Category: “Foreign Policy

With the world as it is, strong leadership is easier said than done

Posted on 21 September 2011 | 8:09am

To a posh Knightsbridge hotel last night, and the launch of the Harvard Business Review in London, which they chose to celebrate with a discussion between me and BT chairman Sir Michael Rake. Nice guy, and very smart. At one point the moderator, the splendidly named Adi Ignatius, chastised us gently for ‘agreeing too much’. […]

Remembering September 11

Posted on 11 September 2011 | 7:09am

September 11 2001 was without doubt one of the most extraordinary of the many remarkable days I spent with Tony Blair. I’ve printed below my diary entry for that day. Within it, I make the point that in the face of terrorist attacks, world leaders like to say these events will not make them change […]

Cameron needs to take more care of police and military

Posted on 12 August 2011 | 12:08pm

David Cameron’s self-confidence is a trait much commented upon by those who see him close up. Given the sheer scale of issues a PM has to deal with, and the relentlessness of the pressure, it is no bad thing that he possesses it in plenty. But it is not a good quality if it crosses […]

Loose ends for James Murdoch, Coulson’s vetting and Cameron’s false allegations re me

Posted on 21 July 2011 | 2:07pm

A few thoughts on some of the many loose ends still threatening to stifle the full truth or, perhaps, strangle some of the key players in the phone hacking scandal. First, for James Murdoch – I am finding it very hard to understand how on Tuesday he could reveal his shock at learning that News […]

TB and Prince Charles in today’s Guardian – some context

Posted on 2 July 2011 | 6:07am

It must say something for the media’s belief in the public’s insatiable diet for Royal stories that for two volumes running, The Guardian has led its serialisation of my diaries on Royal stories. With volume 2, Power and the People, it was the arrangements for Princess Diana’s funeral, and the vexed issue of whether the […]

The risks in getting balance between human rights and Chinese trade and power

Posted on 28 June 2011 | 9:06am

Not speaking a word of Mandarin, I find it hard to work out exactly how hacked off Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao was with David Cameron’s stance on human rights yesterday. ‘Finger-pointing’ is certainly not an everyday diplomatic word, but I just have to think of the foreign languages I do know to realise how difficult […]

In light of Robert Gates’ speech, Cameron should set European defence reform as major objective

Posted on 11 June 2011 | 9:06am

By far the most significant UK political event yesterday was the speech by outgoing US Defence Secretary Robert Gates. His warning to European allies that they risked military irrelevance, and that the US could not perpetually be relied upon to fund European security was blunt and timely. Of the many surprises about the way the […]

On Cheryl, Cameron’s kitchen and why Obama rebuffed Osborne’s plans on the deficit

Posted on 26 May 2011 | 8:05am

I am hoping the sound of helicopters above means the President is on his way to France, able to escape Britain before he and the Prime Minister get asked about what Cheryl Cole’s exit from American X Factor says about the special-essential relationship. Be in no doubt – had the departure of the People’s Panellist […]

Public want more variety and less monoprism than media gives them – a despatch from Fowey

Posted on 18 May 2011 | 1:05pm

To remind you of another Rule One of communications – never confuse media opinion with public opinion. And Rule 1a – always expect better, more interesting and more varied questions from the public. If ever I do a media interview these days there will usually come a point where the journalist shifts in his chair, […]

Nothing to add to my Iraq Inquiry evidence

Posted on 13 May 2011 | 11:05am

As with previous inquiries, I decided on being called as a witness to the Chilcot Inquiry  that I should say nothing beyond my own evidence. That was harder when earlier inquiries were going on, because I was still working for the government, and regularly briefing the media, but it is straightforward enough now. I have […]