We’re told that the government has spent $16 million – perhaps £12 million – today on an apartment in New York for the Brexit trade negotiator we’re going to need in the future. This is of course way beyond foolish.
No, not the buying of an apartment, but the description of this as being for the trade negotiator and it being an apartment. It’s neither.
The government has spent $15.9m (£12m) on a luxury apartment in New York for a British diplomat working to negotiate trade deals with the US. The seven-bedroom flat in the 50 United Nations Plaza will house the British consul general in New York. Boasting panoramic views, the flat occupies the whole 38th-floor, according to the Guardian, which first reported the story. The Foreign Office said it had “secured the best possible deal”. The apartment “will help promote the UK in the commercial capital of our largest export market for years to come”, it said. The consul general, who will live in the penthouse with his immediate family, is also the UK’s trade commissioner for North America.
Consuls don’t only deal with trade, they also are responsible for those of our drunks who lose their passports there. Plus all that other stuff about visas and so on. The Consul General is the bloke – or bird – in charge of all of this in one specific location.
Secondly, while the family will indeed live in a pretty spiffy penthouse to say it’s for “them” is like saying that the ambassador lives in the Embassy. Or that Brenda occupies Bucks House. There are rather a lot of rooms used for doing other things. You know, pinning medals on people (yes, something a consul general might do or at least organise, an MBE for some expat say) and pouring drinks into foreigners.
Great Uncle Christopher had a pretty spiffy house on Montserrat as Governor. Of which about one third was “family” the rest official.
An accurate reports would say that the consulate general of the UK in New York will has bought a $16 million apartment. Which is rather different, no?