With Johnson’s foolish gaffe about a British woman held in Iran and development secretary Priti Patel’s busman’s holiday in Israel, it seems the UK is losing its touch
A lot of successful diplomacy is about ambiguity, nuance, and turning blind eyes. So is a lot of failed diplomacy: when the ambiguity is not consensual, the nuance is missing, and mistakes or misjudgments are exposed to the cold hard glare of reality. Accidents, of course, happen, but the latest misadventures look embarrassingly avoidable.
The international development secretary’s busman’s holiday in Israel is the first problem. It is hard to believe that anyone, least of all Priti Patel herself, would think that combining a holiday with – it now turns out – 12, yes, 12 professional meetings was a particularly good idea.