Wednesday, December 21, 2005

British "Humour" - III

Edward Lucas, on the diplomatic gaffe committed by Britain's ambassador to Poland, Charles Crawford:
...what infuriated some Poles was his characterisation of the new member states as ungratefully rude for the fact that Britain, by opening its labour markets, had created “more jobs for Poles in the past year than the Polish Government.”

Ouch. That prompted a storm of protest in Poland, where short-term emigration to Britain is a sensitive subject. Polish physicists may earn good money fixing bathroom taps and laptops for the British middle-classes, but that doesn’t mean that they like it. I sometimes wonder how I would feel if I had to subsidise my work as a journalist at The Economist by spending my holidays picking mushrooms in Poland.

The Polish foreign ministry, unamused, summoned Mr Crawford for a chat.

But Mr Crawford has nothing to apologise for. Indeed, as a British taxpayer, I am rather proud of him. I want my country’s diplomats to have the freedom to be candid and caustic. I’d be even happier if the government listened more and leaked less. But that’s not Mr Crawford’s fault.

See also:
British Humour
British "Humour" - II
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