07 January 2016, The Tablet

View from Rome

With the awarding of a knighthood to the Conservative Party’s election strategist Lynton Crosby, David Cameron has been criticised for politicising Britain’s supposedly impartial honours system. But it is not the only arm of the state where the Prime Minister has been accused of preferring patronage over protocol. Later this year new British Ambassadors are to take over from the current incumbents in Rome and the Holy See. Both postings have, however, been subject in the past to attempts by Cameron’s Government to install political appointees. Unlike the United States, where prestigious ambassadorial postings are often allocated as rewards to major supporters in presidential campaigns, the British diplomatic service prides itself on its independence.The current Ambassado
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