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October 26, 2014 4 Comments

Ebola: hysteria, nursing, reporting and courage

An American nurse flies home to the US from treating Ebola patients in west Africa and, in her own words, is subjected to treatment akin to that meted out to highly dangerous criminals. At one point Kaci Hickox was subjected to an eight-car police convoy moving with sirens blaring. And when American cop car sirens wail, boy, do they wail.

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September 24, 2014 5 Comments

Last of the Mitford sisters: farewell to Debo Devonshire

With her passing a certain kind of style and age has passed. I feel lucky to have known her.

September 20, 2014 132 Comments

The going of Alex Salmond

We might have been sitting in an undertaker’s waiting room. Something was afoot. You could have cut the air with a knife.

September 19, 2014 10 Comments

The unmentionable House of Lords: key to a federal Britain?

Constitutional reform proposals are flooding out of No. 10 (without much consultation it seems) in the wake of the Scottish referendum. So is now the time for much needed House of Lords reform?

Scotland’s message to Westminster

The referendum campaign has been an intoxicating democratic exercise in democracy. It represented something of a revolt against the Westminster elite.

September 15, 2014 39 Comments

Scots referendum: how democratic is the process?

A simple majority in this referendum will decide whether Britain breaks up or not – and our legislature will have had no say whatever in what could be a major constitutional change.

September 12, 2014 14 Comments

Ian Paisley, one bride, and four political enemies

It was the mid-1970s. In my taxi, alongside Ian Paisley, I’d got a clean sweep of some of Northern Ireland’s most hostile political rivals.

September 11, 2014 12 Comments

Our obligation to the memory of the victims of 9/11

Have we learned from 9/11? From my own experience reporting sporadically across the region for over three decades, my fear is that we have not.

September 7, 2014 11 Comments

Iran begins to emerge from three decades of isolation

Iran’s Chief Negotiator Abbas Araghchi tells me that there is a genuine negotiating bond of respect with the United States, but the negotiations are hard.

September 3, 2014 12 Comments

Islamic State turning old enemies into new allies

Amid the rise of and widespread exhibition of the vile inhumanity of the Islamic State, has been the tender opening of dialogue between two vast regional enemies – Iran and Saudi Arabia.

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