Opinion / Libertarian Ideas

Bad Leaders

My latest piece for DIPLOMAT mulls over the problems the world faces in dealing with Bad Leaders. Some of them contain their Badness within their own borders, thrashing their own people because they can. Others spread their badness and create havoc for others. Thus: The last century gave the world […]

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Peak Craig Murray in Uzbekistan

Former UK ambassador Craig Murray too has a sharp new website look. He goes from strength to strength despite some sad family news, and credit is definitely due: We seem to be hitting peak Craig Murray. Before the hiatus of the last month or so, 40,000 people were regularly reading […]

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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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Big Data and Betrayal

DIPLOMAT magazine has a snappy new website, and as if by magic my latest piece makes the front page. It looks at diplomacy in the Age of Big Data: Back then, industrial scale betrayal took commitment and discipline, lasting for years. The betrayer needed to take some interest in individual […]

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Run! Hide! Cower!

Remember the magnificent ambassador scene from 300. Superb on so many instructive levels simultaneously: First, it’s a masterclass in bad diplomatic negotiation technique by the arrogant ambassador of King Xerxes, who makes scarcely veiled threats in demanding just a small ‘token of submission’ instead of patiently exploring King Leonidas’ interests and […]

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Corbyn Labour: Hierarchy of Norms

One of the great issues in Jurisprudence is the Hierarchy of Norms. Where exactly does law find its moral legitimacy? Can a legal system’s legitimacy be traced back to one ‘Groundnorm’ as Hans Kelsen argued? Legal science, as Kelsen would like it to be, has to describe a legal norm […]

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EU Relaunches – or Dies

A musty piece by Enrico Letta, previously an Italian Prime Minister, urges the EU to relaunch – or die. Why so drastic? Let’s find out. If the European Union does not undertake a concrete and effective relaunch within the next few months, it will begin an irreversible decline. There is little […]

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Brexit (1): The Negotiation

Blimey. Now what? Some quick thoughts (in the order I think them) on the ensuing negotiation with EU partners as London markets bounce back from the early shock. First and foremost, this is a magnificent momentous day in the global history of democracy. It represents a strong majority of one […]

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Brexit v UKinEU (21): The Consent of the Governed

Here is my piece today for the Telegraph as the referendum campaign staggers over the line. Some good stuff: Back in the mid-2000s, Tony Blair addressed the annual gathering of British ambassadors. In the Q&A our then Ambassador in Paris warned the Prime Minister that London’s EU policies were going […]

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Brexit v UKinEU (19): Tone and Message

As this tumultuous (or horrible, nasty, revolting, angry, hateful, absorbing, glorious – pick your adjective) UK exercise in referendum democracy nears the end, what about the way the two broad camps have presented themselves? Leave The Leave tendency has struggled to explain exactly what it wants instead of EU membership, and […]

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