If you think the Foreign Office is useless at the moment, just wait until the EU gets its way and sets up a "High Representative" for foreign and security policy – or a foreign minister, to you and me.

The FCO certainly has many failings, from its strange obsession with the EU's unfathomable bureaucracy to its barely concealed bias towards brutal Arab autocracies. But at least it's on our side. Whether you're an inebriated Brit caught indulging in illicit sexual activity on a beach in Dubai, or an adventurous tourist abducted in central Africa, Her Majesty's diplomatic service can usually be relied upon to come to the rescue. The best officers on our diplomatic staff work tirelessly for our country's interests, whether it is drafting hard-hitting Security Council resolutions on sanctions against Iran, or making sure that Britain is looked upon favourably by the latest resident of the White House.

But now, here comes Brussels. As the Lisbon Treaty edges ever closer to formal ratification by all 27 EU member states, much of the attention has focused on whether Tony Blair will succeed in his somewhat dubious ambition to become the EU's first president. Until a few months ago, he looked to be a shoo-in, having managed to secure the backing of both Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel. Read full article in the Daily Telegraph...