Johnson’s shameful stint as Foreign Secretary will cast a shadow over British diplomacy for years to comeby Arthur Snell / July 9, 2018 / Leave a comment
I can date the first time I became really aware of Boris Johnson with reasonable accuracy. It would have to be the first quarter of 2002. I was a junior diplomat on a posting in Abuja, Nigeria’s strangely artificial capital, and the Ministry of Finance was my regular beat. There, I would attempt to cultivate Nigerian officials to get a fuller understanding of their attitude to debt repayment negotiations that seemed important at the time. One such contact, like many Nigerian senior officials a graduate of Britain’s finest universities, expressed a liking for the sharp wit of the British press and thus we developed a little system wherein I picked up old copies of the UK newspapers—valuable currency in those pre-Internet days—that reached us easily at the High Commission but were hard to come by in Abuja and dropped them off at his office.
It must have been early February: I had not seen Ben for a few days and dropped into his office. The usual smiles and warmth that greeted my arrival were replaced with a certain froideur. The little sheaf of scavenged Guardiansand Daily Telegraphs met with a grunt, rather than gratitude. Ben pulled out a recent TelegraphI’d given him and waved a page in front of me.