The basic argument made in this paper is that for political, security, economic, scientific, cultural and historical reasons, the bilateral British-German relationship is too important to both countries to be allowed to disintegrate and it follows, therefore, that this will not happen. The question is how best to move forward.
It is suggested here that building on the strong unquestioned security ties between the UK and the Federal Republic, our ‘essential ally’ in the words of the UK Foreign Secretary, and on the strong and enduring trading relationship (Germany is the UK’s largest single European trading partner), progress can also be made in many varied fields, not least political and cultural ones.
If both nations, reasonably motivated by mutual self-interest, move on from ideological debate to focus on compromise and pragmatism, taking small steps as they go, there is every reason to believe a strong strategic bilateral relationship can be constructed that is different, but in its own terms as good as the previous one (which was necessarily embedded in joint EU membership), where trusting each other along the journey becomes its hallmark.
Based on close foreign and security policy cooperation and shared values and priorities on all other key issues from climate change to policy towards Russia, China and the Indo-Pacific, there is every reason to be optimistic about the medium and long term future of the bilateral relationship. It is the responsibility of Conservatives to contribute pro-actively to this outcome.