Opinion / General Interest

Practise a Speech? Enter Orai

You have a major speech or presentation to give. Rehearse it carefully! Practise! You have to make a good impression on the day! Wait … Rehearse? Practise? In 2010 I gave a TEDx presentation in Krakow on the Physics of Diplomacy. Afterwards someone asked me how often I rehearsed such […]

Continue Reading

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 […]

Continue Reading

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 […]

Continue Reading

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, […]

Continue Reading

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 […]

Continue Reading

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 […]

Continue Reading

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, […]

Continue Reading

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 […]

Continue Reading

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 […]

Continue Reading

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 […]

Continue Reading
Older Entries