Soon after Tony Blair assumed premiership in 1997, the Labour government announced the adoption of an 'ethical dimension' as the core of British foreign policy for the first time. This new dimension was. apparently, meant to be taken seriously. Michael Williams, special adviser to Jack Straw, told me that 'at least the question of human rights had been mainstreamed and is in our formal foreign policy. At least one person in every embassy in every country is now dedicated to human rights work'. 1 The announcement came as a surprise to both the British administration and public.