The man labelled by Donald Trump as “a pompous fool”, “wacky” and a “very stupid guy” is sitting quietly at the window of an old English pub on the scruffy north Kent coast. Beyond lies a landscape of rough grass, tottering beach huts and the grey waters of the Thames estuary stretching into the distance. “I love it here,” says Kim Darroch. “It can be windy, bleak, cold and grey.”

An imposing figure in this intimate pub, Darroch has chosen the tranquillity of The Sportsman at Seasalter to reflect on the political storm in the US and the UK that severed “the anchor chains” of his world. His job, at the climax of 40 years as a diplomat, was to try to make sense of Trump and Brexit. In the end the two forces combined spectacularly to end his career, his defenestration as Britain’s ambassador in Washington a brutal reminder that the old rules no longer applied...

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