Opinion / General Interest

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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Why Must Assad Go?

Nigel Farage poses an interesting question: if Syria’s President Assad ‘goes’, who or what replaces him? Could the next Syria leader or ensuing chaos be even worse than what we have now? This takes us straight to our old friend Bad Leaders: Other Bad Leaders, such as Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, […]

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Reclaim Aberdeen University

++ Update ++ Why? Because critical thinking. * * * * * Via Twitter one trips over a ‘manifesto’ about Reclaiming (sic) the University of Aberdeen. Here it is in all its verbose 3838-word inglory. Whence this university anyway? It has a distinguished history dating back to 1495. Judging by its website […]

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Oscars Fiasco? Details!

NOTE My first version of this post had an irrelevant and (it turns out!) wrong explanation of a protocol calamity perpetrated by the British Embassy in Warsaw during The Queen’s State Visit. That passage now removed! + + + UPDATE + + + More gory details are emerging. Never underestimate […]

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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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President Trump State Visit (2)

My piece below explained what State Visits are. And speculated on why the invitation to President Trump had been extended now: London has moved fast to extend this invitation to President Trump. Some might say that it would have been wiser to wait and see how he gets on before doing […]

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FCO Remembers 2016

Back to the Foreign Office for the annual Memorial gathering to remember colleagues who fell in the line of duty. 2015 here. This year Boris Johnson led the ceremony at the foot of the Grand Staircase for his first time. He gave a nicely worked speech – he has a […]

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European Borders Come and Go

I volunteer to give a talk at Crawf Minima’s school on International Organisations and suchlike. Which takes us towards a familiar theme here: Integration v Disintegration – what happens when international borders melt? It turns out that European borders have melted and re-formed and then re-melted and re-formed quite a […]

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When Viz Stood Corrected

Back in the mists of early 1998 I was sitting in Sarajevo at the Embassy perusing Viz issue 87 (as one did) when my eye fell upon an unexpected Balkan angle: This analysis did not look right. So I did some diligent research and reached a deeper insight into what was really being […]

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Warsaw NATO Summit

Here’s my Telegraph piece on the NATO summit in Warsaw. Thus: Poland’s President Duda wonders what President Obama will say to him privately about Poland’s constitutional wranglings. President Obama has his mind on yet more ghastly shootings back home. France’s President Hollande eyes his horrible polling numbers and wonders whether […]

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