French secular values may not be shared by all of the country's citizens (Photo: Jean-Sebastien/Getty)

French secularism is starting to feel the strain

23 January 2015 12:28

France is to institute something called a National Secularity Day, which will happen on 9th December every year, when French schools will remind pupils how to sing the national anthem,… Continue reading

A Dutch slave ship arrives in Virginia, 1619 (Engraving from Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Happy ‘anti-slavery day’ to Clapham Christians, et al

18 October 2014 17:29

October 18 is ‘anti human-trafficking’ day by 2007 Act of European Parliament; along with ‘anti-slavery day’ by 2010 Act of UK Parliament. So there’s that, for the 29.8 million people worldwide estimated… Continue reading


Sexism is ‘in your face’ in Britain because it’s up for discussion

16 April 2014 16:17

Sexism is more ‘in your face’ in Britain than in other countries, a United Nations investigator has claimed. I can see why the UN’s Rashida Manjoo might think this –… Continue reading

William Hague led this afternoon's Commons debate on Europe. Picture: Getty

William Hague: Somalia, Pakistan and Afghanistan is where the threat to the British homeland is coming from

3 February 2013 12:29

On the Sunday Politics, William Hague confirmed that the greatest terrorist threat to the British homeland come from Somalia, Pakistan and Afghanistan. But he argued that without intervention, the Sahel… Continue reading

Cameron in Monrovia this morning, one of the many pictures from his Africa tour being Tweeted out by No10.

The Cameron doctrine: Britain’s new foreign policy

1 February 2013 9:17

David Cameron is continuing his tour of Africa today and is — according to the New York Times — ‘boasting a sheaf of commitments to new partnerships in the fields… Continue reading

Government soldiers entered Timbuktu earlier this week, ending 10 months of occupation by rebels. Image: Getty

Two sides to the story in Mali

31 January 2013 10:24

It is lovely to have Timbuktu back in the news, a welcome whiff of backwards exoticism and savagery. I am still not sure yet about Mali, and what we’re doing… Continue reading

Troops enter Ansongo, a town south of the northern Malian city of Gao. Picture: Getty

David Cameron visits Algeria for talks on ‘generational struggle’

30 January 2013 8:55

The Prime Minister is visiting Algeria today to pay his respects to the victims of the hostage crisis. He will also hold talks with Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal, and… Continue reading

French Mirage 2000 D aircrafts flying over Mali. Photo: ABACA/PA Images

The Americans accuse the French of being too ambitious in Mali as British involvement grows

26 January 2013 12:16

It might have been pushed down the news agenda this week by David Cameron’s Europe speech and the bad economic news, but the situation in Mali is offering us a… Continue reading

A woman on a cart passes a sugar cane field burning in preparation for the sugar cane harvest near Niono, Mali. Picture: Getty

Mali is a British concern because it is a European concern

24 January 2013 12:11

Aaron Ellis makes a good point: the comparison between Mali and Afghanistan is flawed. But I disagree with him as to why. Afghanistan was a failed state long before al-Qaeda… Continue reading

Malian soldiers patrol in a street of Diabaly. Picture: Getty

Mali is not another Afghanistan

24 January 2013 11:52

Why should we worry if jihadists control a poor, landlocked country thousands of miles away? As the French push on with the ‘reconquest’ of Mali, there’s a feeling here that… Continue reading

Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal, speaking during the recent hostage crisis. Image: Getty

There is nothing new about Islamism in Africa

22 January 2013 13:12

The Algerian hostage crisis is over and the Prime Minister has warned that the focus of the al-Qaeda’s franchise has shifted westwards. In his statement on the situation, he was… Continue reading

David Cameron giving his statement on Algeria in the Commons today.

David Cameron redoubles his commitment to interventionism

21 January 2013 16:27

David Cameron’s Commons statement on Algeria just now was the most interventionist speech he has made since the one he delivered at the Foreign Policy Centre during his 2005 leadership… Continue reading

French Mirage 2000 D aircrafts flying over Mali. Photo: ABACA/PA Images

Can the West solve a problem like Mali?

19 January 2013 12:08

I fear that we are all going to have to learn a lot about Mali and the Sahel—and fast. It is rapidly becoming the latest front in the war on… Continue reading

Tongolese troops being deployed to Mali Image: Getty

Mali could be the gamble that defines Hollande’s presidency

17 January 2013 18:16

The crisis in Mali is yet another unintended consequence of the Arab Spring. Specifically, they are a result of the revolution in Libya, where Tuareg rebels who supported Gaddafi were forced… Continue reading

French Mirage 2000 D aircrafts flying over Mali. Photo: ABACA/PA Images

Mali: a Coffee House briefing

12 January 2013 23:17

David Cameron has today confirmed that UK troops will offer logistical “assistance” to those of France now fighting Islamic insurgents in northern Mali.  The below briefing outlines developments there so… Continue reading

British soldiers load French material including vehicles in a British army Boeing C-17 cargo aircraft. Photo: Getty

Could Mali become Cameron’s third war?

12 January 2013 22:57

For a man cutting the military budget so much, David Cameron does seem to like using the Armed Forces. His personal conviction to act in Libya played a major part… Continue reading


A few Easter questions

9 April 2012 12:11

Apologies for my absence from this area: I took my two boys away for an uplifting week of cycling on a windswept and pretty Dutch island. I suppose they might… Continue reading