Calling the Trump regime ‘inept’ cost our man in Washington his job – but such blunt assessments are nothing new.
Newly-released documents include a description of Bill Clinton’s ‘chaotic’ administration from 1994, written by Kim Darroch’s predecessor Robin Renwick.
Sir Robin’s telegram describes ‘Clinton’s roller-coaster ride’, and details the effects of numerous scandals which dogged the then-president’s administration.
Bill Clinton (left) was accused of sexually harassing Paula Jones (right), a former civil servant, when he was Arkansas Governor
Sir Robin Renwick wrote in 1994: ‘The personal stories may have taken their toll on Clinton’s popularity. No one believes the full Paula Jones story but the thought that the president may have to testify in court against her gives the White House fits'
The memo noted sexual harassment claims by Paula Jones, a former civil servant, who said Mr Clinton exposed himself to her in a hotel room when he was the governor of Arkansas.
Bill Clinton got the cold shoulder from Boris Yeltsin after he left the Russian president waiting on the phone for an hour and a half.
Mr Yeltsin eventually hung up and refused to take calls from the White House for days afterwards.
The incident was detailed in a note for Sir John Major from his private secretary Alex Allan, who said Mr Yeltsin was ‘very p***** off’. He wrote: ‘Apparently the Russians misunderstood... the preliminary soundings the US operations room do and put Yeltsin on the line. Panic at the US end.'
Writing ahead of a 1994 visit to the UK by Mr Clinton and wife Hillary, Sir Robin wrote: ‘The personal stories may have taken their toll on Clinton’s popularity. No one believes the full Paula Jones story but the thought that the president may have to testify in court against her gives the White House fits.’
The file, dated May 1994 and sent to the Foreign Office, added: ‘White House organisation remains chaotic. Clinton continues to have difficulty winning the approval of more than 50 per cent of the American people and that could be constant throughout his presidency.’ He noted Mr Clinton was ‘concerned’ about his treatment by the British media, adding his White House had an ‘excessive preoccupation’ with the Press.
In another echo of the recent Trump storm, John Major was dragged into a major row when another senior diplomat criticised his host country’s regime.
David Gladstone, high commissioner to Sri Lanka, became ‘persona non grata’ and had to end his service after officials complained of his conduct at a local elections count in May 1991. Sir John gave him his full backing.Major: I'm 'sick and tired' of the EU
He has become one of the most vocal opponents of Brexit.
But during his time in Downing Street, John Major fumed he was ‘sick and tired’ of EU rules.
Newly-declassified Cabinet Office files lay bare the former prime minister’s frustration at Brussels bureaucracy.
After being handed a summary of EU issues by one of his policy chiefs in April 1995, Sir John furiously scribbled: ‘Oh god. It goes on and on. I am getting pretty sick of all this.’
Former Prime Minister Sir John Major shakes the hand of former French President Jacques Delors
In a similar document from several months earlier, the Cabinet Office’s European secretariat consolidated issues of interest to France, which held the EU’s rotating presidency at the time. It detailed how Paris was keen to use a crisis in Algeria to drum up financial support for the Mediterranean region from EU countries including the UK.
‘Plenty of problems here,’ Sir John said in a handwritten note. ‘Why not block help for the Med if they impose?’ He added: ‘I’m sick and tired of playing by the rules.’
When presented with a paper setting out prominent EU matters in December 1995, Sir John simply wrote ‘bad’ beside a section on extending the remit of the European Court of Justice.
While other files show his approach to be predominantly pro-EU, Sir John’s criticisms shine a light on his private frustrations while he was trying to lead a Tory party bitterly divided over Europe.
Those divisions boiled over in 1993, when the Tory leader called three eurosceptic ministers ‘bastards’. The comment, accidentally recorded after a television interview, is thought to have been directed at Michael Howard, Peter Lilley and Michael Portillo.
At the forefront of his frustrations with Brussels was the bloc’s final push to replace the UK’s imperial measures with the metric system in 1995.
Sir John said in 1995 that he was 'sick and tired' of European Union regulations. He is now a vocal remainer
Sir John raged at his officials when he was faced with a barrage of criticism and concern from the public over fears that distinctively British measures such as the pint could be eradicated.
He was presented with a government document suggesting that a British stall holder could be fined up to £500 after the year 2000 for shouting ‘Lovely tomatoes – 70p a pound’.
Annotating the paper by Norman Blackwell, head of his policy unit, Sir John wrote: ‘Dear God!!’ Elsewhere in the document, released by the National Archives in Kew, West London, he noted: ‘Heaven help us! What a mess.’
He also wrote that there should be ‘no prosecutions’ under the full introduction of the metric system.
In a letter to the president of the Board of Trade, he said: ‘This directive should not be enabled to confuse the elderly, irritate the population and damage the government.’
He added: ‘This is a potential disaster area. This issue has the potential to cause real trouble.’
Sir John stated that the