‘Brexit: a tragic national error’

1 January, 2021 Thus the headline on The Guardian’s eloquent editorial today, New Year’s Day 2021, the day on which the UK starts life outside the European Union. I have nothing to add to it – except be sure to click on the link ‘led by journalists’ (hell, there it is, I've provided it myself) [...]

Boris Johnson takes UK down

11 December, 2020 Brexit head-banger in chief, first liar of the United Kingdom, and second-rate comedian, Boris Johnson, is primed to lead the UK, with sickening relish and grinning the while, into the abyss.

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, [...]

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?

American diplomacy in crisis

29 July 2020 Over the last three and a half years the Trump White House has steadily inflicted serious damage on the US Department of State.

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.

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Where have all the health attachés gone?

15 May, 2020 An influential article of 2014 noted that health attachés were appointed shortly after the Second World War and were thereafter assigned by ‘a growing number of countries … to work in embassies in countries of strategic importance.’ Is this true? If not, why not? And does it matter anyway?

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 [...]

Choosing the wrong ambassador

17 January 2020 Recent publicity about the hostile reaction in South Korea to Harry Harris, appointed as US ambassador at Seoul by Donald Trump in June 2018, serves to underline an important point:

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.

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

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