Guido’s co-conspirators on the diplomatic circuit tell him that the Baroness is battling to hold on to her position. She’s been lobbying Commonwealth envoys, stressing she is a reformed woman. She has told friends that she believes former Antigua High Commissioner to London, Sir Ronald Sanders has been leading the campaign against her because he lost to her in the last election to be the new Secretary General. In reality many African nations are irritated by her, the “white Commonwealth” nations including Canada and Australia have strong reservations and she has lost the confidence of Downing Street and the Department for International Development. In short, she is running out of runway and heading for a crash landing. The talk over the canapes on the diplomatic cocktail party circuit is that we can expect she will be gone before the next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), which will be held in London the year after next.
Guido hears that The Queen is concerned that the boat is being rocked and could have a negative effect on the organisation. So how will the Baroness go?
She won’t resign soon. Temperamentally she will want to try and tough things out for as long as possible, in any event if the Baroness resigned immediately, she would look guilty. She won’t want that and for appearances sake and the reputation of the Commonwealth that is unlikely. When she does resign a committee of five high commissioners will have to look after the secretariat until a successor is chosen. Under an informal convention any successor – when it comes to that – will have to be from the Caribbean.
She sacked or tried to sack some 40 people within a few days of taking office. This means she is very unpopular with her secretariat staff. She is trying to lock down bad publicity and staff have been warned that anyone leaking will be fired. Morale is not high.