Opinion / General Interest

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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Brexit v UKinEU (15): Migration

You don’t have to go far in the seething Brexit debate to find that ‘migration’ is a Big Deal, not least as the Labour/Guardian side of the argument smells its own panic. Thus this: Ed Balls’s latest intervention in the EU debate is striking. In today’s Daily Mirror, the former […]

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Brexit v UKinEU (12): Sovereignty (2)

Continuing from my previous post. It follows that the EU is a stupendously good idea, right? Peace, love, understanding – all neatly codified via mutual treaty networks for the benefit of EU member states’ citizens. In fact it’s such a fine idea that other regions of the world are planning […]

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Brexit v UKinEU (12): Sovereignty (1)

Basically, there are only questions in politics: Who decides? Who decides who decides? (These folk ultimately set all the rules and are the final operational source of legitimacy and authority – see Kelsen’s famous hierarchy of norms) This is what ‘national sovereignty’ is all about. Does your state have its […]

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Brexit and Putin

My latest for the Telegraph: if V Putin would enjoy #Brexit, does that mean that it’s a bad idea? The end of the Cold War was the moment of moments for radically restructuring Europe’s economic and strategic architecture. Europe’s then leaders blew the opportunity, choosing instead to stick with their […]

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Brexit v UKinEU (2)

Here’s a link to the original documents comprising the UK/EU ‘settlement’ that are the basis for PM David Cameron now campaigning for a Yes vote. So, question. Is the settlement ‘legally binding’? Yes! says Mr Cameron. No! says the Brexit tendency. A highly simplified analysis of this question is given by the BBC: The Vienna Convention on the Law of […]

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Interview Techniques

Most people at some point in their lives face a daunting moment when their presentation skills will be tested as never before: a job interview. This is not ‘public speaking’ in the normal sense, but all the same principles and techniques apply. Being clear and convincing. Maybe a bit firm […]

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