July 14, 2019


How do we fix the fallout from the never-ending Kim Darroch affair? Put him in the House of Lords (Denis MacShane, 7/14/19, The Independent)

Darroch was calm, professional and much liked by journalists. He was completely straight and "did friendly" much better than FCO Old Etonian or Wykehamist effortless superiority. Over the years in his company, I never heard him say anything party political. He served the government of the day to the best of his ability,

He was then our man in Brussels after a stint as Blair's No 10 Europe adviser in the later years, when the Blair star in Europe dimmed after Iraq and his opportunistic pledge of a referendum on the EU constitution - the first promise by a British prime minister to go down the road of a populist plebiscite on Europe.

Following that, he was called back by David Cameron to be national security adviser, again one of the most sensitive top government jobs, reserved for the safest of safe hands, his last posting was Washington.

This is the Foreign Office's most prestigious overseas embassy job and only goes to the best diplomat of his generation. His reports back to the FCO in 2017 with the actually rather obvious remarks about President Trump would have been read by the then foreign secretary, Johnson, in his red box of papers taken home every night. His political team would have seen them too, as well as political aides in Downing Street.

It is no problem to photocopy such documents and the hopes that Scotland Yard can find an email trail to reveal the leaker through its recently launched investigation are not realistic. Nor are the attempts to class reporting on the leaks as a "criminal matter", as Neil Basu, assistant commissioner, suggested on Saturday to much criticism.  

No 10, and more broadly the British state establishment, certainly owe Sir Kim. His prompt resignation when Johnson failed to support him stopped the story dead. The media firestorm kept alive by President Trump's continuing attacks on Darroch relegated the Tory leadership contest off all front pages until Johnson refused to back Darroch in his ITV debate with Jeremy Hunt. He has behaved with nothing but honour and dignity since.

Putting him in the Lords would send a signal to President Trump that his coarse, bullying vulgarity in attacking Darroch has had no impact on the government and British public opinion. Rather the opposite. Darroch would be seen as having been rewarded and honoured by Britain.

Posted by at July 14, 2019 11:18 AM