Opinion / Africa

Sir John Sawers: the Limits of Security

Sir John Sawers has given a significant speech at King’s College London on the Limits of Security. Here is the ‘official’ website version. And here is my piece for Daily Telegraph Comment mentioning it with (as you can see) my disclaimer mentioning that I worked with Sir John on his speech, his first after […]

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Immigration: what if no-one is foreign any more?

My new piece for the Telegraph is on immigration. It turns on the distinction between people who enter the country by following the rules, and those who don’t: Immigrants into the UK fall into different broad categories. Rich people buying an exclusive UK pad. Foreigners ready to invest their money […]

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Dealing Effectively with Media Interviews

This week I have been rummaging around in my memory to find examples of where I did some good media interviews, and where things went awry for some reason or another. As if by magic, one high-profile but short-lived mess returned to my life today. I find South African journalist Peter […]

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Apartheid Lives

The heroic achievement of Nelson Mandela was to end apartheid‘s evil racial legal categorisations and associated injustice in South Africa, right? Alas not: The idea of defining and rewarding citizens by race continued. The argument was that drastic measures were needed to help the mass of people who had lost […]

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South Africa and Mandela

I have written three pieces about South Africa, Nelson Mandela and all that. Two for the Commentator. The first here: South Africa’s peaceful transition to democracy was indeed a miracle that captured the imagination of people all over the world. Fine, soaring sentiments. And quite untrue. Between 1985 and 1996 […]

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Sir Sydney Kentridge QC Retires

Sydney Kentridge QC is at last retiring. Here is a Wikipedia summary of his remarkable legal career. And here is my account of watching him in action in Bloemfontein back in 1988, when the case of the Sharpeville Six (six Africans sentenced to death for the ‘common purpose’ murder of […]

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The Slow Death of #BigAid

So there I was down at Bristol University at the weekend for the latest Bristol International Development Conference. An event impressive for the 200 or so people (mainly students, and overwhelmingly female) who turned out on a Saturday to mull over the practice and politics of development assistance under the […]

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Development Aid: The Tables are Turning

Watch this: A superb sign that at long last Africa is grasping that development aid should just go away.        

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Back to Africa

Here is my latest DIPLOMAT article, this one about my own modest experiences in Africa: Malan’s book concluded with the staggering true story of Neil and Creina Alcock. Neil Alcock was a white farmer in Natal who dismayed his family and neighbours by getting involved with the local Zulu community, […]

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Crawford’s Diplomatic History at the Churchill Archives

I am entranced not only by the sound of my voice, but also by the sight of it. Here once again is my contribution to the Churchill Archives Centre in Cambridge, describing my long and ever-fascinating diplomatic career. Many points of interest here, including on South Africa’s not-so-peaceful transition away from […]

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