John-Paul McCarthy: Thatcher chose to ignore poor analysis
Anglo-Irish affairs have suffered a lack of self-awareness, says
In his thrilling account of life in the African fast lane, Conor Cruise O'Brien took aim at the diplomat's weakness for euphemism and piety.
To Katanga and Back concluded with O'Brien's admonition that "it is often less cynical, and ultimately less damaging to the institution, to bring the realities of its life into public discussion, than to conceal them behind – in Mr Auden's words – 'a set mask of rectitude'".
Auden's mask saps self-awareness, that vital elixir of diplomatic life.