James Forsyth

What’s with the Wiki-fuss?

What's with the Wiki-fuss?
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The whole Wikileaks scandal reminds me of a recent conversation I had, at his request, with a member of a foreign diplomatic service. The country he represented is a long-standing British ally and I saw no harm in talking to him as I didn’t say anything which I hadn’t said, or wouldn’t say, in print.

Most of the chat was the usual stuff: what are Cameron’s prospects, what does he believe, will the Lib Dems last out five years, who are the real powers in Downing Street, what will happen to Andy Coulson, who are the new MPs worth watching etc. I suspect that what we discussed, along with many other conversations this man will have had, will have shaped the analysis he sent back.

Afterwards, I remember thinking whether there was anything newsworthy about the conversation. But the idea that an allied government is interested in the political dynamics in Britain hardly struck me as scandalous.

Now the Wikileaks documents contains some far more juicy stuff. But the basic point holds. It is not shocking that diplomats have opinions on the politicians of their host country and report them back to base.