Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Friday, December 14, 2007

Speaking truth to apathy

An excellent if rather dispiriting post from Craig Murray all about the dwindling level of support available to Brits abroad from their embassies. Two brief samples:

I would be the last to argue that British people abroad are always deserving.......I once tried to go to the aid at midnight of a British citizen who had been arrested in Poznan, Poland. He was accused of sexual assault on a girl in the Poznan Hotel.

He worked for a big name merchant bank in London. After speaking to the Polish police and persuading them to release his arms, which were handcuffed behind his back, I asked him what had happened. He replied:
“Listen here you little shit. I earn more than a month than you’ll see in a lifetime. Now get me out of here, or I’ll make sure it’s the end of your career.”
I motioned to the police to lock him up again. Sadly I believe he did eventually succeed in buying his way out of prosecution.


A recently retired senior diplomat, Carne Ross, in his book “Independent Diplomat” says the FCO has “A culture of amorality”. I would put the same point another way – most FCO employees just don’t care. This came home to me most strongly in the FCO when I failed to persuade an officer in our Embassy in Switzerland to leave a dinner party and open up the Embassy at night to quickly issue an emergency passport to a mother whose daughter was in intensive care in Manchester after a car crash. The passport was given the next day, and the woman reached the hospital less than an hour after her daughter died.


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