Douglas Carswell

04 JAN 2017

Ivan the Terrible

Sir Ivan Rogers quit as Britain's ambassador to Brussels yesterday. Apparently he's upset that the prime minister doesn't do what he tells her. Sorry, but who's in charge here?

Sir Ivan had a big hand in David Cameron's EU "renegotiation". A staunch Europhile, he reportedly blocked even the tiny changes suggested by the last PM's team. So I suppose we Leavers should be grateful: Sir Ivan unwittingly helped as win.

Unlike David Cameron, though, Sir Ivan didn't resign after losing the referendum. Instead, he has used his perch as Britain's champion in Brussels to talk Britain down.

For all his faults, David Cameron knew that his mandate ultimately came from the people. Officials, however, often have no such awareness.

The FCO, in particular, seems to pursue its own institutional agenda. That's deeply problematic – not just because it doesn't reflect what voters want, but because it prevents effective diplomacy.

British diplomats were blindsided by both Brexit and Trump because they never thought either could happen. Their political preferences clouded their strategic vision.

Officials need to buy into Brexit, whatever their personal beliefs. Those who can't should follow Sir Ivan's belated lead.

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