I was surprised to be elected to the Foreign Affairs Select Committee and it feels intimidating to be in a room with so much accumulated experience.
I remember meeting some of the Foreign Affairs Committee when I was still working for the Foreign Office. I have a memory of grand figures in linen suits and flak jackets. There always seemed to be a young MP who lost his passport or was found taking Kevlar plates out of the flak jacket to save weight on the plane. I fear I am now that MP.
But there seem to be a number of very serious questions. Is it possible for the UK to have a fully independent foreign policy? What would this mean? Is it possible to be passionately moderate, to avoid the temptation to oscillate between grand interventions and total lack of engagement? Could there be a way of matching our resources and our priorities more exactly? Could we learn to accept more risk? Or accept that there are things which are beyond our power? But these are grand questions.
My first aim is to try to listen and learn and not to lose my passport.