David Clark

From Powerbase
Jump to: navigation, search

Disambiguation: Not to be confused with David Clark MP, British politician and member of Parliament for South Shields OR David Clark (banker).

David Clark, a former special adviser to Robin Cook and researcher for John Reid when he was Home Secretary, is a freelance writer including for the Guardian's Comment Is Free and lobbyist. In 2009 he is a 'Project Advisor' for lobby firm Champollion[1] and a senior consultant for APCO Worldwide’s London office. He fails to mention his role as a lobbyist on his Comment is Free profile note.[2]

He was a special adviser at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office between 1997 and 2001. He first joined Robin Cook’s staff in 1994 and was closely involved in the development of Labour’s foreign policy in the run up to the 1997 general election. From 1991-94 he worked as a research assistant to Dr John Reid MP.[3]

According to an APCO biographical note:

Clark has written numerous op-ed columns for a range of national newspapers, including Guardian and appeared regularly as a guest on current affairs programs on radio and television. He is also a senior research fellow at the Federal Trust and chairman of the Advisory Council of the Russian Foundation. His academic qualifications include a Master of Arts in War Studies from King’s College London.[4]


Federal Trust

Clark joined the Federal Trust in January 2005, the year after he stopped working for John Reid. He was appointed as a 'Senior Research Fellow' in order to 'coordinate a major new project "A Global Strategy for Europe."' [5]

In June of that year Clark spoke at the Federal Trust conference on the The UK Presidency of the European Union Priorities and Objectives. Co-organised by Chatham House and by TEPSA, the conference was sponsored by UACES. Among the other speakers was a roll call of UK elite EU networkers including Leon Brittan the former European Commissioner, at the stage working for UBS, Peter Sutherland one of the most networked of the transatlantic elite, former diplomat Lord Kerr of Kinlochard, Giles Radice the former right wing Labour Party MP and member of the House of Lords. His presence was unsurprising given his role as Chair of the European Movement between 1995-2001, Clark spoke in a session on 'THE EU IN THE WIDER WORLD: BUILDING STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS' along with Graham Avery, Director DG External Relations at the European Commission and Gerard Errera the French ambassador to the UK.[6]


Critic of The Euston Manifesto and the Pro-War Left

Harry's Place describes itself as part of the "democratic, secular, anti-fascist, liberal, anti-totalitarian left."[7] Two of the site's bloggers, Harry Hatchet and David Toube, were among the original signatories of the Euston Manifesto in 2006.[8]

In the New Statesman, David Clark decribed the manifesto's supporters as the 'pro-war left':

In this the Eustonites are reminiscent of the early American neoconservatives. They also shared a background in radical-left politics and became preoccupied with attacking their former comrades' supposed moral corruption on a great issue of war and peace (in their case, Vietnam). It was a journey that led most of them eventually to abandon the left for good. The question is whether supporters of the Euston Manifesto are destined to follow a similar trajectory.[9]

He went on to question the substance of the Eustonites' Pro-War Left credentials:

There are vague and slightly ritualistic expressions of concern about social injustice and global inequality, but nowhere are they confronted with the kind of passion that is devoted to attacking those considered guilty of appeasing terrorism by criticising western policy - nor is any attempt made to identify their cause.[10]

In a 2008 article for the Guardian website Alan Johnson (editor Democratiya) rejected the term pro-war left, identifying instead "a progressive democratic internationalism set against both a hubristic neo-conservatism and a reactionary "anti-imperialist" left."

The intellectual and campaigning energies that created the manifesto continue to pulse. Go online and look at normblog, Harry's Place, Engage, Labour Friends of Iraq, Democratiya, and the work of all the contributing online journals, blogs, signatories, journalists and activists. Consider the success of Nick Cohen's book What's Left. Watch the Channel 5 documentary No Excuses for Terror, or the Euston-organised parliamentary seminars on humanitarian interventionism and the terror threat, or the Engage rally against the academic boycott.[11]

Clark though is not opposed to wars waged by the US and UK and is close to the pro war left on a number of issues, as particualrly indicated by his involvement in Democratiya (for which he wrote a review in Spring 2007[12]). Richard Seymour has described the relationship between the pro war left and other liberal leftists such as Clark:

the pro-war left exist in an almost impregnable moral fortress, from which they permit themselves to see only the empire’s immense charity and benevolence. Hence, nervous and bloodied from their support of the calamitous invasion of Iraq, they plead with Western states to perform merciful feats in Sudan. Predictably, the fate of Darfur is reduced to ‘Islamism’ and ‘totalitarianism’ in the hands of the pro-war left.124 In their calls for intervention there, however, they may find some supporters among liberal leftists who opposed the Iraq war. Jonathan Freedland[13] and David Clark,[14] for instance, have both argued that an invasion of Sudan would be a good instance of intervention. Both supported the war on Yugoslavia...
It is the segment of people represented by such commentators who the pro-war left hope to win over through such initiatives as the Euston Manifesto. In response to such initiatives, the anti-imperialist left has to argue that the state is not the bearer of the interests which liberals hope to advance, and must insist on a minimally realistic account of US strategy in the world.[15]

Clark also supported and continues to support the Kosovo war[16] and took the side of Georgia (the aggresor) in the dispute with Russia.[17]



  1. Champollion Our Team: David Clark, accessed 23 November 2009.
  2. Comment is Free David Clark, accessed 23 November 2009
  3. Comment is Free David Clark, accessed 23 November 2009
  4. APCO Web site
  5. The Federal Trust The UK Presidency of the European Union Priorities and Objectives 20-21 June 2005 Chatham House, London
  6. The Federal Trust The UK Presidency of the European Union Priorities and Objectives 20-21 June 2005 Chatham House, London
  7. Harry Hatchet, This is HP, Harry's Place, accessed 16 August 2009.
  8. Euston Manifesto, 17 April 2006, accessed via the Internet Archive.
  9. David Clark, The politics column - Bring on a new democratic left, New Statesman, 29 May 2006.
  10. David Clark, The politics column - Bring on a new democratic left, New Statesman, 29 May 2006.
  11. Alan Johnson, The Euston moment, guardian.co.uk, 21 January, 2008.
  12. David Clark Sacred Causes: Religion and Politics from the European Dictators to Al Qaeda by Michael Burleigh HarperPress, 2006, 576. pp., Democratiya, Spring 2007, retrieved from the Internet Archive of 12 November 2007 on 23 November 2009
  13. J Freedland, ‘How to stop Hotel Darfur’, Guardian, 30 March 2005.
  14. D Clark, ‘Why both Blair and the left have been silent on Sudan’, Guardian, 2 July 2004.
  15. Richard Seymour In the name of decency: the contortions of the pro-war left, International Socialism, Issue: 113, Posted: 4 January 07
  16. David Clark Kosovo was a just war, not an imperialist dress rehearsal: Ten years on, the conflict should be remembered as a responsible western intervention. It is a very different example to Iraq The Guardian, Comment is Free, Thursday 16 April 2009
  17. David Clark The west can no longer stand idle while the Russian bully wreaks havoc: The clashes with Georgia follow years of aggressive Kremlin policy. Moscow needs to be told its G8 place is not unconditional The Guardian, Comment is Free, Monday 11 August 2008
  18. Institute for Statecraft Governance. Accessed 26 December 2015.