Sadly all of this has become grist to the mill not only of the leadership election itself but also to the plotting about who will get what jobs afterwards. So, perhaps a simple guide to what Kim Darroch should have been doing:
Boris Johnson is under pressure over his role in Sir Kim Darroch’s resignation as British ambassador to Washington, with critics accusing the likely next prime minister of throwing the envoy “under the bus”. In a shock move which prompted the senior civil servant at the Foreign Office to call an all-staff meeting to reassure “shaken” diplomats, Darroch announced on Wednesday he could no longer continue in his role following a leak of official cables in which he criticised Donald Trump.
The Guardian understands that he concluded he could not go on after he watched Tuesday’s Conservative leadership TV debate, where Johnson repeatedly dodged questions about whether he would sack the ambassador if he became PM.
The original issue. Darroch telling London what he thought of Trump and his court, in unrestrained tones, is what he’s there for as Ambassador in the first place. Given the cheapness of a phone call it’s not about telling the Americans what we think of them any more. It’s doing the thing that can only be done locally, finding out what the local peeps are doing, thinking, how they work.
If that conclusion is that they don’t think nor work – harsh but if that’s the opinion – then London wants to know about it. From someone London trusts and has sent there to find this out.
Darroch was doing the ambassador’s job, that’s all.
Which is fine. But when it all becomes public then that’s that. He can no longer continue to do that work. So, he’s got to go. For he’s supposed to – ahem – be diplomatic. Which means lying through your teeth about the table manners and intelligence of the locals to the locals while telling home that yes, they really do just piss in a pot at the side of the dining table. Just don’t get caught by the locals telling the truth.
And if you do get caught actually doing your job then you’ve got to go.