06 Mar 2014
March 6, 2014

My Interview with Russia Today RT

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I followed up on my previous two posts with an interview for Russia Today, yesterday. ‘Russia has a legitimate interest in Ukraine crisis’ This is strange how the EU has overwhelmingly encouraged events to topple an elected government in the Ukraine in spite of the fact that it will clearly antagonize Russia, Scottish MP Eric.. read more →

02 Feb 2014
February 2, 2014

Michael Gove and the cheeky inspector


Scotsman Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Education for England and, you know, a politician, is being ‘accused’ by the Liberal Democrats of being ‘political’ in the way he does his job. Politicians close to politician David Laws, Gove’s Lib Dem departmental no.2, have been saying stuff. Laws “is furious” about this whole business of.. read more →

The ‘Lobbying Bill’ came through the House of Commons yesterday (here are the explanatory notes – you can navigate from there to the actual bill if you fancy it). The government says the aim of the bill is to make lobbying more transparent. Naturally, some opponents think the government’s true intentions are not what it.. read more →

28 Oct 2013
October 28, 2013

Stephen Deans’ resignation


Grangemouth is moving into a phase where 1600 jobs at Ineos, and the many thousands more in the local supply chain, are more secure than they have been for years.  What workers need now is decent, intelligent representation. For now, Stephen Deans’ resignation was inevitable, and it’s a shame anyone has to lose their job,.. read more →

17 Oct 2013
October 17, 2013

United in Calamity


The stand-off at Grangemouth between employer Ineos and union Unite has led to the chemical plant’s temporary shut-down.  Unite says the shutdown is ‘economic vandalism’ – Ineos says it’s because Unite’s continuing threat of industrial action means shut-down is the safest option.  Both statements reflect the standard public posturing which happens around industrial negotiations.  But what’s actually.. read more →

17 Sep 2013
September 17, 2013

Veiled Speech

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I studied religion at university and immediately before I became an MP I worked at the then Commission for Racial Equality. As an MP, I’ve given a lot of thought to how religious belief can be accommodated in our largely secular society, where equality is often held in direct opposition to it. The latest stress-point.. read more →

A few years ago, in the good old days of Tony Blair, I was the Labour Party’s link man with sister parties across the world; particularly Turkey. I learned about the politics of Turkey by meeting with most of the senior players there on a regular basis. And while my main interest in Turkey today.. read more →

All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) at the UK Houses of Parliament are formed by MPs and Peers with an interest in a particular country or subject.  Here’s the current list.  In general, the groups lobby for or about the thing which is on their name and some receive funding, usually to cover administration and some.. read more →

18 Dec 2012
December 18, 2012

Europe’s benign dictatorships

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Today’s FT (p.6, Paywall) reports Italy’s 87 year-old President Napolitano bemoaning the early end of prime minister Mario Monti’s administration and ‘blaming’ former prime minister Berslusconi’s supporters. There are huge issues at stake, he says; “not just a bundle of votes for this or that party”.  ‘Neutral’ Napolitano is basically making the case for benign.. read more →

14 Nov 2012
November 14, 2012


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The Republic of Guinea’s Conde administration has responded to last week’s murder of the Head of the country’s Treasury.  Aissatou Boiro had been commissioned by the president to investigate graft within the administration and was shot dead in her car by men in military uniform. read more →