Opinion / Men, Women, Gender

Dead Cats Matter

This piece was first posted at the now defunct US website PunditWire. I had a lot of good stuff there, now lost to civilisation. So I’ll repost updated versions of some of my pieces here, to let them linger on the Internet a while longer. This one on ‘framing’ is […]

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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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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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Amazing Public Speaking! Or Not

Say you’re Mary, a woman executive. Clever. Doing well. Rising fast. Ambitious. Self-confident. I can do this! You give a TEDx talk. Fame! It turns out to be like many (most?) TEDx talks. The faux-jokey ‘strong start’. The almost desperate attempt to be NEW and INTERESTING. Over-rehearsed. Contrived. Formulaic. Not-so-subliminally […]

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South Africa, CHOGM, History, Brexit

Here’s my latest piece for DIPLOMAT. On apartheid, history and suchlike. Thus: Between 1987 and 1991 as apartheid at last ran out of road, I was First Secretary at the UK Embassy in South Africa. My youthful Embassy colleague was John Sawers, who went on to have a much grander career than […]

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Iran’s Democracy

Happy New Year! Great news from Iran. Many people there have Had Enough. In these circumstances where else to start but World Bank graphs? This is GDP per capita since 1970. Note how under the clueless rantings of successive Ayatollahs Iran has managed to spend the nearly four decades since […]

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Building Peace in Bosnia

Right. Here is a major contribution by me to the oral history of the modern Balkans, in the form of a discussion with Susan Coleman of The Peace Building Podcast. Susan and I met when we did some training workshops for senior Afghan women in Tajikistan last year. Susan is […]

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Diana, Princess of Wales: Bosnia

As we approach the twentieth anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales on 31 August and the world pores over its memories, it becomes appropriate to describe what happened during her visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina if only for the sake of historical exactitude. Let’s set the scene. […]

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The Diplomacy of Ghost in The Shell

Ignore the new version. The 1995 anime Ghost in the Shell is the real thing. See this extended sequence of wonderful drawing and colour, included for no obvious reason other than to show wonderful drawing and colour: The ‘star’ is Major Kusanagi of Section 9, a special police unit. Kusanagi is a […]

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