I know you are all shocked at the thought of Boris Johnson, BoJo to the Daily Mail, representing the United Kingdom at the grandest of Ferrero Rocher diplomatic soirées (and even those grand enough not to dream of offering Ferrero Rocher) as our Foreign Secretary. But do not trouble yourselves – a very simple solution presents itself.
We have a little time in hand before the traditional beginning of the diplomatic season, with the opening of the United Nations General Assembly, this year on Tuesday 13th September.
He already knows which knife and fork to use, and he almost certainly knows what he should do on most social occasions. Was he removed from his nanny’s apron strings too soon or, alternatively, were they so constricting that he vowed to play the enfant terrible to the end of his days?
At any rate, the first phase of rebranding should, I suggest, be putting Our Boris into the kind but firm hands of Rosemary Shrager and the team at Eggleston Hall. No sloping off to the pub at night, now. Two weeks boot camp here should suffice.
The second phase would, of course, be in Switzerland, at the last surviving finishing school, now open to men, which (for a price) will organise bespoke training.
‘We’re not training them to be good wives, but to be people who can communicate… in a polite and meaningful manner.’
…If they’re dealing with a lot of foreign clients, they felt, “If I know more about their customs I can feel more comfortable and have better communication with them.”’
Néri says that we have lost the boundaries between public and private behaviour, but that she can see the pendulum swinging back.
The third phase will be undertaken by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office itself. The original obstacle course of the country house weekend which potential candidates were put through is (sadly?) long in the past. But the mandarins could take over Dorneywood for a final week of preparing Boris Johnson for the role: tutors could come to a captive pupil.
And the last act of transformation can safely be left to the building itself: