Opinion / Africa

Assange – Free at Last

Here are my collected thoughts on Julian Assange and his exciting life and times. My DIPLOMAT piece on Assange and diplomatic protocol, from 2017: If someone runs into state B’s embassy to escape state A’s laws, s/he can sit there until s/he comes out. The embassy premises are inviolable, but […]

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Migrating Rights

Just when you thought that you were safe from links here to my articles over at DIPLOMAT, you get two in one day. My very latest one on Migration and Rights. Thus: Hundreds of millions of people are now on the move around the world every year. Refugees. Displaced persons. […]

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Diplomatic Visits

My piece at DIPLOMAT magazine on the trials and tribulations of organising diplomatic visits appears. Thus: Visits come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes they’re largely symbolic– a senior gesture to show that the bilateral relationship is warm and alive, but not much more than that. Sometimes there’s serious diplomatic business […]

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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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The Logic of Sanctions

My latest piece at DIPLOMAT looks at sanctions. Crime? Punishment! Thus: Back in the day when I was paid to do diplomacy, it was a refreshing if not a bracing bucketful of icy water to hear Russian diplomats talking about their professional discipline. I remember one telling me about a […]

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The UN’s SDGs – Control, not Liberation?

Here is my new piece for Diplomatic Courier in Washington. On The Language of the Sustainable Development Goals. It turned out to be a bit of a slog to find the original SGD texts, but here they are in the UN General Assembly Resolution adopted on 25 September 2015: Right […]

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South Africa v Zimbabwe: Grace Mugabe

Mrs Mugabe has got involved in another scandal, this time the alleged beating of a model in a Johannesburg hotel. Should she be given diplomatic immunity to help her return home without prosecution? Yes! Thus: The government source accepted the view widely held by legal experts that Grace Mugabe was not […]

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Who Decides who Decides?

My new piece at DIPLOMAT: Down the ages humans have invented only two ways of running things: Do what I say, or else! The consent of the governed In the first case – the dominant model for most of human history – the ruler’s authority and legitimacy come from the […]

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Back in the NHS (3)

Happy New Year to one and all. I have been busy trundling to and fro to NHS hospitals. My mother is not so well. See earlier accounts here: Above all, I am humbled by the diligence shown by the nursing staff as they try to keep their designated batch of […]

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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 […]

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