Jonathan Aitken, biographer of former U.S. President Richard Nixon, writes in the Daily Mail that Nigel Farage could make a good ambassador to the United States:
His Excellency Sir Nigel Farage KCMG to be Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the United States? The suggestion floated in a tweet from Donald Trump (where else!) has gone down in Whitehall like the proverbial lead balloon.
The idea has been greeted by the Establishment with pursed lips, snorts of disapproval and cries of ‘pull the other one’.
The official spokesman at No 10 has already poured cold water on the suggestion with the icy response: ‘There is no vacancy.’ So this looks the longest of long and improbable shots.
But hang on. It’s not just the maverick mind of president-elect Trump that might appreciate the prospect of ‘the People’s Nige’ taking up residence in the Lutyens-designed splendour of the British Embassy at 3100 Massachusetts Avenue.
Washington D.C. is a city where proximity is power. A loyal street fighter from Trump’s election campaign trail with impeccable Brexit credentials might be just the non-diplomat to influence the incoming U.S. administration — which will, of course, be led by a non-politician.
This is a time when out-of-the box thinking is required to put British interests at the front of the queue, particularly in the drive to secure a new U.S.-UK trade deal as we decouple ourselves, however slowly, from the European Union.
There are non-Establishment voices on both sides of the Atlantic saying perhaps, just perhaps, Farage could be the fellow maverick to pull this off.
Those with long memories of the ‘special relationship’ in the days when it really was special will know that the historical precedents for personal ambassadorial appointments are remarkably favourable.
In the Sixties, Britain’s most influential envoys to the U.S. were the aristocratic Tory, David Ormsby-Gore, requested by John F. Kennedy, and the radical Labour ex-minister John Freeman, unexpectedly embraced by Richard Nixon despite initial opposition from White House aides.
David Ormsby-Gore (later Lord Harlech) had been a close family friend of JFK’s from the time when his father Joseph Kennedy was U.S. ambassador in London in the late Thirties.