Opinion / British Politics and Society

President Trump Saudi Speech

Here is my piece for Vital Speeches analysing President Trump’s major foreign policy speech in Saudi Arabia, comparing it to the rambling didactic speech by President Obama in Cairo in 2009. Key opening point: This speech is 3402 words long. The Obama speech in 2009 had a sprawling 6050 words […]

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Theresa May – Brexit Negotiatrix

Can Theresa May expect to be good at the Brexit negotiations? Not according to our old friend Craig Murray: In fact she would be an appalling negotiator. She becomes completely closed off when contradicted. She is incapable of thinking on her feet. She is undoubtedly the worst performer at Prime […]

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Assange – Not Out

Julian Assange is free at last to leave the Ecuador embassy in London, now that the Swedish authorities have dropped charges against him. Hurrah. Or not, as the case may be: “Today is an important victory for me and for the UN’s human rights system but it by no means […]

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SIS4 – Iraq Inquiry

I found myself reading again the testimony of MI6 officer SIS4 to the Iraq Inquiry. The full text is here. Lots of his testimony is blacked out for operational security reasons. But there’s plenty left. It’s interesting as a rare example of someone with both huge experience and a dark […]

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Brexit Outcomes: All Change?

Lots of media huffing/puffing about the way the early stages of the #Brexit negotiations are unfolding, with menacing noises emerging from EU HQ: The UK must pay for an exit ticket! Pay LOTS! And if it doesn’t agree to pay, no talks on the future deal. Maybe no deal! It’s […]

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Brexit Election

Two grisly phenomena dominate the UK news for the time being. The UK general election, and UK/EU Brexit negotiation skirmishes. Are they by some chance related? As of early May (sic), the Conservatives look set to do well and Labour badly. The UK Labour Party is now more decay than corpse, […]

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Tottenham Shed Spursitude

My new piece for The Spurs Web on how Tottenham have moved on to a completely new level in the past two seasons. Nothing like this since 1961. A LONG time ago. Look at the season goal difference stats: In the first sixteen years of the Premier League era Tottenham […]

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Serbia Kangaroo Party

It seems that I have never here satisfactorily explained why exactly (and how) I produced a wallaby at a reception in Belgrade when I was Ambassador there. Basically, Foster’s Lager looks mighty Australian, but it is also in its European form a fine UK export. So when they wanted to […]

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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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