Opinion / Poland

Poland towards authoritarianism?

Catch it while you can: an edition of BBC World Service radio programme The Real Story that looks at Poland’s current political escapades and features me trying to get a word in edgeways as three Polish experts slug it out on the rule of law and so on. The (very) […]

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South Africa, CHOGM, History, Brexit

Here’s my latest piece for DIPLOMAT. On apartheid, history and suchlike. Thus: Between 1987 and 1991 as apartheid at last ran out of road, I was First Secretary at the UK Embassy in South Africa. My youthful Embassy colleague was John Sawers, who went on to have a much grander career than […]

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Starting a Speech by Being Funny

This is my most popular answer on Quora with over 20,000 views, replying to an interesting question: What is the funniest opening line that you have heard (or said) in a public speech? Hmm. Right Ho, Jeeves “Boys,” said Gussie, “I mean ladies and gentlemen and boys, I do not […]

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Poland v EU (Continued)

Poland continues to Stand Alone (or not, as the case may be) in its arguments with Brussels over different Polish rule of law issues. Here is a handy summary by Aleks Szczerbiak on what’s going on and what it means for Polish politics: At the end of December, in a […]

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What Food is Your Speech?

I seem to have been sucked in to answering questions on Quora. Many about public speaking in all its forms. But other stuff too. Oddly addictive. I’ve been asked by someone to help with a couple of significant speeches. Apart from the squalid business of the fee *coughs* there is the […]

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Civilisations indeed Clashing?

My latest piece for DIPLOMAT looks at some rather, er, basic issues. Namely the idea of civilisation(s). As raised by President Trump in his speech in Warsaw: President Trump’s speech helpfully gave a long list of Western values and practices: The world has never known anything like our community of […]

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Russia: The Cost of Ukraine

One of the best ways to spend a dreary UK summer is to play with the World Bank graphs on Google to mix ‘n’ match different countries’ economic performance. Just click on a category and then compare/contrast the results for different countries. This (for example) gives some sense of the cost […]

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Loyalty: Who Whom?

Back sun-tann’d from Ibiza and armed with a new ability to Dab, I’ve been doing my new piece for DIPLOMAT. It looks at the idea of Civilisations. I tripped over this piece about Chinese values in general and as they apply to diplomacy: The cultural values of a country influence […]

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That Trump Speech in Poland

What was President Trump’s speech in Poland really saying? Views differ. Even though anyone listening to the speech might think that Trump pushed back hard against Putin in the speech, it was a stunning victory for Putin: The initial reaction to the speech was far more positive than to his previous attempt […]

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President Trump in Poland

On 6 July President Trump gave a hefty speech in Warsaw. Here’s the official text. And here is a video of him delivering it. How was it as a speech? First, the speech is some 3700 words long, delivered in 36 minutes. Just over 100 words per minute. Quite a […]

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