Opinion / British Politics and Society

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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The Philosophy of Diplomacy

Here is my latest DIPLOMAT magazine piece, on applying philosophy to current affairs: Plato posed questions that stay with us today. Is there an ideal way to organise society? How should a society take decisions? How best to ensure that those decisions are wise? For much of the next 2,000 […]

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Darroch and Diplomacy (3)

My two previous posts explained some of the ‘internal’ technique issues arising from Sir Kim’s Darroch resignation as UK Ambassador to Washington. How have our leaders dealt with it? Badly. One key moment was the televised debate between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt as the vie to become the next […]

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Darroch and Diplomacy (2)

Imagine that you have invited a friend to stay in your house for a few months. All proceeds nicely. Then suddenly you read in the local papers that your friend has been sending emails to his friends describing in some accurate detail the failings of your house and making sharp, […]

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Darroch and Diplomacy (1)

No sooner is my back turned in deep Jersey meeting putative in-laws than a remarkable diplomatic scandal-drama erupts and Sir Kim Darroch ends up resigning as UK Ambassador to the USA. No-one else has analysed all this sensibly, so I must have a shot. In fact several shots in successive […]

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Junk Management

My latest piece at DIPLOMAT looks at how performance is assessed and rewarded (or not) in the modern public sector. Despite (or maybe to compensate for?) the horror that is the modern British government of sullen bureaucracy and shabby clothes, British diplomats tend to work hard and loyally. They trudge […]

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Gender Categories and Philosophy

Here’s a question. What are some philosophical aspects of the increasingly bewildering ‘gender identity’ battlefield? Here is a transgender weight-lifter setting new records: The organization Save Women’s Sports also drew attention to Gregory on Facebook. “Mary was born a man and is very proud of this cool new trophy from […]

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Diplomatic Protocol Disasters

Time for a handy round-up of some excellent diplomatic protocol shockers. ‘Protocol’ at the highest level of state and in wider international contexts is interesting because it features all sorts of ‘solemnity’, dignity, respect, deference and other lofty virtues that have their place when the time is right. So when […]

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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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