UK Diplomacy – Scotsman Article – 17 February 2022


Bouyed by new found British exceptionalism and driven by past tales of glory, Ministers have sought to display the nations new found mettle on the international stage. Deftly forgetting the ignominious failures on trade deals for the New Global Trading Empire, they’ve embarked on major international diplomacy. What a joke? 

The latest gaffe’s the Defence Secretary making comparisons on Ukraine with Munich. That’s just a “No No” when so many millions died for Mother Russia in World War 2. Unintended it may have been but it was ignorant, insensitive and a total failure in diplomacy all the same. Foreign Office Mandarins no doubt had their head in their hands. 

The Foreign Secretary was equally out of her depth in Moscow. What did she expect going there to lecture them. Instead, she looked forlorn as Putins bruiser laid into her. It’s hard to see what the strategy was? It wasn’t as if she went with proposals for a settlement that President Macron had done. It was a dialogue of the deaf, as the Russians put it. 

When there was a need for a co-ordinated European front, the UK preferred to go it alone, perhaps driven through necessity as relations are estranged with former colleagues. But the idea that Britain could lecture Russia was nonsensical and grandstanding that came unstuck. Truss neither looked commanding nor achieved anything. It may have played to the rump support of this supercharged New Britain but more widely it looked hapless and she hopeless. Even the supposed special relationship with the USA has been exposed. Biden does as Biden wants and without a by your leave to Britain.  

But the rot starts at the top. The image of Boris Johnson descending the steps of a plane in Moscow was eerily reminiscent of Trump. Possessing neither class nor gravitas, his coat as with his American counterpart looking too big and with a lumbering gait. 

There was just no presence, as you get from those who just have it, and he and his team most certainly don’t possess it. You can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear.