ConservativeHome hates to pick a quarrel with the most powerful man on the planet, but Donald Trump will get nowhere with his campaign to make Nigel Farage Britain’s Ambassador to America. A Prime Minister’s reach is limited compared to that of the President of the United States, but May’s grip is strong enough to deny the post to a man who currently leads another political party. Nor could she be seen for a moment to be seen to be in the President’s pocket – a kind of latter-day Tony Blair to his George Bush. Yo, May!
None the less, Trump’s tweet tells us all something about the President-elect at a time when many of us want to know more about him, and what his administration will be like. He is a busy man. He surely doesn’t think about Britain much. When he does, his golf courses in Scotland seem to come to mind. But to tweet as he has done about UKIP’s interim leader (tells us a) that he likes or rates Farage, or both, b) that he is loyal to his supporters, even if they are fringe figures, and that c) he is more than happy to carry on giving the UKIP leader lots of free publicity, of which this editorial, written perhaps against our better judgement, is part.
But this site is keen not to fall out with the President. So it is in the spirit of the Special Relationship that we float a compromise proposal. Farage won’t (and shouldn’t) be Britain’s Ambassador to America, but how about making him America’s Ambassador to Britain? The post is often filled nowadays by a donor to the party whose candidate just happens to have won the Presidential election. These are usually business people with no political track record. Such people have their merits, but explaining the policy of their goverment to the British people, and making the case for their country more broadly, are not usually among them.
The UKIP leader, by contrast, is an old media hand. Indeed, he is a celebrity. The final stage in his career will be to become a national treasure. Admittedly, becoming an ambassador for an adminstration which won’t be univerally popular here would hold this up a bit. But Farage would put Trump’s case to Britain with a savviness, eye for publicity and know-how that few Americans can match. It is true that the UKIP leader is not a citizen of the United States. But since Trump is tearing-up the rule book in other respects, he can surely do so in this one.