From the moment the summons plopped on to the mat – or, more likely, pinged into their super-secure FCO in-boxes – Their Excellencies could have been in no doubt about the scale of the regime change that had taken place during their absence. Their distress can only have been magnified when they set foot in their respective departure lounges; it was economy class all the way. The reception that awaited them in Blighty was a world away from Ferrero Rocher.
From now on, our men and women in far-flung capitals were told, they would be expected to make their plush residences going concerns. But how far is the diplomatic money-making supposed to go? Ambassadors for commercial hire? Sponsored embassies? Monthly fund-raisers in Paris? Selling detected spies back to Moscow? Restoring the "British" in BP?
We trust they will use their red-eye return for some serious brain-storming. And we look forward with impatience to their blogs – the ambassadorial verdict on British Airways' signature breakfast offering, the (cold) bacon and egg muffin, should be a special treat. That is always assuming they were permitted to travel on the national carrier and weren't standing at the back on Ryanair.