Time called on top UK blogger

In February, The Times named the blog written by Philip Barclay and Grace Mutandwa, staff at the British Embasy in Zimbabwe, to beĀ  one of the UK’s best. And rightly so. Some of the stuff they’ve written has been the most moving I’ve ever read on a blog. But while Grace is a local, Philip is part of the diplomatic staff – and in keeping with FCO policy, once three years are up, he’ll be moved on.
‘The Foreign Office is cruel,’ he writes in his final post. ‘My brain must go on to some other job, while my heart stays in Zimbabwe. How cruel to be dragged away just as recovery might begin.’ As ever, it’s stirring stuff: how the experience has changed him from an ‘arrogant and complacent British diplomat’, snapshots of the anguish and beauty in the country, expressions of optimism tinged with unspoken anger.
The blog will continue, he writes, in the hands of his colleague, ‘the incomparable Grace’. But that, in itself, takes us into intriguing territory: a Zimbabwean writing such a high-profile blog on behalf of the British diplomatic service. It’s terrible to have to write this, but I hope it goes OK for her. I was delighted to meet Philip at the FCO’s blogging seminar a few weeks back; it’ll be interesting to see if, or how he might take the blogging thing forward into his new role.