Opinion / Writing and Language

Translating Polish into English

I previously have looked at some subtle issues of translating good Polish into good English: Take Polish. It has a (for most of us) unpronounceable idiom meaning (variously) within arm’s reach or so close you can touch it: na wyciągnięcie ręki. In a metaphorical sense it denotes something very close, in a […]

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#COVID19: Measuring Measurement

So, there I was all set to plunge into the fray at TEDxNCHLondon to opine on the broad if oddly titled subject of Activism in the Modern Day when the event was postponed for COVID19 reasons. I even had my snazzy PowerPoint more or less ready: Wait! How long is a metre? What […]

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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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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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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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The Philosophy of Games: VAR

Football (English-style) has a new companion – the video assisted referee (VAR). The proliferation and tumbling price of video technology have made it possible for plays and incidents in a football match to be scrutinised from many different angles at great speed, so that a referee not on the pitch […]

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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 (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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