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Published: May 09 , 2019
Author: Stephen White

‘Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed’. This guideline, part of Article 50 of the Treaty of European Union*, has been a continuous soundbite during the Brexit negotiations. But two other international negotiations which were in the news this week reveal a different gloss on this guideline, which although it might seem both logically and morally right can be much more flexible than at first sight. Firstly the US-China trade negotiations. All was going well...

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Published: Apr 10 , 2019
Author: Stephen White

Everyone can relate to that devastating feeling when the brilliant presentation you intended to make goes horribly wrong. The symptoms are easy to spot - the audience fails to engage, the negotiating counter-party refuses to buy into the rationale, the boss is obviously underwhelmed. So surely we should have sympathy with Mrs May. Apparently, she was...

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Published: Nov 15 , 2018
Author: Stephen White

On August 30th, mid-evening, our home was broken into. We were away overnight. Fortunately, we had recently installed a video doorbell which alerted me about the activity via my mobile phone, and which recorded footage of the offender trying to jimmy open the front door, failing, and then disappearing around the back of the house. He climbed onto...

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Published: Jan 18 , 2018
Author: Stephen White

Should foreign aid be traded for domestic support? Just before Christmas, when almost every member of the United Nations voted in favour of a resolution condemning the US decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move its embassy there, President Trump retaliated: ’We’ll save a lot. We don’t care. But this isn’t like it used to be where they could vote against you and then you pay them hundreds of millions of dollars. We’re not going to be taken advantage of any longer’. On...

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Published: Oct 12 , 2017
Author: Stephen White

At the time of writing – Wednesday afternoon 11th October 2017 – there is claimed to be confusion about the Declaration of Independence of Catalonia. The widespread global understanding is that the President of the Catalonian Parliament unilaterally declared independence last night, and immediately suspended it to enable negotiations to take place. But apparently, this understanding does not pertain in Madrid. This morning the Spanish Prime Minister...

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Qualifications

“When it comes to the qualifications we demand of our president, to start with, we need someone who will take the job seriously.” Michelle Obama. Don’t stop reading - this blog is not about Donald Trump. In the run up to the election of a new Labour Party Leader 4 years ago, the four candidates were invited by LBC radio to quiz each other. You can see the questions to Jeremy Corbyn here. There are two points of note. Firstly, when asked if he wants to be Prime Minister he ducks the question several times, instead referring to the ideological changes he wants to make within the Labour Party. Secondly when asked about his qualifications and experience to be leader of a major political party his answer is objectively underwhelming – before being an MP, he says, he had been a local councillor for 10 years. I don’t think it is difficult to relate those answers in 2015 to the current divided state of the Labour Party.

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