Our man in....
The sun has finally set on the British Empire. One has heard from ones sources in the corridors of power that the High Commissions in Tonga, Kiribati and Vanuatu are to be closed down. Quite abominable and one will of course be writing stern missives to ones MP, The Times and of course Her Majesty to protest at such behaviour from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Postings to such exotic locales were much sought after when one was a subaltern in ones younger days. Ten years with the screw guns and mule trains on the frontier, being shot at by the natives, heat, dust and having to take tiffin with the mem' would be rewarded with a nice cushy billet on an island paradise. Dusky maidens and G and T's on the verandah as the sun sank over crystal seas would more than make up for the flies and a charwallah that made Blenkinsop look like the jolliest man in the empire. A rather pleasant perk of being one of the ruling classes and one that should jolly well be retained. After all, nowadays they pack the common oiks from council estates off to parts foreign, claiming it is character building and will stop them being such bad lads, so why not continue funding decent upstanding chaps to be sent to far flung corners of the world. After all, they are much less likely to try to steal the hubcaps from the local chieftains Rolls Royce and get hideously drunk on the local firewater.
What's more, such postings enabled those of wealth and standing to quietly move their black sheep out of the public gaze in times of scandal and send them off to some remote corner of empire where they could not do too much damage, unless of course one counts cousin Henry and most of the local medicine men have now lifted their curses after intervention from one of our gun boats in the area and an undisclosed sum from the treasury. One distinctly remembers great uncle Arbuthnott being given a diplomatic post and a one way ticket on a steamer from Portsmouth after that little embarrassment involving several barnyard creatures and a peer of the realm. Saw him twenty years later, stuffed full of G and T, three wives, twenty children and the governorship of a small island, proudly raising the flag for queen and country. Didn't do him any harm at all. Family honour intact, Her Majesty got a representative on distant shores and the locals got a fine example of British pluck and determination through watching his ever more desperate attempts to build a raft that would return him to civilization.