Monday, April 26, 2010

ZenTiger UK Foreign Office on diplomacy

This story is funny, ironic, insulting, surprising and unsurprising all in one. I'm speaking of the UK Foreign Office managing to create a fairly extensive document with suggestions for the upcoming Papal visit including activities like opening an abortion clinic, and then circulate it widely. What a bunch of idiots.

It's forced the Foreign Office to apologise, and to chastise the people involved.

A veil of secrecy has descended though as they say it's mainly just one person taking the heat (in spite of the fact it was a team of people) and they have denied anyone senior was involved ('just a bunch of kids' working for them).

The irony of hiding the culprit(s) and not firing him (them) is obvious, and in spite of the gravity of the insult, it's less than the gravity of the history that inspired it, however misplaced.

In that regard, the Vatican is not really in a position to complain, having also harbored miscreants that betrayed the bounds of their office, with far worse repercussions. Saying little is the proper response.

Indeed, the response from the Vatican was thus:
Last night Father Federico Lombardi, the Pope's spokesman, told The Mail on Sunday: 'I am aware that the Foreign Office has made a statement on this matter and I am aware of the contents of the memo.

'We are not saying anything else as there is no need to ruin the good relations between the British Government and the Vatican.'

The leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, Archbishop Vincent Nichols, also tried to downplay the episode.

His spokesman said: 'This doesn't reflect the constructive discussions we have had with Government officials. There has been good co-operation and collaboration in the joint planning of the papal visit which both we and the Government look forward to.'
I note though that other news sources are doing their best to play up the potential for an official argument. I guess that's what news sources do - play it up and see if they can start another fire.

In a climate where people are clamoring to arrest and jail the Pope on his UK visit, getting this message from the Foreign Office probably doesn't engender much confidence that the government is able to control the mobs. There are many reasons for the Pope to cancel his visit, but I sincerely hope he presses ahead and faces the crisis head on. He's working hard on this issue, if only people will watch and listen.

Read more: The UK Foreign Office and the art of diplomacy

Update: The poor chap has been outed, but the same article confirms that the memo doesn't change the plans for the Pope's visit: Dark Farces

2 comment(s):

Angus said...

Melanie Phillips has a post about this too:

Quote 1 -
"It shows how flippancy and shallowness coexist with a brutalised arrogance. Among those who purport to be the most liberal, educated and enlightened, minds are actually closed and display a vicious illiberalism and gross absence of respect for other points of view, particularly mainstream European religious faiths."

MK said...

Melanie sums it up pretty well Angus.

It's something few people know about the left.

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