Opinion / Africa

The UN’s SDGs – Control, not Liberation?

Here is my new piece for Diplomatic Courier in Washington. On The Language of the Sustainable Development Goals. It turned out to be a bit of a slog to find the original SGD texts, but here they are in the UN General Assembly Resolution adopted on 25 September 2015: Right […]

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South Africa v Zimbabwe: Grace Mugabe

Mrs Mugabe has got involved in another scandal, this time the alleged beating of a model in a Johannesburg hotel. Should she be given diplomatic immunity to help her return home without prosecution? Yes! Thus: The government source accepted the view widely held by legal experts that Grace Mugabe was not […]

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Who Decides who Decides?

My new piece at DIPLOMAT: Down the ages humans have invented only two ways of running things: Do what I say, or else! The consent of the governed In the first case – the dominant model for most of human history – the ruler’s authority and legitimacy come from the […]

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Back in the NHS (3)

Happy New Year to one and all. I have been busy trundling to and fro to NHS hospitals. My mother is not so well. See earlier accounts here: Above all, I am humbled by the diligence shown by the nursing staff as they try to keep their designated batch of […]

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Amazon Space: Trust Between Strangers

When I rebooted my website a while back, I took out my 2008 thoughts on Amazon Space and the human and operational limits to Trust. Let’s get it back here. It still reads nicely enough (Wait … huh? What’s a PDA?). The screams of Aleppo are now coming directly into […]

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Social Europe

A doomed moth to a flame, I swing past the website of Social Europe. You just know that anything with the word ‘social’ in the title is all about supposedly progressive but basically bossy collectivism, and if progressive bossy collectivism is what you want, Social Europe delivers bigly. In their parallel […]

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#ScienceMustFall in South Africa

South Africa has a mighty tradition of Defying Reality. Some might say that that was what apartheid was all about: its pernickety, cruel, insane attempt to draft laws defining useless racial distinctions, then building a whole society around those distinctions. But before that came the startling Xhosa Cattle Killings in 1856-57, […]

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More Stupid Words

Remember Stupid Words? multi-dimensional challenges inherently a context-specific approach prevention-oriented actions implement a synergistic framework increasingly interconnected world integrated capacity-building measures participatory processes overarching framework contextually relevant tractorisation globalised world Here is an article at Open Democracy that (alas) epitomises the problem: CSOs also need support in empowering citizens to […]

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Europe: The Myth of a Steady State

My previous post linked to the new gloomy piece by Robert Kaplan for the WSJ, in which he ponders the possibility of Europe reverting to deep historical fault-lines: The sturdy core of modern Europe approximates in large measure the Carolingian Empire founded by Charlemagne in the ninth century. The first […]

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Back to South Africa

Madam Crawf and I have been back to South Africa (where I was posted in the final years of apartheid). This time we spent ten days in and around the Kruger Park. The first and most striking thing we found was that things are startlingly cheap. Back in the late […]

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