The Curmudgeon


Friday, July 15, 2016

The Ribbentrop Factor

The elevation of the ridiculous Boris Johnson from London Haystack to Imperial Haystack has elicited the expectable reactions from those who will henceforth be called upon to entertain him. The French and the Germans are shaking their heads sadly, the Spaniards think we're kidding, the Turks are standing on their dignity, the Iranians are giving us the hard stare, the Americans are sniggering at us, the Chinese are taunting us and the Ugandans are patronising us.

In fact, the Foreign Office is not what it was. The Bullingdon Club had no real interest in dealing with foreign governments; only with foreign profiteers. Now that the sniggering posh boys have given way to dead-eyed vulgarians (meritocrats, in Modern English), those foreign relations that matter will be handled by the new departments for international trade and Goodbye Euro-wogs. It's true that the former will be headed by an imbecile and the latter by a prima donna; but it does seem possible that Mad Tessie has conferred little of substance upon the Haystack except a golden opportunity to discredit himself permanently in the eyes of the world, the Great British Public and Big School.

Given that the Haystack has himself compared the EU to Hitler, perhaps I may be permitted a small Godwinism. During Hitler's early years in power, when he was aiming at relatively smooth international relations, he employed a strutting dimwit named Ribbentrop as his Foreign Minister, who made quite a name for himself at the start of the régime. When the Nazis began invading their neighbours and conquest was all that mattered, Ribbentrop was sidelined and was barely heard from again until the Nuremberg trials. Similarly, when one's idea of significant international relations consists entirely of barking orders at the wogs (David Davis) or yapping that someone else is to blame (Liam Fox), a proper Foreign Secretary is little more than a source of unnecessary trouble.


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