Dear Mr Diplomat

by scotslawstudent

Sally said that you called me fat

You may have heard that Wikileaks published some (secret) diplomatic cables recently and apparently this is the biggest thing to ever happen. It might just be my youth talking but to me it looks a lot like when the two popular girls in school have a fall out and one girl tells the class all the mean things that the other person has been saying and the first girl hits back by saying that the other girl’s a slut. I’m not even going to bother talking about if we should kill Julian Assange or if Wikileaks is doing Al Qaeda’s work. All I’m going to say about that is I like my privacy as much as anyone but if you think people should be assassinated for revealing your interoffice mail you think far too much of yourself.

I’m saying it looks really stupid from where I’m sitting. This is really not a big deal in grown up terms. Slap some sense into your stupid diplomats (eg. the ones examining Canadian TV for anti-American propaganda) about the sort of thing you should put in memos and get on with your lives. Don’t you know there’s a war on? Soldiers are risking their lives while our diplomats run about complaining about their privacy and getting websites shut down. Frankly, get some perspective here.

Tips for the future

I’m going to reveal some super secret advice here. I’m not a lawyer, and I may not ever be a lawyer but I like to think I have a reasonable head on my shoulders and I’m repeating a statement I’ve heard from practicing lawyers, my mum (if you can’t say anything nice…), friends, civil society and various other human beings quite often.

Don’t write anything down that you would not be comfortable having read out in public

That’s it. It’s so obvious and simple. We should have learned this in primary school — if you write a note about someone it’s not inconceivable that they might, somehow, eventually get to see the note. The sensible thing, if you are (for example) employed by your country to represent and defend your national interests overseas, is to not write down every little remark that comes into your head. Mr Diplomat, how exactly is reporting that Kim Jon Il is a “flabby old chap” supposed to help you do your job?

I don’t ask a lot of my diplomatic staff — you can eat and drink heavily at public expense, abuse diplomatic immunity and do just enough work to get your pension if you really want to. I really only draw the line at repeating insults aimed at the leader of an aggressive nuclear power in official communiqués simply because you don’t think anyone else will read it.

Get over yourselves; you’re only diplomats. Don’t you have a job to do?

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