Opinion / Philosophy

Zoom Diplomacy

Then there’s this one on the zany new world of Zoom diplomacy: Legend has it that in a room in Number Ten one such special telephone sat unused, to the point where no-one could remember why it was there. One day to the shared consternation of both Prime Minister and […]

Continue Reading

COVID-19 and (The End of) Human Rights

You may have missed some of my recent pieces for DIPLOMAT. So try this one: This one on Covid-19 and the Strange Death of Human Rights: Enter COVID-19. It turns out that the Enlightenment and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and almost everything else ever written about human rights […]

Continue Reading

COVID-19 Unmasked

How to tell if the state compelling us to walk around wearing moist unhygienic masks looking like muzzled dogs makes a scrap of difference in ‘fighting’ (sic) COVID-19? Here’s a study (via a piece posted by Robert Zimmerman) that had unusually controlled conditions (US marines). His piece suggests that masks […]

Continue Reading

Censored by Twitter

My first post here in a while. We’re planning to move house after some 13 years here, and then it was busy again and the weeks flit by. Have you heard of Benford’s Law? Me neither. It turns out that it’s a way of exploring ‘unfabricated’ numbers. The gist of […]

Continue Reading

Passive Aggression, Full Stop

OMG whatever next snowflake teenagers are being triggered by FULL STOPS. Say (who else?) linguists: The debate was reignited after writer Rhiannon Cosslett tweeted: ‘Older people – do you realise that ending a sentence with a full stop comes across as sort of abrupt and unfriendly to younger people in an […]

Continue Reading

Hungary v Brussels

Veteran readers here (if any such still exist) will recall my Basic Theory Of Explaining Almost Everything, namely that for any issue only two questions matter: Who decides? Who decides who decides? See eg this DIPLOMAT article looking at Bosnia, Brexit, migration, UN Security Council reform and other big topics […]

Continue Reading

Poland Presidential Elections

Poland is about to have a second-round run-off in an important Presidential election. Incumbent President Andrzej Duda of Law and Justice is in a tight race with Rafał Trzaskowski (Civic Platform) the Mayor of Warsaw. This is typically presented by the chatterati as quite a civilisational battle: nasty reactionary xenophobic […]

Continue Reading

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 […]

Continue Reading

Chess and Sportsmanship

Remember this one from 2011 on India’s cricketing sportsmanship? The amazing thing here was that at this point of the match, Bell was crushing the Indian bowling and had turned the whole match strongly in England’s favour. So to allow him to continue when the Indians could easily have said […]

Continue Reading

#COVID19 – Endless Lockdown Madness

Back in April as the #lockdown began to bite I wrote about measuring: … What’s the baseline  test in such cases for measuring what categories exist and how our language and practice and laws deal with them? What claims make sense? And so to #COVID19. Might the current lockdown and generalised […]

Continue Reading
Older Entries