Opinion / General Interest

Speechwriting for Leaders: Ferocious!

Back from watching the world from the fascinating vantage-point of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague. Imagine our surprise when we discovered that one of our Negotiation Skills specialist imaginary roleplays had been almost exactly what happened to OPCW inspectors at a tense suspected CW site in […]

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Jozef Oleksy: An Exotic Polish Politician

Very sad news this morning. Jozef Oleksy, one of Poland’s smartest politicians, has died. Oleksy (see a Wikipedia summary here) was one of those smart former communists (he was for a while a secret informer for Poland’s communist military intelligence) who smoothly made the transition to European social democracy after […]

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Bow Tie Panic Terror – Solved

Grappling with Bow Tie Panic Terror © as New Year’s Eve approaches? These are two good videos explaining how to avoid disaster. One is folksy and youthful (and British): Whereas this one is more professional/American but has handy animal tips (Parrot, Fish and Elephant):

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Putin Keynote Speech, 2014

Here is my new piece for PunditWire on Vladimir Putin’s State of the Nation speech. I previously added some other glosses on it here, with special focus on its sprawling mustiness: Otherwise the speech showed that a Russian president is no different from his Western counterparts when it comes to […]

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Back in the NHS

Attentive readers will recall my Near Death Experience in an NHS hospital back in 2011, and the thoughts it prompted on how a large UK hospital works: In one banal way of looking at it, the NHS is a huge quasi-shop. It has ‘customers’ who need ‘products’, so the key […]

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Polish State Visit 2004: Media Misery

On the subject of the media, HM Government made a serious effort to crank up positive publicity for the visit to London of Poland’s President Kwasniewski on a State Visit after Poland joined the European Union in 2004. The visit featured a fun photo-shoot swing by the London football ground where […]

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Dealing with the Media

Back from a lively session of specialist media training, featuring a no-holds-barred account of my own encounters with the media down the decades. Highlights included: my disastrous exchange with Peter Fabricius in South Africa on the day Mrs Thatcher resigned my first live broadcast on a global news network – […]

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EU Budget: That Chinese Alarm Clock

I haven’t ever published here before the full text of my legendary Chinese Alarm-Clock email about the then EU Budget negotiations that was leaked in late 2005 by someone senior (in the Treasury?) to the Sunday Times and caused a vast furore in Poland. It was a spoof speaking note […]

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G20 Summit: Putin, Sanctions and Ukraine

The G20 Summit in Australia ends. The assembled leaders start the long flights home. The results are in the communique, a classic example of a dull, badly written, important text: We have agreed on a set of voluntary leading practices to promote and prioritise quality investment, particularly in infrastructure. To […]

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Glossophobia – soon to be cured!

It turns out that there are all sorts of unexpected things that create panic or unease in people. Many of them have fancy scientific names: Fear of buttons                               Koumpounophobia Fear of doorknobs       […]

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