Geoff Berridge

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So far G.R. Berridge has created 117 blog entries.

A collective noun for diplomats

28 February 2024. There is no collective noun for diplomats in common usage, although some candidates for the title have surfaced over the years. Here I note these, consider some other possibilities and come to no serious conclusion.

The embassy that planned 13 toilets underground

11 February, 2024. In 2015 the Russian Embassy in the Republic of Ireland secured local government approval to quadruple its footprint. However, on 4 March 2020, without publicity, the central government in Dublin overrode this decision and gutted its plans. What were they and why was this action taken?

New London embassy for China?

27 January, 2024 China’s plans to build a much larger embassy in London on the site of the old Royal Mint Court near Tower Bridge appear to have been abandoned. Why did this happen and what lessons can be learned from the experience?

Gaza: Turkish mediation?

23 November 2023. The reasons for supposing that Turkey might emerge in pole position to mediate an end to the Israel-Hamas war should the opportunity ever arise.

China’s embassy in Ukraine

10 August 2023 Considerable attention has been focused on China’s participation in the Saudi-hosted talks at national security adviser level on Ukraine in Jedda over the weekend 5-6 August 2023, while Russia was not invited.

‘Agri-food-and drink attachés’ for endangered seats

23 July 2023 The crisply styled Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office has rediscovered and, in the modern way of things, rebranded the agricultural attaché. First installed in diplomatic missions after the First World War, not least those of the United States, this officer has re-appeared in some British missions abroad [...]

Email crash

20 July 2023 My old Virgin Media email account has crashed yet again, so - like many others - I have given up on it. Anyone wishing to reach me who has not received a change of address message can do so via the CONTACT form, at the right-hand end of the top horizontal [...]

Fleetwood Mac, ‘Perfect’ surprise

12 July 2023 About a week ago my friend and close neighbour, John Sandford-Smith, turned up at my door. In one hand he held a large tool I had lent him some time ago (he had forgotten I had told him I no longer needed it) and in the other [...]

Diplomatic Security under a Comparative Lens—Or Not?

Eugenio Cusumano, Christopher Kinsey, eds. Diplomatic Security: A Comparative Analysis. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2019. 280 pp. $65.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-1-5036-0898-6. “Diplomatic security” is the term now usually preferred to “diplomatic protection” for the steps taken by states to safeguard the fabric of their diplomatic and consular missions, the lives of their diplomatic and consular [...]

Barder, Brian, Brian Barder’s Diplomatic Diary

Barder, Brian, Brian Barder’s Diplomatic Diary, ed. Louise Barder (privately published: London, 2019), pp. 307. Paperback ISBN 978-1-944066-29-1; hardback ISBN 978-1-944066-25-3. Available from Amazon, as well as other booksellers. Sir Brian Barder, the senior British diplomat and author of the always sage and sometimes gripping What Diplomats Do, died in 2017 but, courtesy of the [...]

EU-UK negotiations: normal rules?

4 October 2019 The British government has at virtually the last minute submitted to the EU a detailed proposal on a new withdrawal agreement

Parliamentary democracy 11 – 0 Boris Johnson

24 September 2019 Today 11 justices of the UK Supreme Court unanimously declared the non-prime minister of the UK, Boris Johnson, to have unlawfully advised the Queen to suspend Parliament

Non-papers in Brexit negotiations

23 September 2019 On 19 September three ‘non-papers’ on the Irish backstop were submitted to the EU by the non-prime minister of Britain, Boris Johnson,

Room for Diplomacy: The history of Britain’s diplomatic buildings overseas, 1800-2000

Mark Bertram, Room for Diplomacy: The history of Britain’s diplomatic buildings overseas, 1800-2000, 2nd ed. (Spire Books: Salisbury, 2017), pp. 479 incl. index, ISBN 978-1-904965-54-1 Mark Bertram joined the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works after reading architecture at Cambridge and remained in the civil service as architect, project manager, administrator, estate manager and – [...]

If at first you don’t succeed …

4 September 2019 lie, lie and lie again. This is the maxim that, as usual, guided Boris Johnson’s behaviour in the House of Commons last night.

EU negotiations with Johnson a waste of time

30 July 2019 Even were Johnson’s new Tory government to be serious about negotiating a new Brexit deal with the EU before 31 October – which anyone who cares to look can see it almost certainly isn’t – it would be a waste of the EU’s time.

Darroch resignation. Who appoints a new ambassador?

12 July 2019 British foreign secretary and Tory leadership hopeful, Jeremy Hunt, yesterday told Foreign Office staff that ‘the UK government alone will determine appointments based on our national interest alone.’

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