THREE prime ministers, none of whom are leading-from-the-front Boris Johnson, have met President Zelensky in Kyiv. What’s his excuse?
‘I’m always in hi-viz’
Zelensky’s khaki t-shirts are his trademark; hi-viz and a hard hat are mine. Unfortunately I’m informed by military experts that this would make me ‘a sniper’s dream’ and constitute a major security risk. Reluctantly, I refused to abandon my brand.
‘Four’s a crowd’
Three prime ministers, for example from Poland, Slovenia and the Czech Republic, are great company, as the old Ukrainian saying goes. Four, with the prime minister of the UK, which is technically another four countries anyway, is a crowd. So I couldn’t impose.
‘Zelensky’s very busy’
That guy is jolly busy. He barely has time for a Zoom call, and when he does there’s no small talk and it’s straight to asking for a no-fly zone. Does he really need me to turn that down in person? I let him have the evening to catch up on paperwork instead.
‘It might constitute a party’
I’m not a guy who goes to parties. Anyone who knows anything about me knows that. And consequently I’m very cautious about which invitations I accept. This gathering of national leaders sounds like exactly the kind of occasion where I might be ambushed by cake.
‘It’s a balancing act’
Diplomacy is a delicate business and I’ve pissed off half of London’s billionaires already. It’s going to be a full-time job repairing relations enough to get some cash in the coffers before the general election. If do a photoshoot with Captain Macho, they’re gone.
‘This one’s for Liz’
As foreign secretary, really this is a job for Liz Truss. Dressing up like a soldier and taking a train to a city under siege is so Liz. She loves wearing a helmet and sitting in a tank. You’d think she’d be dying to get out there.