Being a serious former Ambassador Oliver Miles manages to give the lame FCO diplo-blogging genre the thrashing it richly deserves AND do so in an elegant Guardian article:
Why do diplomats (and Whitaker’s article quotes some examples from Americans as well as the British) feel the need to let it all hang out?
The reason is simple. The Miliband regime in the Foreign Office, obsessed with "process", "image", and to be blunt anything trendy, encouraged the idea that running a blog was a good career move.
The point is that under the way our democracy functions British diplomats can’t work like that. Nor do they. Anything close to being critical or tendentious or spikey or provocative is likely to annoy either a host government or HQ or both.
Just say a diplomat posted a blog entry politely speculating on the wisdom of current Climate Change or Middle East policy. Imagine the scenes in Parliament:
"The Secretary of State apparently can not persuade even his own senior officials of the wisdom of this policy! Why should we take any notice of him?"
Which is why the FCO blogs are a friendly but bland product, making no serious contribution to the ‘global foreign policy debate’.
This angry piece by Melanie Philips shows what happens when a busily blogging Ambassador starts to be rather less than bland in a policy area of huge sensitivity, such as the Middle East.
I agree with Oliver:
Let’s hope William Hague will blow the whistle. There is a good Yorkshire saying: Hear all, see all, say now’t.
Although one might gracelessly quibble with the wayward apostrophe in now’t?