Wikileaks

Gordon Brown’s love of pre-dawn emails is legendary. But I don’t think anyone imagined they were about mosquito nets. Here’s the passage from the US embassy cable:

The prime minister is personally engaged on assistance issues, Dinham [a senior civil servant] noted. It is not unusual, he said, for DFID officials to receive emails sent before dawn from the prime minister, inquiring about bed net programs to combat malaria, or sharing his latest idea on education programs. 

One of the more heartening exchanges in the Wikileaks files involves Alistair Darling, the then chancellor.

After a worthy discussion about bank bonuses and financial regulation, the US ambassador delicately turned to the most important issue of the day: tax breaks for US diplomats.

Ambassador raised the new embassy project at Nine Elms, noting that the $1.2 billion project would spur redevelopment of a blighted area and create jobs.

He said that as a matter of principle, the UK should not impose value-added tax on the construction of a chancery building.

Well, as you can imagine, this suggestion didn’t go down brilliantly with Darling.

Darling responded that the government could not exempt the project from VAT, citing the recession, tight budget and elections.

 

The Queen and Prince Charles have made their debut in the Wikileak files.

A dispatch from a US diplomat notes that the next British monarch will not necessarily be the next head of the Commonwealth. Apparently there are no rules on succession. Should Charles become the next King, he could in theory face a Commonwealth leadership challenge.