Land of the free? I’ll take my chances

Sunday National, 21st November 2021. “Two nations separated by a common language” was how George Bernard Shaw described our relationship with the United States. In some ways, America can seem beguilingly accessible for English speakers. Through TV and film, we’re saturated in American culture. Other political systems are sealed away behind a wall of words. … Continue reading Land of the free? I’ll take my chances

Jean Valjean, lobbyist

Sunday National, 14th November 2021. It was the late Christopher Hitchens who first introduced me to the concept of a “trumbrel remark.” Writing in Slate magazine in 2008, Hitchens defined it as “an unguarded comment by an uncontrollably rich person, of such crass insensitivity that it makes the workers and peasants think of lampposts and … Continue reading Jean Valjean, lobbyist

Diplomacy with a Scottish face

Sunday National, 7th November 2021. “Show, don’t tell” storytellers say. The maxim applies in politics too. That’s why photos of the First Minister meeting various international dignitaries at the COP26 summit caused the staunchest of the staunch to experience a collective aneurism this week. You can imagine the chat in Tory central office: “devolution created … Continue reading Diplomacy with a Scottish face