Opinion / Writing and Language

What a Mug! Speeches for Leaders

Just to say that THIS was a v welcome and unexpected Christmas gift: You can get such clever customised mugs from the Literary Gift Company (sometimes). Plus of course the real thing is here: Stock up now for next Christmas. Or give yourself a New Year vital public speaking boost.

Continue Reading

Amazon Space: Trust Between Strangers

When I rebooted my website a while back, I took out my 2008 thoughts on Amazon Space and the human and operational limits to Trust. Let’s get it back here. It still reads nicely enough (Wait … huh? What’s a PDA?). The screams of Aleppo are now coming directly into […]

Continue Reading

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 […]

Continue Reading

Public Speaking: Surprise!

A reader reasonably asks about this: How to give a great speech/presentation, or at least a damn good one? That usually means thinking hard about what this audience needs and wants and expects – and then doing something else. The underlying idea here is the central importance of Surprise in […]

Continue Reading

So, Farewell Then Fidel Castro

While basking on the sunny South Carolina beaches I took time out to write a piece for National Interest on the death of Fidel Castro and how different world leaders drafted their respective statements: The Castro case is unusually tricky. There’s no denying that he was a person of international […]

Continue Reading

Crawford on Delingpole

Back from our USA summer holiday. While I was away my podcast discussion with turbo-polemicist James Delingpole appeared. Here it is. Or via iTunes. James is good at being beyond provocative. Here is his book Watermelons (Green on the outside, Red on the inside haha) attacking all sorts of different […]

Continue Reading

Women and Public Speaking

Here’s a question. In fact two questions. Do women qua women face specific public speaking problems? And if so, what’s the best way to tackle them? Plenty of people make the case that yes, women DO face public speaking problems/challenges that men don’t face. This piece proclaims itself as offering […]

Continue Reading

Social Europe

A doomed moth to a flame, I swing past the website of Social Europe. You just know that anything with the word ‘social’ in the title is all about supposedly progressive but basically bossy collectivism, and if progressive bossy collectivism is what you want, Social Europe delivers bigly. In their parallel […]

Continue Reading

The Legendary FCO Kojaks

To understand the bizarre story that follows, you need to know a little about the FCO Grand Staircase. It is, forsooth, Grand. See this. And this. The high Victorian artwork might not pass today’s fine standards for political correctness. But it too is on a magnificent scale. The Foreign Secretary’s […]

Continue Reading

Russia and Rules

Here’s my latest piece on Russia over at the Daily Telegraph: Back in 1902, future mass murderer Vladimir Ilyich Lenin published his pamphlet “What Is To Be Done?” (Что делать?) about the selfish reluctance of the working classes to rise up against capitalism. Now 114 years later, some Western governments ponder what needs […]

Continue Reading
Newer EntriesOlder Entries