Recently I was listening to Donald Trump with his comments about trade deals and the more I thought about it the more it struck a cord. Not because I have suddenly become a born-again Trumpite, but because it got me thinking again about an area that has long concerned me.
I am referring to the area of diplomacy when I am sure that the good relationships established between courtiers and noblemen of the past served their purpose in allowing countries to keep an eye on each other and to perhaps do a little mutual trade.
However, today the world has moved on. There are much more efficient ways of monitoring the activities of various countries than by employing a cadre of civil servants.
Equally, in the case of trade, this is now a global business where deals are completed by large corporations rather than by civil servants. Indeed, the record of civil servants when they get involved in private enterprise should eliminate them from any consideration for trade positions. And if we need a member of the Royal Family (Airmiles Andrew) as our main business winner then we truly are in a bad way.
Surely the time has come to recognise that the real reason for a base in countries overseas is for consular services such as passport replacement and visa issuing. All of which could be done from a small office rather than having ambassadorial mansions.
Secondly, governments should actively engage the large corporations in negotiating with them so as to ensure that countries go into relationships on a sound business footing.
In today's global world the big companies are running rings around government and they need to be brought onside quickly. Trump may not be the leader of choice for many in the western world, but his business approach may be just what other countries should be planning to do.
Remember, just because something wasn't done that way in the past doesn't mean that it cannot be done that way now.