Rod Liddle

My World Cup plea to Putin | 2 July 2018

My World Cup plea to Putin | 2 July 2018
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Here is a letter which I sent today to the Russian Embassy. Please keep your fingers crossed for me.

To: His Excellency Alexander Vladimirovich Yakovenko

Dear Mr Yakovenko,

I hope you are well.

As you are aware, the World Cup is in progress and both of our sides are doing unexpectedly well in what has been an exciting and extremely enjoyable tournament.

You are probably also aware that should England, by some miracle, reach the final, no dignitaries from my country will be present, as would normally be the case. They have effectively boycotted the event. No Prime Minister, no member of the cabinet, no Royals – not even the really useless ones, such as Edward or that Kent woman. This is churlish and mean-spirited of my government and I feel a little ashamed.

So, I would like to offer myself as the Official UK Ambassador to the World Cup Final, assuming we’re in it. I am a journalist renowned in this country for his tact and diplomacy in all matters. I scrub up well, wear a suit and tie and have some experience of making polite small-talk to foreigners – and I would drink alcohol only in moderation. I think I would be a companionable and informative guest at your President’s table for the pre match drinks and snacks. I know, of course, that there are several issues which divide my country and yours. But, frankly, none of them particularly vex me, least of all that alleged homophobia business. I would also be proud to wear my “Anglo-Soviet Friendship” badge, which I bought on a CND march in 1983.

I am a simple man and would not require the usual hoop-de-doodle afforded to visiting world leaders. It is not necessary for your President to present me with flowers, for example. Just a taxi from the airport and the occasional flagon of “kvass” will keep me happy.

If you are agreeable I think this suggestion of mine could only build bridges between our two regretfully estranged nations. My bag is packed, my passport in order. Please forward this request to Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, along with my personal best wishes,


Roderick Liddle