I woke up this morning feeling strangely unsettled...and realised that despite (or perhaps, because of) 30+yrs in conventional govt service, I'm now starting to question everything I thought I once knew about my country and its institutions.
Top down, our system is undemocratic - prerogative powers exercised on behalf of the Crown, unelected House of Lords, system that gives disproportionate powers to govt, elected with less than 50% vote, imbalance in powers across the Union, cozy nexus of donors, media, politicians
Populace kept distracted and entertained with never ending diet of shallow news and gossip about royals, toffs, socialites, models, sports, pop, soaps, crime, etc. Feelgood stories or trivia which gloss over the challenges and inequities which actually prevail in our society.
But getting so much worse under this govt, with its systematic efforts to attack and undermine any institutions which counter its narrative or try to hold it to account - parl't, judiciary, NGOs, human rights experts, investigative journalists, standards watchdogs, liberals, etc;
And most sickening of all, shameless posturing and co-option of supposed "patriotic" icons - flags, Churchill, WW2, Britannia, the monarchy, the army, Spirit of the Blitz, pint glasses, and invented rows with external so-called enemies - the French, the EU, the Irish;
Ignoring real threats confronting us - internal and external. Incompetent, self-serving govt at home, failing to tackle domestic challenges; posturing on global issues and our values overseas, while accepting dirty money, selling arms to dubious regimes, and cutting aid
I thought I was a fairly conventional, middle class, middle of the road, Brit - aware that the UK was not perfect, but fundamentally ok. Now, I'm much less sure, and believe a lot needs to change. Perhaps my parents were right...I am a radical after all. Anyone feel the same?

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More from @alexhallhall

5 Jan
Today I issue the second in my series of dispatches as new Ambassador at Large to the Court of St Boris (sorry, I mean, St James), addressed to the President of the Small Island Developing State which I currently represent, "Sid" for short.🧵
Excellency, I bid you greetings on the New Year, and health and happiness for our people. Following my "first impressions" dispatch on the state of the UK, in this telegram I shall identify some of the opportunities I foresee in 2022 for our relationship with this noble Kingdom.
First, trade. I believe we have an opportunity to secure a new deal on excellent terms, as the UK, facing new red tape & decline in trade with EU, is desperate (I mean, "keen") to achieve results elsewhere. More favourable than the existing EU deal, to which the UK used to belong
Read 20 tweets
3 Jan
The comments on this post are amazing...the extraordinary efforts required by civil servants and others to justify their expenses, against this cavalier use of public money. My favorite comment was by someone criticized for buying the "expensive biros"!
I spent literally hundreds of hours over my career both collating, photocopying and itemizing my own expenses, as well as poring over the claims of those I line managed, (feel guilty about this) sometimes nitpicking...in order to ensure not even a hint of fraud.
Of course, it's absolutely essential to use public money carefully. However, I once got into serious trouble with the FCDO hierarchy for pointing out that the amount of time spent on such activity and other rigorous internal paperwork also came at a cost.
Read 10 tweets
28 Dec 21
I'm quoted in this article about the decline of the FCDO saying: "The job of foreign secretary no longer necessarily goes to a minister with a long record of thinking about the Uk's strategic challenges..(cont) ..ft.com/content/422629…
"It is a top prize - one of the top cabinet posts that is given to politicians for their loyalty, or to keep them quiet, or out of the country."
Couple of other quotes in the article came from me also, uncited, including the comments about officials now self-censoring, unable to give honest advice for fear of being accused of being a "Remainer" who can't be trusted. I experienced that directly.
Read 11 tweets
24 Dec 21
Though I may have resigned from the Foreign Office, rumours of my demise as a diplomat are greatly exaggerated. Today I report as the new "Ambassador at Large" to the Court of St James: my first report is the traditional "First Impressions" despatch, titled "Yule Britannia"🧵
SUMMARY: The UK today is far removed from the "Cool Britannia" of a decade ago. Buffeted by crises and scandals, many self-inflicted, trust in the government is plummeting, even as the costs of Brexit become more apparent, and covid takes its toll on a fatigued and divided nation
ECONOMY: This year saw supply chain problems, empty grocery shelves, worker shortages, soaring fuel prices, pigs culled and crops unpicked. While covid played its part, and other countries faced problems, Brexit magnified the impact in UK, though the Government remains in denial.
Read 21 tweets
19 Dec 21
Very good analysis here on implications of Frost's departure. But what I can't imagine is how and with whom BJ replaces him whilst maintaining party unity: I call it "The Goldilocks Problem "🧵
2/ Another hardliner, or even more extreme successor to Frost will only exacerbate relations with EU [and US, if NIP threats continue], worsen business problems, and increase disillusion of even more voters about Brexit, whose results fall far short of what was promised..
3/ But a more moderate pragmatic replacement will alienate ERG rebels and stir up allegations of BJ "selling out". Too soft.
Read 7 tweets
15 Dec 21
My earlier tweets were really just limbering up for today's 🧵, dissecting Penny Mordaunt's speech at the Carter Centre in Atlanta yesterday...it's a bit all over the place, frankly, and I am afraid this is not my best effort either, but here goes... ...gov.uk/government/spe…
First: location: the Carter Center founded by Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter has a "fundamental commitment to human rights and the alleviation of human suffering; seeks to prevent and resolve conflicts, enhance freedom and democracy, and improve health"
Mordaunt makes barely a passing reference to the Carters or their work; instead focusing almost entirely on the UK & Brexit, pitching it as "a massive opportunity to anyone who believes in democracy and the power of trade as a force for good in the world."
Read 17 tweets

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