Vernacular Diplomacy & May’s June Gamble

In my very brief working career of 30 plus years, I would be hard-pressed to count beyond two or three diplomats who have achieved the street-level name recognition that the British High Commissioner, Jon Benjamin, has.

During his three years in Ghana he’s communicated his work and the role of High Commission into bite sizes that everyday people can digest with ease. He’s detangled it, simplified it, pedestrianised it so that everyone can understand Britain’s work in and with Ghana, even if they don’t like it.

His is what I would call Vernacular Diplomacy: diplomacy that is inspired by the local culture and environment and respects it, yet questions and challenges it.

His is diplomacy of the people, with the people, around the people — of course, for Britain.

Jon Benjamin is ending his tour in Ghana and returns home to head Britains Foreign Service Training institution, which translates as approval for his approach to public diplomacy.

He also returns home to a changed and changing Britain, led by Teresa May who finds herself hemmed by mayhem after misreading the summer leaves at Number 10. And now, a charred, smoldering 27-storey trophy stands as a sorry summary of May’s June.

And the month isn’t done yet. Brexit talks begin in days!

So a lot to have drinks over with Jon Benjamin on#TheLounge tonight.

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