Opinion / General Interest

President Putin’s UN Speech

Let’s look at President Putin’s UN speech, as given by the Kremlin website in English here. For public-speaking fanatics it’s interesting to compare the Kremlin English version with a version as it came through the interpreters – here. He quickly gets into his stride, explaining why the veto power of […]

Continue Reading

President Obama’s UN Speech

Here is President Obama’s speech at the UN. Too long and in places even rambling, but it makes a broad cogent case for intelligent realism. On style, the speechwriters as ever strain for over-obvious rhetorical effect and drift into fatuous mixed metaphors. Look at these awful lines: Today, we see […]

Continue Reading

Srebrenica: Serbian President Writes to The Queen?

The 20th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacres during the Bosnia conflict is prompting renewed interest in what happened and why. To mark the occasion the UK government has tabled a draft UN Security Council resolution on the issue. The current UK Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Edward Ferguson, explains the […]

Continue Reading

Poland Votes Again

On Sunday Poland votes in the second round of the 2015 presidential elections, with current president Bronislaw Komorowski fighting to fend off the challenge of a younger Andrzej Duda. My account of the first round is at Poland presidential elections 2015. On Sunday evening I’ll be at the excellent Topolski Bar […]

Continue Reading

Sturgeon Memo: I Was Right

Remember that fleeting row about the leaked record of conversation between SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon and the French Ambassador that amused the UK general election campaign for at least ten minutes? First it wasn’t even a memo at all – it was a fiendish ZINOVIEV MEMO INVENTED BY MI5 aimed at […]

Continue Reading

Annoying (and Other) Words: Measured

Don’t you hate the creepy expression reaching out, where asking or contacting will do just fine? Thank you for reaching out to me. Let’s reach out to the other side. It has all sorts of subtle or sly or just annoying meanings, depending on context. The key thing about it […]

Continue Reading

Australia v Indonesia: Tricky Negotiation

My piece on the withdrawing by Australia of its ambassador to Indonesia following the execution in Indonesia of two Australian citizens described this move in rather uncharitable terms: The real problem with withdrawing an ambassador ‘in protest’ is that it actually is a gesture of weakness, of faux toughness  You […]

Continue Reading

Australia v Indonesia: Wise Diplomacy?

The firing-squad execution of two Australian citizens (and others) by the Indonesian authorities following their conviction on drags smuggling charges has caused official dismay and anger in Australia. And Australia has responded by recalling (withdrawing?) its Ambassador. Here is an account of some differing views on how far this makes […]

Continue Reading

Diplomatic Protocol: Hits and Misses

I have emerged from my various Public Speaking sessions with different United Nations colleagues, Only to be plunged into a new venture: an online course on Diplomatic Protocol and Etiquette. Today’s principles of diplomatic protocol including the idea of diplomatic immunity itself trace back over 2000 years. The core principle […]

Continue Reading

Public Speaking: Listen to Aunt May!

This afternoon I finished my first online course for the United Nations on the general theme of drafting talking-points and speechwriting. Running any course through successive webinars poses interesting new challenges. Above all, how to get the participants to do something useful between sessions and during the sessions. In this […]

Continue Reading
Newer EntriesOlder Entries