Yet, even though the socially-distanced photo-call of the seven (all male) participants at Lancaster House, did look rather incongruous, the timing could still be fortuitous from Britain’s perspective.
This is a chance for Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, ahead of the main summit of world leaders next month, to demonstrate that there’s real substance to the Government’s rhetoric when it comes to Global Britain.
Yet, while it is one of the first major tests of UK diplomacy in the aftermath of Brexit, it is this country’s global leadership on Covid – and the vaccine programme in particular – that will be paramount.
With India in the midst of a growing humanitarian catastrophe that has even forced the cricket-mad nation to suspend its flagship IPL tournament, this is a chance for Mr Raab to ensure the supply chains are in place to get medical equipment, and ultimately vaccines, to the most seriously ill – none of us is safe until we’re all protected.
Having presided over the dismantling of the Department for International Development on his watch, this country expects the Foreign Secretary to show the type of humility which has been absent because of stridency over Brexit and also the turbulence caused by Donald Trump’s presidency.
Now, in effect, is the time to press the reset button and ensure Britain can make the most of its chairmanship of the G7 world-leading nations and also the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow later this year.
After all, Covid – and climate change – are life-threatening challenges for every country in the world, hence the need for Britain to be far more outward-looking than it has been in the recent political past.
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