Tuesday, January 03, 2017

An Ambassador Resigns

I was going to write a blog about colonic irrigation tonight, and then the UKs Ambassador to the EU, Sir Ivan Rogers resigns. Can't decide how significant a development this is. But i accept it probably gets the nod over colon management.

I don't know much about Sir Ivan Rogers, but have no reason to think of him as anything but a very good civil servant. I suspect much of the comment about him today, both positive and negative tell us more about the commenter's attitude to Brexit than any genuine view of the wisdom of Sir Ivan's resignation. I do think some of the reporting lacks perspective. Let's just stand back and consider what has actually happened.

The UK's Ambassador to the EU has stepped down in November, 10 months early? From my perch, it looks quite a wise decision. At present we are intending to invoke Article 50 to start negotiations to leave EU by end of March. We are not expecting much progress for a few months because of elections in France and Germany. I never expected much real negotiation to take place til these elections are over. Seems to me it's far better to have someone in place who will see the negotiation through as soon as possible, rather that a new Ambassador taking over just as serious negotiation begins.

A second reason why Sir Ivan may have decided to resign was the huge publicity given by the media to a comment he is supposed to have made that it may take 10 years to agree a UK/EU deal. He was supposedly reporting what the other 27 EU member states had been telling him. It's his job to report that sort of information. That's not the problem. The problem is that such an able, experience enced civil servant should not be leading the news - alongside an impression that he was very negative about the renegotiation. I can well understand why Sir Ivan thought it the right time to go.

What really matters now is that a successor is appointed quickly. We must hope that the Prime Minister can find an accomplished civil servant of relevant experience who was not dragged into the threats and scare stories that so damaged the EU referendum campaign. No-one is indespensible, not even the most talented able civil servant. Perhaps it not quite as big a story as is being made out.
My blog post on colonic irrigation will have to wait until tomorrow.

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