Opinion / British Politics and Society

More Chess and Diplomacy

A canny reader spots a fine reference to chess in Sir David Omand’s evidence to the Iraq Inquiry (pp 56/57): The second point that strikes me is that greater care is needed in threatening the use of military force to back up diplomatic measures. It is quite an easy thing to […]

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Tottenham – Berahino and Negotiation

Here’s my first piece for Spurs Web on what the Saido Berahino transfer (or not as it turned out) saga tells us about Negotiation Theory: In international negotiating, Time can be unlimited. Issues drag on for decades if not centuries: Cyprus, Korean peninsula, Russia/Ukraine/Poland/Germany. Brexit? For football transfers Time is […]

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Teleprompters? No thanks!

Here is an interesting piece by Nana Ariel at Aeon about the history and ‘meaning’ of teleprompters: Jess Oppenheimer, the producer of the TV show I Love Lucy (1951-57), filed the patent for a mirror extension that reflected the printed text on a transparent board in front of the camera, […]

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Negotiating Brexit – Article 50

I’ve been quiet on all the Brexit agendas latterly. Too much going on as I eke (eeeek) out a living. But a reader writes: In my view the UK has walked into a trap by agreeing to exercise article 50 at the start. It is clearly not fit for purpose. […]

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President Trump State Visit

Scarcely has the invitation been issued to President Trump to make a State Visit to the UK than a million Brits have signed a petition opposing it. Phew. First things first. What is a State Visit? Broadly speaking visits by a head of state (HoS) or head of government (HoG) […]

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Theresa May’s Philadelphia Speech

Here is the official text of UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s well received speech to senior Republicans in Philadelphia. And, if you want to see how she delivered it, here she is: This speech has had unusual profile. Mrs May is the first foreign leader to meet President Trump at […]

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Sir Tim Barrow: Optimism v Pessimism

My new piece over at Telegraph Opinion on the appointment of Sir Tim Barrow as UK Ambassador to the EU (maybe ££): Final passages: Much commentary about Sir Ivan’s departure has focused on this strange passage in his message to UKRep colleagues, self-evidently written with speedy wider public readership in mind: “I […]

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Expelling Spies: Negotiation Psychology

Way back in 2009 I wrote a piece for DIPLOMAT about the lore and logic of expelling diplomats, usually for spying. The Internet has eaten it, but here are some extracts: You know the story. Only too well. Your spouse yells at you for what you have done. Or for […]

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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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From Kaliningrad to Mladićgrad

DIPLOMAT has my latest article, featuring the final cable I sent to London from Warsaw as I ended my FCO career in autumn 2007. Once upon a time there were Valedictory Despatches. The Despatch was an interesting diplomatic genre, an extended essay sent by an Ambassador that looked more deeply/thematically […]

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