Nigel Farage’s Quest For UK Ambassadorship to the US: “No Vacancy”, Ferrero Rocher, An Op-Ed

Posted: 2:36 am ET
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So then, he had a party at The Ritz with lots and lots of Ferrero Rocher.

Now here he is with an op-ed saying “I’ve never thought of myself as a diplomat but I suppose in the changed world of 2016 anything is possible.”  He’s trying to make the case that he has “better relationships with Trump and his team in America than anybody in Westminster.” And in the most often repeated “people say” version from this election cycle, he writes that  “Fair minded people look at Downing Street’s constant rejections of the idea that I can help as being at best, small-minded, tribal politics and at worst potentially damaging our national interest.”  

If that’s not enough to convince the UK Government, here he is with Russia Today’s Sam Delaney on why he wants Sir Kim Darroch‘s  (@KimDarroch) job as UK Ambassador representing Her Majesty The Queen and the UK government in Washington, D.C. By the way, Ambassador Darroch is a seasoned diplomat with over three decades of diplomatic experience, in case you’re wondering.

The clip below  comes complete with an enlarged photo of Ambassador Darroch and his wife, and job interview questions for Mr. Farage, who obviously, is having the time of his life.

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Activists Missing in #Zimbabwe, Also the U.S. Ambassador Tweets About Mickey Mouse

Posted: 4:01 pm ET
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In case deleted, the tweet is here: https://cloudup.com/cVV4BmxzhOj

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Former UK Ambassador to Uzbekistan Refused Clearance to Enter the U.S. Via Visa Waiver Program

Posted: 2:24 am ET
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We’ve featured a quote from him here in 2009 (Quote: I’m actually a bad man who happens to have a limit…).  Craig Murray was the British Ambassador to Uzbekistan from August 2002 to October 2004 and Rector of the University of Dundee from 2007 to 2010.  If you don’t remember him, The Guardian’s 2004 piece, The envoy who said too much, would refresh your memory. Quick excerpt with some of his quotable lines:

“There is no point in having cocktail-party relationships with a fascist regime.” He says he advocates a new style of ambassadorship, one that is more down to earth and less stuffy. “You don’t have to be a pompous old fart to be an ambassador.”
[…]
“I joined the Foreign Office, not a monastery,” Murray explains. “I have no intention of living like a monk – not that I have anything against monks. It has been put to me that this is perhaps not what ambassadors do…”
[…]
At the Foreign Office there are some who feel Murray should have drawn a line under his battle with London, quietly returning to work, stiff upper lip intact. One FCO official suggested in his correspondence with Murray, that the ambassador should have just called the abuses “horrid”, sat down, and then toed the line. Murray replied: “As you may know I have a slight speech impediment and cannot call anything ‘howwid’.”

On September 5, the former ambassador writes in his blog that he has been refused entry clearance to the U.S. under the visa waiver program:

I have been refused entry clearance to the USA to chair the presentation of the Sam Adams Award to CIA torture whistleblower John Kiriakou and to speak at the World Beyond War conference in Washington DC. Like millions of British passport holders I have frequently visited the USA before and never been refused entry clearance under the visa waiver programme.
[…]
It is worth noting that despite the highly critical things I have published about Putin, about civil liberties in Russia and the annexation of the Crimea, I have never been refused entry to Russia. The only two countries that have ever refused me entry clearance are Uzbekistan and the USA. What does that tell you?
[…]
I have no criminal record, no connection to drugs or terrorism, have a return ticket, hotel booking and sufficient funds. I have a passport from a visa waiver country and have visited the USA frquently before during 38 years and never overstayed.

Below from US Embassy London’s Visa Waiver page:

Citizens of the United Kingdom, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium Brunei, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein,Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Korea, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Taiwan (passport must have been issued on or after December 29, 2008 and contain a National ID number) holding a valid, full validity e-passport with an electronic chip who are traveling 

  • for business, pleasure or transit for less than 90 days. Visa-free travel does not include those who plan to study, work or remain in the United States for more than 90 days;
  • are not ineligible to receive a visa under U.S. visa law. Travelers who have been arrested, even if the arrest did not result in a criminal conviction, those with criminal records, (the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act does not apply to U.S. visa law), certain serious communicable illnesses, those who have been refused admission into, or have been deported from, the United States, or have previously overstayed on the VWP are not eligible to travel visa free under the Visa Waiver Program.

Plus, if entering the United States by air or sea are:

    • holding a return or onward ticket. If traveling on an electronic ticket, a copy of the itinerary must be carried for presentation to U.S. immigration at the port of entry. Note: Travelers with onward tickets terminating in Mexico, Canada, Bermuda or the Caribbean Islands must be legal permanent residents of these areas;
    • entering the United States aboard an air or sea carrier that has agreed to participate in the program. This includes aircraft of a U.S. corporation that has entered into an agreement with the Department of Homeland Security to carry passengers under the Visa Waiver Program. Note: Other private or official aircraft or vessels do not meet this requirement; and
    • have received travel authorization under ESTA;

 

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Post-Brexit Britain: Cat Wars on Downing Street, Send Help!

Posted: 5:04 am ET
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The last time we heard from Palmerston, the Chief Mouser  at Whitehall (@DiploMog), he was saying goodbye to Philip Hammond and waiting for his new boss, Boris Johnson.  Like any good public servant, he has a second Twitter account , the unofficial version, by the way.

It turned out that Palmerston and Larry the Cat of 10 Downing Street had a nasty encounter; well, a series of nasty encounters now. And there’s also new cat in the block. Take a look!

 

In real life, this isn’t funny. Photo journalist @PoliticalPics has documented the cat fights on Twitter and he is worried that without intervention, these cats are going to “kill each other.” These cats were adopted from Battersea Dogs and Cats home.  Larry was adopted in 2011 and Palmerston earlier this year. This past week, Gladstone  joined the crew. We hope these are not just PR cats and somebody is responsible for them.  Tweet to @SMcDonaldFCO and .

 

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UK Appoints “Sly Fox” #BoJo as New Foreign Secretary, Reactions From @Number10Cat and Others

Posted: 3:34 am ET
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Here’s the man of the hour:

#BoJo has a long history of saying, well, undiplomatic things. He called George W. Bush “a cross-eyed Texan warmonger, unelected, inarticulate, who epitomizes the arrogance of American foreign policy.” Da Donald? “The only reason I wouldn’t visit some parts of New York is the real risk of meeting Donald Trump.” Read on.

Then there’s this one about his visit to Iraq in January 2015.

Perhaps it’s time for the FCO to join Foreign Service Problems (@FS_Problems), Canadian Foreign Service Problems (@cdnfsproblems) and Gifplomacy (though no longer updated by the French dips)?

Whitehall’s Chief Mouser, Palmerton (@DiploMog) did exercise appropriate restraint at the announcement, but Number 10’s Larry the Cat was pretty harsh:

Meanwhile —

This video via the BBC profiling BoJo is quite interesting and dare we say it … entertaining. The “sly fox” masquerading as a teddy bear. Have a look.

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U.S. Embassy Juba: 47 Troops Ordered to South Sudan, 130 Pre-Positioned in Djibouti

Posted: 2:19 am PT
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On July 13, President Obama informed Congress of the deployment of U.S. Armed Forces personnel to the U.S. Embassy in Juba, South Sudan.

In response to the deteriorating security situation in South Sudan, I have ordered the deployment of additional U.S. Armed Forces personnel to South Sudan to support the security of U.S. personnel, and our Embassy in Juba. The first of these additional personnel, approximately 47 individuals, arrived in South Sudan on July 12, 2016, supported by military aircraft. Although equipped for combat, these additional personnel are deployed for the purpose of protecting U.S. citizens and property. These deployed personnel will remain in South Sudan until the security situation becomes such that their presence is no longer needed. Additional U.S. Armed Forces, including approximately 130 military personnel currently pre-positioned in Djibouti, are prepared to provide support, as necessary, for the security of U.S. citizens and property, including our Embassy, in South Sudan.

On July 13, Embassy Juba also announced two charter flights that will depart Juba for Entebbe, Uganda on Thursday, July 14. Passengers are expected to make onward travel plans themselves. A security message issued previously notes that “seating is very limited”  and that the mission “cannot guarantee availability.”  Passengers are limited to one piece of luggage (20 kg/45 lbs) each.  Pets are not included in the charter flights.  Passengers who are not documented with a valid U.S. passport “will likely not be considered for boarding.”

 

Germany and the EU have completed the evacuation of its citizens on July 13.  The UK and India are in the process of also evacuating their citizens from South Sudan.

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British Diplomats of the Future — More Like ’24’ or ‘Spooks’? Read ‘Future FCO’ Report

Posted: 9:31 am PT
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This is an interesting read; may require registration/subscription via ft.com:

Last year, there was a discussion at Chathamhouse on 21st Century Diplomats: The Changing Role of British Diplomats. Below is an excerpt from Ambassador Tom Fletcher’s talk:

I recently put in a very audacious and cheeky bid for a senior position in the Foreign Office and part of my application was to say, I think my age may be a problem. Up front, I think my age is a problem, I think I’m too old for the job. My point was that in so many of the countries that we’re now trying to influence, and this was one of them, as one of the bigger emerging economies, the people that we most need to get to are actually much younger than me. So we need to reflect on that as we work out how to engage with those new groups.
[…]
Diplomats have always been told they’re about to go out of business and we have always found ways to evolve. It’s a Darwinian profession and we have found ways to move forward and use new tools and that’s what we’re going to do in this phase. The basic qualities of a diplomat through that period, I would argue, haven’t really changed that much either. I’ve been writing recently about the history of diplomacy and consistently find that the people who make good diplomats tend to have a certain amount of courage, tend to have a certain amount of tact and can probably eat anything. That will be the case for diplomats in 100 years’ time as it was for diplomats 200 years ago and beyond.
[…]
The scientists tell us that the change that we’ll see in the next century is equivalent in sociological terms to the change we’ve seen in the last 43 centuries. So imagine that’s like going from the cave painting to the atom bomb in three generations of diplomats. This change as we’re seeing in all sorts of industries is disruptive. It is going to put a lot of businesses out of business. It’s going to put a lot of states out of business, though not I would argue states altogether. It’s going to put a lot of ideas out of business and for all of us who care about diplomacy, we have to make sure that we’re not one of those businesses that is disrupted.

The FCO has just released the Future FCO report by Ambassador Fletcher. Give it a read below or read here (PDF) to see what’s in store for the cousins across the pond.

The Future FCO report notes that the skills mix required to deliver successful diplomacy is changing. In 2020 and beyond, it will need to retain and bolster the FCO’s traditional strengths: geographical and multilateral expertise; languages; policy-making; networking, influencing and negotiating. By 2020, the FCO will also need to build or strengthen the following skills: Programme; open source data; digital diplomacy; stabilisation and mediation, particularly in volatile and/or ungoverned space; smarter use of cross-Whitehall resource, including financial, economic, diplomatic, intelligence and legal measures (as pioneered by the ‘full spectrum’ approach on security issues); working with business and non-state actors.

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UK Foreign Office’s Top 10 Weirdest Consular Calls — Bacon, Butlers and Spanish Nudists

Posted: 1:48 am ET
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We are a huge fan of the UKFCO’s annual report on consular requests from British citizens overseas.   We kept waiting for the State Department to release it own report.  (See UKFCO: Straight Talk on Consular Work, and Consuls Don’t Do Chicken Coops, All right? and British Foreign Service Tackles Bizarre Requests: Monkey, Tattoo, Online Love and More).

On April 7, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office released the top ten weirdest consular calls it received this past year.  Not quite as memorable as the listicle that the former Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs once cited when he gave a speech on the role of the British consular service:

I have to say that we are not the people to turn to:

  • if you can’t find your false teeth, 
  • if your sat nav is broken and you need directions, 
  • if you are unhappy with your plastic surgery
  • if your jam won’t set, if you are looking for a dog-minder while you are on holiday, 
  • if your livestock need checking on, 
  • if you would like advice about the weather, 
  • or if you want someone to throw a coin into the Trevi fountain for you because you forgot while you were on holiday and you want your marriage to succeed.
  • And our commitment to good relations with our neighbours does not, I am afraid, extend to translating ‘I love you’ into Hungarian, as we were asked to do by one love-struck British tourist. There are easier ways to find a translation.

The list below seems pretty tame:

UK Foreign Office’s Top 10 Weirdest Consular Calls — Bacon, Butlers and Spanish Nudists via fco.gov.uk.

Confused callers looked to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) for advice on bizarre issues ranging from where to buy English bacon in Europe, how to recruit a butler in Lebanon and how to avoid nudists in southern Spain, it has been revealed.

The FCO has released details of the ten weirdest consular calls it has received in the past year, as a reminder to the public that they should only look to use its services for genuine emergencies.

The calls included:

  • a man planning to move to Spain who was worried he would encounter nudists walking through the streets
  • a homesick expat asking where he could buy English bacon
  • a lady in Lebanon looking for help to recruit an English butler
  • a holidaymaker trying to find Travel Advice for a visit to Coventry
  • a European filmmaker looking for an English pensioner to play a part in his new film
  • a woman who was disappointed the British Embassy has not sent someone to give her a tour of St. Petersburg on her arrival in Russia
  • a British man asking for assistance to get illegal employment in Singapore
  • a mother asked for the contact details of a young British YouTuber, as her son was a fan of his Minecraft videos
  • a confused businessman looking for information on the construction of plug sockets
  • a man in South Korea asking what he could do with his old pound notes

Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister James Duddridge said:

Our consular staff are a helpful bunch and do an amazing job helping out Brits in trouble around the world – but it is important that people remember they are there to help with genuine emergencies and not as an alternative to directory enquiries.

Every minute they spend handling a call requesting advice on butlers or nudists is time taken away from dealing with life and death cases, so I urge the public to think before picking up the phone.

Latest FCO figures show that over the last year almost half a million calls were made to its consular service –which provides emergency help to Britons in trouble overseas.

The vast majority were from people with genuine requests and the FCO assisted with numerous cases, helping 3,250 Brits who were hospitalised, 4,770 who were arrested, and the families of 3,670 who died overseas. Almost 38,000 replacement travel documents were issued.

FCO staff are able to support Brits abroad in many ways – including arranging to visit Brits in hospital or in prison, advising on how to transfer money and helping those caught up in crisis situations. However, recent research* revealed that almost three quarters of Brits (74%) thought the FCO could get them out of jail if they were arrested, almost a quarter (22%) thought the FCO could arrange for them to get home if they lost their ticket and 15% presumed the FCO would lend them money if theirs was lost or stolen.

 

Related post:

How many spring breakers drink too much and fall off hotel balconies? #SpringBreakingBadly (April 1, 2016)

 

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Turkey Warns UK Diplomat Over Selfie, Summons German Diplomat Over #ErdowieErdowoErdogan Video

Posted: 3:34 am ET
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The British Consul-General to Istanbul Leigh Turner (@LeighTurnerFCO) tweeted these on March 25:

 

Apparently, that selfie with Cumhuriyet journalist Can Dundar did not sit well with Turkey’s President Recep Tayipp Erdoğan:

 

And then there’s this:

According to the Guardian, Germany’s ambassador to Turkey, Martin Erdmann, was summoned to the foreign ministry in Ankara last week and asked to justify the contents of the short video made by Extra 3, the popular satirical television program.  “We demanded that the programme be deleted,” a Turkish diplomat told Agence France-Presse on condition of anonymity.”

The video is still online, now has English and Turkish subtitles, and over 2.5 million hits on YouTube. Newsweek reported on Tuesday that the song’s title and melody are inspired by German pop star Nena’s 1984 love song “Irgendwie, Irgendwo, Irgendwann” (Anyhow, Anywhere, Anytime). The rewritten lyrics in English is available here, but you don’t need German to get this:

 

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Best Holiday Hits From the British Consulate General in New York (Videos)

Posted: 2:49 pm EDT
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These are fantastic productions! The videos are not focused on a principal officer or a couple but includes the mission staffers, who all look like they’re having  a great time.  Perhaps more importantly, the videos are used not just to send holiday greetings but also as a reminder of accomplishments throughout the year. In at least three of them, the videos were also use to plug a charity; for instance, in 2012, to support the victims of Superstorm Sandy.  There is purpose beyond just having a video out there, and they’re all creative and inspired!

 

Published on Dec 21, 2015

The British Consulate General in New York wishes you a very happy holiday season and a GREAT 2016. We hope you enjoy this affectionate tribute to Adele’s “Hello”. The video is dedicated to the memory of our colleague and friend Stephanie Ruley. We hope you will consider making a donation to the Brain Aneurysm Foundation at http://www.youcaring.com/stephandholly

 

Published on Dec 19, 2014

The British Consulate in New York wishes you a very happy holiday season and a GREAT 2015. This adaptation of “Christmas Don’t Be Late” celebrates everything we’ve done this year with our wonderful partners and friends.

 

Published on Dec 17, 2013

The British Consulate General New York remakes the music video for Wham!’s “Last Christmas”. If you enjoyed this video, please consider a donation to the Red Cross. http://www.redcross.org/ny/new-york/
Watch the original here to compare: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8gmAR…

 

Published on Dec 7, 2012

If you enjoyed this video, please consider a donation to the American Red Cross to support victims of Superstorm Sandy: http://www.nyredcross.org/

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