Tag Archives: inside the foreign office

Review: Inside the Foreign Office, Part 1

“More than fifty shades of diplomacy.”

So says Britain’s Ambassador talking about the nuances of international relations in a BBC documentary about the Foreign Office, the first part of which was shown last week.

It opens just after the 2017 election, with Boris addressing the assembled ranks in the Foreign Office. Typically, he talks about the fate of the Conservative Party in front of impartial civil servants.

He talked about wanting to go to Tehran – and we all know how his dealings with the Iranians ended up for Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

The Permanent Secretary, Sir Simon MacDonald, talked about the nature of diplomacy, describing how 17th century ambassador Sir Henry Wootton “Am ambassador is an honest man sent aboard to ie for the benefit of his country.” MacDonald pointed out the triple entendre –  lying meant lazing about and sleeping around as well as not telling the truth. His modern take was that the art of diplomacy is “letting other people have your way”

Sir Simon talked about the changing status of UK – how we were the biggest, most important power before World War 1. It’s all changed since then.

We’re now in second group of countries not able to do much by themselves. So, clearly, it’s really sensible for us to be leaving an enormous collaboration of nations.

We then went to our UN mission in New York where aides were prepping Boris for talks with the Russians who had requested aid to rebuild Syria – which they have helped destroy. They discussed  various ways of how they could use that request to get rid of Assad and ensuing humanitarian access.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | Leave a comment
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarAnthony Acton 23rd Oct - 2:33pm
    Thanks Ben Rich for an article of concentrated good sense. To take a lesson from the past - Paddy's penny on income tax for our...
  • User Avatarfrankie 23rd Oct - 2:32pm
    Yes he did David, but he isn't a Labour MP, they still are and are likely to stay that way. Neither by the way is...
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 23rd Oct - 2:28pm
    David Evans That is a fine bit of interpretation and very appreciated. The aspect that really irritates is when others, as you refer to here,...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 23rd Oct - 2:27pm
    @ Richard Underhill "” the willingness of nineteen Labour MPs to endorse a Withdrawal Bill which they surely know is even more deeply flawed than...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 23rd Oct - 2:18pm
    Alex, Of course you're right voters don't move in one direction in a single bloc.... and I didn't say that. My point is the Lib...
  • User AvatarDennis Wake 23rd Oct - 2:03pm
    The Progressive Conservatives dissolved themselves in 2003 after merging with the Canadian Alliance to form the Conservative Party although the title is still used by...