Opinion / British Politics and Society

Catalonia – Your Questions Answered

Baffled by the goings-on in Catalonia? I answer your basic questions. Can Catalonia be an independent country? In principle, why not? It has a population of some 7.5 million people, so as an independent state it would be comfortably in the top half of the world’s country population league rankings […]

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So, Farewell Then PunditWire

PunditWire is shutting up shop: As with all good things, it’s time to bid PunditWire adieu. We will be ceasing operations on August 31, which means we no longer will be publishing new content on our site. PunditWire won’t vanish — to those of you who want access to the […]

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Assange and Oppression

Anything on this website containing the word Assange is handily gathered here. There’s quite a lot. But my musings are as naught compared to the new piece on Mr A by Raffi Khatchadourian in the New Yorker. Fair’s fair. When American journalists are let loose on a big subject they deliver […]

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Building Peace in Bosnia

Right. Here is a major contribution by me to the oral history of the modern Balkans, in the form of a discussion with Susan Coleman of The Peace Building Podcast. Susan and I met when we did some training workshops for senior Afghan women in Tajikistan last year. Susan is […]

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Diana, Princess of Wales: Bosnia

As we approach the twentieth anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales on 31 August and the world pores over its memories, it becomes appropriate to describe what happened during her visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina if only for the sake of historical exactitude. Let’s set the scene. […]

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Russia: The Cost of Ukraine

One of the best ways to spend a dreary UK summer is to play with the World Bank graphs on Google to mix ‘n’ match different countries’ economic performance. Just click on a category and then compare/contrast the results for different countries. This (for example) gives some sense of the cost […]

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Loyalty: Who Whom?

Back sun-tann’d from Ibiza and armed with a new ability to Dab, I’ve been doing my new piece for DIPLOMAT. It looks at the idea of Civilisations. I tripped over this piece about Chinese values in general and as they apply to diplomacy: The cultural values of a country influence […]

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The Diplomacy of Assange

My new piece at DIPLOMAT looks at the practical diplomatic options open to Julian Assange as he peers out of the window of the Ecuador embassy in London and tries to see the sky: Right at the heart of diplomacy is a simple idea: good manners. To be precise, the […]

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Grenfell Towers? Meet Venezuela

Suitably anonymous @_BossGoose opines on Twitter re my previous posting on causation, responsibility and the Grenfell Towers catastrophe: Boss Goose‏ Is your suggested course of action basically “some of us will live through (nearly) any disaster, so, fuck it, let the market decide”? S/he goes further: Boss Goose‏ This may be […]

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Grenfell Tower – What Caused What?

The Grenfell Tower fire was a horrendous … what exactly? Accident? An ‘accident waiting to happen’? A ‘result of (gross) negligence’? A ‘consequence of austerity’? A ‘failure of capitalism’? The state doesn’t CARE: The stories are unbearable: the people screaming at the windows, the parents throwing their children from several floors […]

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