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Published: Apr 09 , 2015
Author: Stephen White

Somewhat quietly last Thursday, several days after the expiry of an arbitrary deadline which had been set for the finalisation of a agreement on the future of Iran’s nuclear capability, a deal was announced. There was rejoicing on the streets of Teheran, ominous rumblings of discontent in Jerusalem and Riyadh, a touch of triumphalism in Washington, and near silence in London, Paris and Berlin. After all the conditioning we had received from the spokespeople and pundits it was probably impossible for there to have been any other outcome. So much ego had been invested on both sides of the table that to announce a failure or a deadlock would have shown up all the politicians involved as incompetent...

Published: Nov 27 , 2013
Author: Robin Copland

Scotland’s first minister, Alex Salmond has announced 24 March 2016 as the date for the country’s exit from the United Kingdom, should the Scottish people (or rather, those people resident in Scotland at 18 September 2014) vote for independence. It is a date redolent with historical significance for the historically-minded, for on that date in 1603, the union of the Scottish and English crowns took place and later, in 1707 on the same date, the Acts of Union were signed creating the United Kingdom of Great Britain...

Published: Nov 14 , 2013
Author: Stephen White

After the failure, albeit perhaps temporarily, of the negotiations in Geneva last weekend between the Iranian Foreign Minister and representatives of the superpowers over the future of Iran’s nuclear ambitions, US Secretary of State John Kerry gave an interview to the BBC. My interest was drawn to this extract...

Published: Oct 17 , 2013
Author: Stephen White

The Oxford English Dictionary defines charm as ‘the power or quality of delighting, attracting, or fascinating others’. It is a word which has been much used recently about the newly elected Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, in particular in connection with the speech he made to the United Nations General Assembly on September 24th. It is difficult to know how much the world’s perception of his charm is actually a reflection on the lack of this same quality in his predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad...

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I have just been the dutiful Dad and delivered the youngest one, Grace, back to Bristol with her boyfriend – both graduating students of the university there. They have decided to both stay on for a year (coincidence? I think not) and so it is the annual task of moving into a new flat (facilitated by yours truly) that this story is about.

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