehall to promote our broader developmental objectives.

On defence engagement, which a number of noble Lords asked about, the defence attaché network remains a key part of integrated UK support. I am told that in South Sudan we have worked extremely hard developing a Conflict Pool programme to try to support the evolution of what had been a guerrilla force into professional armed services. Sadly, there is a long way to go. In Ethiopia, we are bringing together defence engagement activity—the Conflict Pool and DfID’s development programme—to pull together the different dimensions of security and justice, as we all recognise that domestic policing is as important as armed forces. The noble Earl, Lord Attlee, referred to military training, the Royal College of Defence Studies and many others. We are similarly engaged in training on the ground in fragile states and also back here.

Others talked about the immense value of all sorts of education that the British are engaged in. As an academic, partly at St Antony’s, which has been mentioned, and at the London School of Economics, I am very conscious of the extent to which, as I travel as a Minister, I meet my former students, who include one Prime Minister at the present, the retiring president of the Commission, one Commissioner and various other people. It helps—and it also helps add to my credibility with the FCO from time to time.

The noble Baroness, Lady Kinnock, asked about the 0.7% commitment. I am glad that the Bill has now passed the other House. It is a little too early for me to say how we will respond, but I take her point and we will see what we can do in January and then on. The British Government are among the leaders in development aid. We are entitled to ask for more from others. The Deputy Prime Minister, when in Berlin last week, made that specific point to our German partners: we are doing well, but we expect others to come up more to the mark.

The most reverend Primate also mentioned the strategic defence and security review. I am struck that many noble Lords responded on that. Since I have

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already had to answer Questions in the House on what is happening on the SDSR, I welcome the surge of interest in that debate. The review is led by the Cabinet Office with a range of different departments, not just the Ministry of Defence, concerned with it.

I remind the noble Lord, Lord Admiral West, and other noble Lords that the 2010 strategic threat assessment had more non-military than military threats on its list of the most serious threats facing Britain. Those threats included: climate change; international criminal networks; terrorism driven by radical or violent ideologies; global epidemics; cyberattacks, including threats to critical national infrastructure; to which I would add global population growth, weak states, the spillover of civil conflict into state collapse and the surges of refugees as migrants towards safe countries such as the UK. I entirely agree with the noble Baroness, Lady Morgan, that part of the argument for development assistance is that it enables people to stay within their own countries rather than flee across the Mediterranean to safer countries like our own. Then there is hybrid war, and the information war, which again, as the noble Baroness said, the Russians are currently waging, as well as their attempts to subvert political parties and other institutions within our safer Europe.

We should certainly consider some of these very large questions. How do we best respond to such a much wider range of threats? What mixture of assets should we best invest in—how much military and how much non-military? How much do we invest in overseas issues of this sort in meeting those threats, in comparison with our investment in domestic education, health, welfare and other public services? There are no soft choices here; this is a matter of very hard financial—

Baroness Williams of Crosby: Before my noble friend completes his very helpful display of what the Government propose to do, I will ask him about a question that was raised by my noble friend Lady Miller and the noble Lord, Lord West. Given that it will cost nothing and that, as he knows, there is a meeting on the nuclear non-proliferation treaty in the spring of 2015, will he tell the House whether he would consider the United Kingdom Government throwing more of their weight behind the idea of ending very early warning? One of the real fears that many of us have is that as the Russian Government begin to lose their capacity to maintain the highest quality of inspection and maintenance, there is a great danger that, with such tiny periods of alarm, an extremely serious accident could occur.

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: My Lords, the Government have already invested in considerable preparations for the next NPT review. I take the opportunity to answer the question asked earlier by the noble Baroness, Lady Miller. The Government have decided to accept Austria’s invitation to attend the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, which will get under way this weekend. The UK will be represented by Mrs Susan le Jeune d’Allegeershecque, the UK’s ambassador to Austria and permanent representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency. I hope that is welcome news to all concerned.

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In his opening, the most reverend Prelate talked about the importance of narrative. It is very important, with soft power, to talk about the importance of ideas. We all know that ideas shape the world in the long run, be they Christianity, Islam, the Enlightenment, communism, nationalism, fascism, or whatever; and radical Islam is now replacing the attractions of secular ideologies across the Middle East. We certainly need to think about our counternarrative. The traditional western and Anglo-Saxon narrative has been about open society, limited government, civil society, tolerance and human rights. The Reformation and beyond and the importance of non-conformity were not entirely appreciated by the Church of England in the 17th century, but it accepted them in the 19th century. I declare an interest as a member of the Liberal Party, which grew out of the alliance between the Whigs and the non-conformists.

We need to have a debate on what our national narrative now is. The other week I was in a seminar, off the record, with a fairly senior Conservative MP who said, “We can’t discuss the SDSR until we’ve decided who we are and where we think we are in the world—and we don’t know”. That is a real problem, and we all recognise that that is part of our problem. We need to get back to the question of what Britain is about. We have several contradictory narratives at the present moment. The excellent report on soft power produced by the British Academy earlier this year called itself something like the power of attraction—and that is fine, but, actually, the power of attraction means that we have enormous numbers of people of all backgrounds and levels of attainment wanting to come and live in Britain, which is something that we know many of our public no longer want to have. They want Britain to be a rather more closed society.

Part of our open society is that we accept that foreigners can buy whatever they want in Britain, and part of the popular reaction against globalisation in Britain is a sense that somehow we are losing our own country. So there is popular disillusionment with rapid change and continuing immigration. That suggests that politicians, churchmen and public intellectuals need to open a much more active debate about national identity. Gordon Brown as Prime Minister made one or two speeches on this, but we need to think about where we go from here. I am a member of the advisory board on the commemoration of World War I, and part of what we are trying to do through the programme of commemoration is to remind people where we came from. We did not stand alone; the Commonwealth, particularly the Indian Army, the West Indies Regiment and others, were all part of where we evolved from, into the multiracial society we are today.

Of course, it is also a matter of a national narrative and a sense of national identity that is changing and developing. Yesterday, I had an argument with a young woman, an official from the Foreign Office, who was being a little rude about the attitude to women in developing countries, and I reminded her that 75 years ago attitudes to women in this country were also pretty backward-looking from our current perspective. The transformation of the role and status of women over the past two to three generations in Britain and the other western states has been one of the most

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wonderful things that we have developed. Now we are trying to transfer those new British values to the rest of the world, and we recognise that the role of women is one of the keys to economic and social development—and also, incidentally, to population limitation. I pay tribute to the Foreign Secretary and the International Development Secretary for the work that they have done, including the work on the prevention of sexual violence against women—and also to the noble Baroness, Lady Helic, whom we have just welcomed into the House.

There is a lot more to do in this area. I am very happy to say that BIS now has a UK student outward mobility strategy, which was launched last year because British people do not go abroad enough. Lots of people come here, but we do not pay enough attention to making sure that our younger generation understands the rest of the world.

Multilateral work is how we have to approach much of soft power. There is little we can do on our own. We work closely with others. In South Sudan, for example, Britain and Norway are the joint chairs of one of the frameworks through which we try to negotiate, working closely with the African Union and the Arab League, doing our best to draw on Chinese participation wherever we can. International NGOs and NGOs based in Britain play a very valuable part in our endeavour. They are part of the soft power projection for Britain. Of course, we are very worried about the shrinking of space for NGOs to operate with Russia and in many other countries, including in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Commonwealth has also been mentioned—the language, culture and history—but, fundamentally, the rule of law, which we need to make as much as we can of, with India and South Africa in some ways as our key partners. The successful development of the rule of law in that regard is flawed but, nevertheless, is making real progress.

I have many more notes but I shall be as rapid as I can. We welcome the role of the churches in promoting tolerance and understanding among faiths as well as within each faith community, and in talking about different paths to God, particularly among the three faiths of the Book—Judaism, Islam and Christianity. I note that Ibrahim—Abraham—is now becoming one of the more popular boys’ names in Britain. That should remind people that these are not entirely incompatible traditions. The Government can assist in this regard. There are now university centres for Islamic theology and one needs to take that further. I take the opportunity to praise the noble Baroness, Lady Warsi, for the work she did, and the speeches she made, on tolerance to Muslim audiences in Istanbul, Oman and Kuala Lumpur as well as for the speeches she made in Washington and Rome on interfaith understanding. That work, and the work on human rights, is being continued by my noble friend Lady Anelay.

A number of noble Lords talked about student visas and the whole problem with visas. We recognise that we have a problem. That is partly because so many people want to come to Britain. However, applications for university student visas continue to rise, as does the student overseas population in Britain.

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There was an 18% increase in visas granted for skilled workers and a 14% increase in visitor visas last year, so we are not going backwards on that. However, we are struggling to meet the pressure resulting from the number of people wishing to enter Britain.

Some noble Lords mentioned the BBC World Service. It may be better if I write to them on that very large subject. On the economic side, the Prime Minister has made it entirely clear that we are concerned about finding the golden thread that links conflict-free development with prosperity—namely, the absence of war, getting rid of corruption, the establishment of the rule of law, decent government and having markets that work. That involves us in a great deal of co-operation with others in fighting international corruption and criminal regimes.

The noble Baroness, Lady Kinnock, asked a number of questions, including whether the Government had undertaken a risk analysis of the implications of withdrawal from the ECHR. My clear answer is that of course we have not because the Government have no intention of leaving the ECHR, so no such analysis is necessary.

Lord Anderson of Swansea: Surely the question may not be one just of leaving the ECHR but of considering the judgments as purely advisory.

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: I was involved in the Brighton initiative. We are concerned to reform and improve the quality of the court. I am happy to say that the last report I saw suggested that the backlog of applications under the ECHR has declined rapidly over the last two years, so British efforts to reform the Council of Europe have made real progress.

I agree that the European Union is the ultimate soft power element but we also have to recognise that popular disillusion with the EU is a common phenomenon in most member states. That is why the coalition Government, with others, are committed to a programme of EU reform.

The noble Lord, Lord Hylton, asked about a conference on Bosnia chaired by the Soul of Europe. I hope he will be reassured to hear that the FCO has written to the director of the Soul of Europe, informing him how he can access funding.

If I have not responded to other points made in the debate, I hope that noble Lords will forgive me if I write to them on those points. This has been an extremely valuable debate. I thank the most reverend Primate for introducing it and look forward to the next debate introduced by him, perhaps next year.

3.19 pm

The Archbishop of Canterbury: My Lords, when I first came into the House, I was warned that, whatever you said, there was bound to be a world expert sitting within a few feet of you. Sitting through the 27 or so contributions to the debate has felt rather like handing in your homework at school and finding all your teachers simultaneously examining you. I am extremely grateful to those who have contributed some extraordinary and very powerful lessons and understanding. If noble Lords will excuse me, I am not going to try to reply to everyone because we have been going now for five

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hours and 20 minutes, and need to come to a halt. However, I want to sum up with four or five points that seem to be central from what has come out.

Underlying them is the question that the Minister raised—who are we and what do we think we are for in the world? That seems to be the common theme running through the debate. Given the need for those questions to be answered clearly from this debate, it has been answered clearly, at least in this House, that we think we should still be playing an active part in the debate. There was no contribution that one might call isolationist. If that is the case, as the noble Lord, Lord Judd, said eloquently, we need a strategy, and, as many noble Lords said—including the noble and gallant Lord, Lord Craig of Radley, and the noble Lord, Lord West of Spithead—we need resources to cover the whole spectrum from hard power through to soft power. That is so that not only can we resource soft power but build peace by carrying, from time to time, a “big stick”, to use the phrase that was quoted.

The second point that was powerfully made was the need for soft power to be people-centred and relationship-centred. I was particularly grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Wei, for his eloquent statement of that, and his imaginative picking up of the way in which early Christianity spread and, through the example of Jesus, of the power of love and sacrifice over the most powerful military power of its time—albeit it took 300 years. I pick up the point made by the Minister, who obviously thinks in centuries when he refers me back to the 17th century and to the actions of the Church of England towards the nonconformists at that point—for which I can only apologise. I seem to do this a lot. I might mention, in looking for an apology from the other side, that in the 19th century the Liberals got at the Church of England good and proper. The people-centredness and relationship-centredness of soft power is immensely important. Out of that, and the sense that soft power and all execution of power in the present day have to be centred around people and relationships, came expressions of caution about the use of power from the noble Lord, Lord Parekh, and others. It is people who change conflicts for good or ill, and it is therefore engagement with people that enables us to have an impact on conflict prevention, conflict mitigation, and reconciliation.

However, in many ways, the theme that ran most clearly through the contributions was “smart power”—the phrase used by the noble Lord, Lord Alton. The noble Lord, Lord Alderdice, referred to this also, linking soft and hard power with his immense experience of Northern Ireland and the huge contribution he made there. Communication comes up in so many ways. Good communication in many forms includes, as the noble Baroness, Lady Williams, said, the influence of the British Council and the BBC, and the implicit communication that comes through our visa policy, which the Minister has addressed. It would be interesting to know at some point whether the Government will consider the recommendation of the Select Committee report that students should not be counted in the issuance of visas in the same way as just another bunch of applications.

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The broad application of smart power brings in such a wide range of actors—universities, trades, religion. I was glad that the global contribution of the Roman Catholic Church was mentioned. Where churches are engaged in conflict management or conflict prevention around the world, it is almost invariably with the Anglicans and the Roman Catholics together. It is one of the great privileges we have.

The question of human rights was raised eloquently. The point was made that, where there is instability through the oppression of human rights, you will eventually find the need for the exercise of hard power. Therefore, our campaigns on human rights—we can think of numerous campaigns in recent years, particularly by the Government, most admirably around modern slavery at the moment, which the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Derby referred to and has been leading on for the church—have been a major contribution. There are more than 30 million slaves globally. The rectification of that unspeakable abuse of human rights is something on which this country is taking a lead.

Out of that is the need for soft power to be inclusive, a point made by the noble Baroness, Lady Berridge, and others. Sport was mentioned. How could I have missed that after four years in Liverpool? When I arrived the first question I was asked was whether I was a red or a blue. I commented that, after eight years of conflict management, I was not going to answer that question. Sport can be found almost everywhere. We used it when I was a canon at Coventry. We had a football competition in central Nigeria between Muslim and Christian youth, which ended peacefully. I will not say who won.

The noble Lord, Lord Ramsbotham, also spoke about human rights and about how its absence increases instability. Finally on smart power, is the matrix approach, which the noble Lord, Lord Boateng, put so eloquently and powerfully: the mixture of soft and hard power, of health, of NGOs, of sport, and of the need for cross-departmental action, which has improved over the past few years. Those of us involved in the field have seen that happen. If I may say so to the Minister, there is quite a long way to go. There needs to be a lot more work on that. It is not only that there are resources for hard power and for soft power but how they are spent. The noble Lord, Lord Boateng, spoke on that at some length. The quasi-policing by hard power may create space for the exercise of soft power and to avoid draining areas of their historic populations—the great danger to Christians in the Middle East at the moment. Simply giving them asylum may end their presence in an area where they have lived for 2,000 years.

I was particularly struck by the eloquence of the noble Baroness, Lady Kinnock, who essentially spoke about mutuality. She mentioned the European Union and the Commonwealth. The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Derby spoke of the messy and complex nature of the exercise of soft power. Bringing that in requires international co-operation. It is never going to be tidy and simple. That brings me to the final point.

There seemed to be a theme running through the debate of the importance of flexibility. Regarding Libya, the point was made very powerfully that we

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went in there for humanitarian reasons and have ended up creating the best arms supplier for west Africa. Boko Haram is largely equipped from Libya. It is financed by other people but that is where it gets the guns. The Building Stability Overseas strategy and the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund, when it comes in next April, need to have a quickness of response and an ability to be immensely flexible in dealing with the unpredictability of conflict. That, again, is a crucial underlying theme. We often cannot prevent it because we do not see it coming. It springs out of the blue

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suddenly, and it would be foolish if we were to pretend otherwise. Not everything can be done but, as we are seeing in the enormous pain and struggle in South Sudan, there is always something that can be done.

This has been an incredibly educational debate. I apologise to those whom I have not been able to mention.

Motion agreed.

House adjourned at 3.31 pm.