Opinion / British Politics and Society

Cicero Awards 2017: Why?

I’m delighted to say that I have won another Cicero Award, this time for a speech I prepared for Tony Ennis of ecoLegacy on the maybe unsettling theme of ‘green cremations’. The award page is here. Scroll down and you can see my winning speech in the category Environment/Energy/Sustainability. The […]

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The Diplomacy of Ghost in The Shell

Ignore the new version. The 1995 anime Ghost in the Shell is the real thing. See this extended sequence of wonderful drawing and colour, included for no obvious reason other than to show wonderful drawing and colour: The ‘star’ is Major Kusanagi of Section 9, a special police unit. Kusanagi is a […]

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Brexit; Article 50 Triggered (2)

So. The deed is done. The UK government has respected the 2016 #Brexit UK referendum result and set in motion negotiations (a) to effect the UK’s departure from the European Union, and (b) to create a new UK/EU relationship to replace it. Blimey. This will drag on, in some respects […]

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Brexit: Article 50 Triggered

As I expected, Theresa May and Whitehall wisely took no notice of my thoughts on how best to write the momentous Article 50 letter to EU HQ triggering Brexit. Here is what she sent instead. Some points of interest. She addresses the letter to ‘President’ Tusk. Mr Tusk is president of the European […]

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Article 50 Triggered

Trigger warning! Any second now TEU Article 50 is to be triggered. Brexit! Wait. What’s Article 50? Always a good idea to read the original, so here it is: 1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements. 2. A Member […]

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How to Start a Speech (Continued)

I’ve previously given you the extensive benefit of my free advice on How to Start a Speech (or Presentation). The authorities agree. You start STRONGLY. One good idea is to treat the opening formalities, greetings and expressions of gratitude as not part of the speech. Depending on the occasion they […]

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Writing in English

One of the absolutely hardest things to do is write flawlessly and well in another language. It’s one thing to speak a foreign language to an astonishing level of accuracy and accent, to the point that even native speakers might think you’re one of them. It’s quite another to write […]

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Poland Stands Alone

Remember the noises emanating from Brussels and Warsaw last year over concerns that Poland was slumping away from core European democratic rule-of-law principles? Help! The (sic) Polish Threat to Europe! The European Commission threatened to ‘take action’ against Poland because Warsaw under the Law and Justice party was changing the […]

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Balkan Borders (2)

What about the ideas raised by Sir Ivor Roberts for Serbia/Kosovo land-swaps? How to start analysing this? Some considerations as I consider them. First, the ‘international community’ simply does not care where Balkan borders (to be precise here, the borders between former republics and autonomous provinces of the dead Yugoslavia) […]

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Balkan Borders (1)

Here is my former colleague (ex-ambassador to Belgrade, Dublin and Rome) Sir Ivor Roberts opining on Balkan borders: Sir Ivor said that while multi-ethnic states might be the ideal, in practice the exchange of the Presevo Valley in Serbia for land in Kosovo north of the river Ibar might be […]

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