Boris’s FCDO Eurovision Gratitude

On Tuesday the PM paid a visit to Lancaster House for the FCDO Heads of Mission conference, alongside Ben Wallace and Liz Truss. Plenty of diplomats took to Twitter to show off the very serious topics that had been under discussion: “changing global context”, “how to better protect and promote UK interests”, “international development strategy” all among them. Word reaches Guido it wasn’t a wholly serious affair, however…

Taking to the stage for a sit-down interview in front of the best and brightest of Britain’s diplomatic core, Boris apparently had the crowd in stitches thanking them for their hard and vital diplomatic work… in securing Britain’s weekend Eurovision result, adding he could barely believe it when France gave us “douze points!”. Guido also hears that while DCMS’s Eurovision priority is helping Ukraine in any way they can to host next year’s contest, an offer to host it in the UK if they can’t has been made…

mdi-timer 19 May 2022 @ 15:47 19 May 2022 @ 15:47 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Truss Boots Out Russian Ambassador After Just 10 Minutes

Truss’s showdown with the Russian ambassador went as well as expected. According to Foreign Office sources, the ambassador arrived after being summoned by the Foreign Secretary this morning “was spouting the usual propaganda”, and shown the door after just ten minutes. The Guardian claims “Liz ended the meeting early and kicked him out. She said he should be ashamed of himself”. “Liz was having none of it. Delivered her message and showed him the door.”

mdi-timer 24 February 2022 @ 14:59 24 Feb 2022 @ 14:59 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
NEW: Foreign Office Holds “Intersex Inclusion” Event During Working Hours

Two weeks after Cabinet Office civil servants learned about the healing properties of crystals, FCDO mandarins were given an even more exciting opportunity to waste time at work. An internal memo sent to Guido shows staff were offered a series of lectures and seminars on “Trans and Intersex Inclusion“, the role of faith in policymaking, and “initiatives for the LGBT+ business community“. Most of which were held during the working day…

Presumably staff no longer have any loose ends to tie up in Afghanistan, meaning they had nothing better to do at 1pm on a Tuesday than ask questions like “has science killed God?“. The memo also claims that the FCDO is still “reviewing of its membership” of Stonewall’s Diversity Champions Programme – a review which should be unnecessary given Liz Truss has said she thinks all government departments should withdraw from it…

mdi-timer 29 November 2021 @ 10:12 29 Nov 2021 @ 10:12 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
It’s Fun to Work at the FCDO

HuffPo’s Paul Waugh has shared an absolute gem this morning doing the rounds on civil service WhatsApp groups. Apparently produced by a creative former DFID civil servant to celebrate this morning’s birth of the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office. F.C.D.O. becomes the new Y.M.C.A…

Offline celebrations include a new plaque being officially put up on the FCDO building, replacing the original sign’s classic typeface with civil-service-standard Arial.

Yuck.

mdi-timer 2 September 2020 @ 10:04 2 Sep 2020 @ 10:04 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Travel Quarantine Period To Be Cut to Ten Days

In a sign that the Government is concerned about pushback from its reimposed quarantine on the whole of Spain, The Telegraph is this morning reporting that “almost an entire working week” will soon be cut off the mandatory quarantine period – reducing the number of days to isolate for down from 14 to just 10 – if a test is conducted. Norway already has a ten day quarantine in place, with no need for a test…

Under new DfT plans being drawn up, returning tourists will be advised to get a test after just seven days in quarantine as this is now considered a long enough time for the virus to have incubated in the vast majority of cases. If they test negative they will be free to go back to normal life on day 10. A step in the right direction…

mdi-timer 28 July 2020 @ 08:44 28 Jul 2020 @ 08:44 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Foreign Office Hesitates Over Hong Kong National Security Law Pushback

Dominic Raab told the House of Commons this morning that “we are waiting for [China’s national security legislation] to be published so we can see the details and assess it.” Sources close to the Foreign Office tell Guido that as soon as there is confirmation of the wording of the law, the UK will be ready to “push back hard” against Beijing if it breaks the Joint Declaration. Later Raab released a statement saying:

“Despite the urging of the international community, Beijing has chosen not to step back from imposing this legislation. China has ignored its international obligations regarding Hong Kong. This is a grave step, which is deeply troubling.

We urgently need to see the full legislation, and will use that to determine whether there has been a breach of the Joint Declaration and what further action the UK will take.”

The Foreign Office is privately bullish about standing up to its responsibilities, yet publicly it is running on China’s timetable. While the UK waits for Beijing to publish the law they have passed, Hong Kongers already understand its gravity. Pro-democracy literature is already being torn down to avoid punishment. The UK should not wait until it is convenient for China in order to act and save the freedoms of people it has an international obligation to protect…

UPDATE: Analysis of the freshly published legislation is revealing that under the law, jury trial will be rendered inapplicable for national security related cases, and anyone seeking to overthrow or disrupt the system of one-party rule in China or Carrie Lam’s regime in Hong Kong faces a maximum punishment of life imprisonment.

Pro-democracy protests by implication appear to have been made illegal. Raab has a statement in the Commons tomorrow…

mdi-timer 30 June 2020 @ 16:32 30 Jun 2020 @ 16:32 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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