Johnson’s Britain and the price of breaking international law

12 September 2020

The moral and political decay of Boris Johnson’s government has now marked a new low. It has been forced to admit publicly that it is willing to break an important international agreement signed and ratified less than a year earlier. The price of this is already significant and, unless it is stopped, will become much heavier. Read more.

Johnson’s Britain and the price of breaking international law2020-09-12T14:32:58+01:00

US election: Democrats v. Anti-democrats

4 September 2020

‘The danger is now clear: Trump is destroying democracy in broad daylight.’ Such is the heading of Jonathan Freedland’s column in The Guardian today. Few writers could have summed up this frightening threat with more eloquence and authority. I urge all visitors to this site to read this article.

At very low cost, the US election campaign can be followed in detail via the digital edition of The New York Times. Students, I believe, can get an even lower rate than the one I am paying. Visit this page.

US election: Democrats v. Anti-democrats2020-09-04T18:56:37+01:00

Hostile takeover: Foreign Office swallows Development ministry

2 September 2020

First it was the Foreign Office (FO), then it evolved into the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), and today it becomes – as foreshadowed by Boris Johnson on 16 June – Britain’s ‘super-department for international affairs’, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). Was this a good idea? Read more.

Hostile takeover: Foreign Office swallows Development ministry2020-09-03T08:16:01+01:00

Russia Report finally disgorged

21 July 2020

After nine months since it was cleared for publication by the British Intelligence Community (IC) but then withheld by Boris Johnson’s government, the Russia Report has finally been released. Read more.

Russia Report finally disgorged2020-07-26T08:29:19+01:00

An honorary consul in the pandemic

7 July 2020

On 2 July 2020 I received an email from Razvan Constantinescu, the energetic Romanian Honorary-Consul General for the south-west of England based in Bristol and president of the Bristol Consular Corps. This told me how the Covid 19 pandemic first revolutionised the nature of his work load, and then reduced it to a ‘walk in the park’. Read more.

An honorary consul in the pandemic2020-07-07T18:43:34+01:00

The hole in the fence

14 June 2020

I am a keen gardener, and during the lockdown I had the great good fortune to be allowed by our neighbour to take over the care of her very large, tree-lined, and blissfully quiet garden. The weather was also unusually good, so I spent on average 6 hours a day working in it through late March, April and May. I could have wished for nothing more. Read more.

The hole in the fence2020-06-14T16:53:30+01:00

EU-UK video-conferencing. All for show?

12 June 2020

The future relationship negotiations between Britain and the EU, which commenced on 3 March 2020, teach many lessons in the art of negotiation. Among these are the obvious value of certain kinds of deadline and the less obvious value of publicly announcing ‘red lines’ before talks start. For present purposes I shall concentrate on what they reveal about video-conferencing and whether it has all been for show. Read more.

EU-UK video-conferencing. All for show?2020-07-30T12:18:03+01:00

Pandemic boost for video-conferencing?

14 March 2020

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, it has been announced that the second round of face-to-face talks on the UK’s new relationship with the EU, due to take place in London next week with the arrival of an EU delegation of over 100 trade experts, has been cancelled. Video-conferencing has been officially suggested as a possible alternative. Read more.

Pandemic boost for video-conferencing?2020-06-05T13:48:56+01:00

Sacoolas, extradition and diplomatic immunity

27 January 2020

The US Department of State has announced its conclusion, without even a whiff of supporting argument, that requiring Anne Sacoolas to return to the UK to face a criminal charge would set a precedent that would weaken diplomatic law. This is the opposite of the truth. Read more.

Sacoolas, extradition and diplomatic immunity2020-06-03T13:46:33+01:00

The Perm Rep and the unsigned letter

24 October 2019

A recent development in Brexit has provided interesting evidence of the role of ambassadors in clarifying their governments’ intentions, however contradictory they might be. Read more.

The Perm Rep and the unsigned letter2020-06-03T13:52:53+01:00
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