Opinion / Writing and Language

Article 50 Triggered

Trigger warning! Any second now TEU Article 50 is to be triggered. Brexit! Wait. What’s Article 50? Always a good idea to read the original, so here it is: 1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements. 2. A Member […]

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How to Start a Speech (Continued)

I’ve previously given you the extensive benefit of my free advice on How to Start a Speech (or Presentation). The authorities agree. You start STRONGLY. One good idea is to treat the opening formalities, greetings and expressions of gratitude as not part of the speech. Depending on the occasion they […]

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Writing in English

One of the absolutely hardest things to do is write flawlessly and well in another language. It’s one thing to speak a foreign language to an astonishing level of accuracy and accent, to the point that even native speakers might think you’re one of them. It’s quite another to write […]

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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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Balkan Borders (1)

Here is my former colleague (ex-ambassador to Belgrade, Dublin and Rome) Sir Ivor Roberts opining on Balkan borders: Sir Ivor said that while multi-ethnic states might be the ideal, in practice the exchange of the Presevo Valley in Serbia for land in Kosovo north of the river Ibar might be […]

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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’s Inaugural Speech

Here’s a brief take on President Trump’s inaugural speech that I wrote for The Ambassador Partnership’s Insight series: The inaugural address of a new US President typically answers two questions: What and How. First, to set down unambiguous policy markers: to spell out in broad but more or less specific […]

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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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(Not) Using Quotations in Speeches

My book Speeches for Leaders quoted from The Dullard’s Guide to International and Diplomatic Speechwriting on starting a speech with platitudes about the history of bilateral relations: It doesn’t matter much which examples the speechwriter pulls out from the bran tub of history for this purpose. A couple of solid, obvious, and […]

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