Opinion / British Politics and Society

History and Diplomacy

My latest piece at DIPLOMAT looks at history: … After you’ve made your weary way around planet earth for some six decades, you start to grasp that beneath the torrent of events, there lie deep trends and rhythms. Take, for example, those YouTube videos of the changing map of Europe. […]

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Brexit and Speeches

Here is a quite splendid and magisterial view of the rise and rise of Brexit as seen through many different speeches down the decades, written by John O’Sullivan. John has been tackling this question ever since the UK joined the EU. He has form: I first became a Brexiteer (or, […]

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Brexit: So, Farewell Then EU

Blimey. It’s hard to grasp. Today the UK leaves the European Union. BREXIT. Nearly 50 years. Thanks, but no thanks. Enough is enough. I recall with shame my quite useless performance in a walk-on debate role at the Oxford Union back in 1975 when we had our first EU referendum, nay […]

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Sir Roger Scruton

So so sad to hear that Sir Roger Scruton has died. As readers here know, I have been working for an MA in Philosophy on Sir Roger’s programme at the University of Buckingham. He had his cancer diagnosis soon after our 2018/19 formal seminar series concluded last summer. I’d heard […]

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Remembering Alyson Bailes (2)

You’ll recall my tribute to the late Alyson Bailes, perhaps the brainiest diplomat of All Time. The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography asked me to write their entry on her, and here it now is as posted today. There’s rightly a strong factual format to these ODNB entries, many of […]

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PS752 – Blown Up Unintentionally?

It’s now clear(er) that Ukrainian International Airlines flight PS752 was hit by Iranian missiles soon after it took off from Tehran. One line of argument is that this was done ‘unintentionally’ or ‘accidentally’. What might that mean? Consider some options: A bolt of lightning hits the Iranian missile systems, causing […]

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Remembering Lady Thatcher (Again)

To mark the tenth anniversary on 13 January of the unveiling of a portrait of Lady Thatcher, here again is my piece from then about that fine event. It was posted over at the late lamented PunditWire site that has vanished from the Internet * * * * * Several […]

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Vulnerable Speechwriters

So here’s a nice question for the new decade that came my way today. Is THIS how I should present myself to my fellow speechwriters? I’m Charles, I used to be in the Foreign Office a long time ago, but everything has moved on now. I’m really here to listen […]

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Brexit: WGO

My latest piece at DIPLOMAT ponders the mysteries of Brexit: In honour of Brexit, I have invented a fine new international acronym: WGO. Not the World Gangster Organisation. Nor the Women Gender Option. Not even (yet) the Western Gulag Office. WGO stands for the core question that needs to be […]

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Diplomatic Immunity and Anna Sacoolas

Back from my travels. While I was on the road I managed a piece for the Telegraph on the issues surrounding diplomatic immunity in general and the tragic death of Harry Dunn in particular. Thus: The idea of diplomatic immunity goes back two thousand years. The central idea is that […]

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