Ethical Charter

Where statecraft embodies the skilful, strategic leadership and management of state affairs; governance is understood to be the means by which those who govern respond effectively to the needs of the governed; security is achieved by a combination of good governance and statecraft, enabling a society to cope with the dangers and threats it faces without losing its essential values.

  1. We hold that good statecraft, governance & security are universally benign qualities in all cultural and traditional contexts, and are a prerequisite for the common good.
  2. We hold that, in all cultural and traditional contexts, the next generation needs to be equipped and trained to promote good statecraft & governance which will ensure security at an acceptable level of social cost.
  3. We hold that, in all cultural and traditional contexts, for any nation to enjoy good statecraft, governance & security it requires healthy national institutions, which, if sufficiently robust and adaptable, act as the medium of exchange between those who are governed and those who govern in a continually evolving virtuous circle.
  4. We hold that, in most cultural and traditional contexts, the two most common obstacles to good statecraft, governance and security are: 1) the natural accumulation of vested interests, which collide and limit the ability of a nation to pursue its national interests; and, 2) the absence of national strategic goals, or the lack of ability to communicate national strategic goals within national institutions and to the people more widely.
  5. We hold that, if left unattended, the absence of good statecraft, governance & security can create a dangerous vacuum, a national strategic deficit. In relatively stable political environments a national strategic deficit is a precursor to national decline. In less stable political environments a national strategic deficit is all too often a precursor to conflict.
  6. We hold that national strategic deficits are self-perpetuating and require independent, non partisan advice and engagement, as well as governmental intervention, to address, to which purpose this Institute is dedicated.
  7. We hold that any approach to statecraft, governance or security which does not conform to the highest standards of integrity and service cannot be described as good and ought to be vigorously resisted. Justice can never be left wanting. Ends can never be held to justify immoral means.

Consequently, guided by its Ethical Charter, The Institute for Statecraft differs from existing ‘think tanks’ in that: 

- We are not just a “think tank” offering yet another discussion forum, but we are primarily a “do tank” delivering projects and programmes which impact on the situation

- We pride ourselves on our capacity for sustained engagement with those who have problems; working closely with them in the field, as counsellors rather than as consultants; understanding their problems and helping them to develop and implement their own workable solutions

- We encourage a broad, cross-disciplinary approach, ensuring that our projects  and programmes can learn from one another; bringing together governments, parliaments, official institutions, private enterprise and academia

- We are totally independent and impartial, not dependent on funding from political or government agencies, industrial interests, or any other source which might call our impartiality into question

- We foster creative thinking to identify alternative solutions, giving us the strength to evaluate unconventional and radical ideas

- Our independence and creativity give us the ability to see and to create opportunities and to act upon them, and ensure us the flexibility to experiment, trying alternatives to identify what ‘works’;being prepared to fail and try again

- The Institute has the courage to present a “constructive challenge” to existing orthodoxies and assumptions, providing national institutions with innovative thinking, striving to reverse the prevalent attitude of “managing decline”

- We address controversial issues of vital importance which other organisations are unwilling to tackle 

- We never lobby, but we do not shirk from advocating specific policy choices, spreading good practice and promoting reform in the face of complacency or vested interest

- Finally, The Institute invests in the creation of a new generation to follow