Opinion / British Politics and Society

Ukraine v Russia: Negotiations (2)

My previous post here opined on the broad features of any eventual ‘negotiations’ between Ukraine and Russia: One of the really key ideas in any negotiation between parties involved in a military conflict is this: You never win more at the negotiation table than you control on the ground.  But there’s […]

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World War Three

My latest DIPLOMAT piece – what if World War Three has started but we haven’t realised? So here we are (at the time of writing this) in mid-January 2022. As usual the British media are agog and aghast at various world issues.  The legal machinations of Prince Andrew.  Australia’s COVID […]

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The End of the Soviet Union

My DIPLOMAT piece on how the Soviet Union collapsed. A subject with now a certain topicality as V Putin flails around hoping to create some sort of USSR 2.0? The Berlin Wall came down in late 1989, prompting tumultuous democratic changes across the European communist space. Two Moscows competed to […]

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Zoom Diplomacy

Then there’s this one on the zany new world of Zoom diplomacy: Legend has it that in a room in Number Ten one such special telephone sat unused, to the point where no-one could remember why it was there. One day to the shared consternation of both Prime Minister and […]

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COVID-19 and (The End of) Human Rights

You may have missed some of my recent pieces for DIPLOMAT. So try this one: This one on Covid-19 and the Strange Death of Human Rights: Enter COVID-19. It turns out that the Enlightenment and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and almost everything else ever written about human rights […]

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Ukraine: Russia’s Death-Cult

In Budapest this week I learned that an Estonian diplomat recently asked someone from the inner circle of Putin ideologues where all this latest Russian aggressive posturing and behaviour were going to end. “It ends when you stop us”. * * * * * The key features of the current […]

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COVID-19 Unmasked

How to tell if the state compelling us to walk around wearing moist unhygienic masks looking like muzzled dogs makes a scrap of difference in ‘fighting’ (sic) COVID-19? Here’s a study (via a piece posted by Robert Zimmerman) that had unusually controlled conditions (US marines). His piece suggests that masks […]

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Last Night of The Proms

Back in 2014 I briefed readers on my interpreting adventures addressing the tumultuous mainly Polish audience for Last Night of The Proms in Krakow: This is a jolly annual gala occasion where Krakow Poles gather en masse lustily to sing Land of Hope and Glory and wave Union Flags and generally have […]

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Passive Aggression, Full Stop

OMG whatever next snowflake teenagers are being triggered by FULL STOPS. Say (who else?) linguists: The debate was reignited after writer Rhiannon Cosslett tweeted: ‘Older people – do you realise that ending a sentence with a full stop comes across as sort of abrupt and unfriendly to younger people in an […]

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Much More EU: That 2020 Budget Negotiation

Surely the EU was going to use its massive new COVID19/Budget negotiations to spank ill-behaved Hungary and Poland for their persistent rule-of-law failings? After all, surely you don’t get lots of EU money without sticking tightly to basic rules? Seems not! Hungary and Poland arguably emerge as the biggest winners. […]

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