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One Good Thing We Are Leaving In Afghanistan (The Spectator Nov.2 2013)

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One Good Thing We Are Leaving In Afghanistan (The Spectator Nov.2 2013)

 (full length version to come)  Kabul A strange new institution is rising from the dust in the mountains west of Kabul. The foreigners here call it the Sandhurst in the Sand. Those who work at the new British-led military school, which welcomed its first cadets last week, prefer the more cumbersome ‘ANA-OA’, short for Afghan National [Read more…]

Postcard from ... Hargeysa, Somaliland (The World Today Oct 2013)

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No 1 African literary festival: Somaliland buzzing with expectation No one would claim that the Hargeysa International Book Fair presents a threat to the Jaipur Literary Festival or its ilk. It will be a while before the capital of the Somaliland Republic – a country yet to be recognized by the world’s Foreign Offices despite 23 [Read more…]

A Haven of Jollity and Calm (The Economist "Baobab" Aug. 21st 2013)

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SOMALILAND’S BOOK FAIR THE still unrecognised republic of Somaliland has been parading its de facto independence from its battered bigger brother, Somalia, with an international book fair in its capital, Hargeisa. Along with the reopening of a revamped international airport, the fair was intended to show the world that Somaliland is open for business, especially with [Read more…]

The Immigration Problems of "Cool Britannia" (Wall St Journal, Sept 21, 2013)

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Shakespeare wrote of England that it is “set in the silver sea, which serves it in the office of a wall, or as a moat defensive to a house, against the envy of less happier lands.” One result of that geographical happenstance is that the U.K. hasn’t faced the kind of immigration debate that roils the [Read more…]

Dogged Evolution (The Indian Quarterly, Winter 2012)

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Dogged Evolution (The Indian Quarterly, Winter 2012)

He has few friends. His alliances with human street dwellers are as informal and precarious as those of the first proto-dogs who guarded campfires in return for food. But for all his drab familiarity amid the untidiness of the urban landscape, the Indian street dog may be the subcontinent’s most under-appreciated zoological treasure. For the Indian street mutt [Read more…]

The High Tea Party (Commentary Magazine July/Aug 2013)

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It takes a lot to intimidate David Cameron, the ultra-confident “modernizing” leader of Britain’s Conservative Party. After all, he took in his stride the surprising humiliation of having to form a coalition with the Liberal Democrats—a third party which had never before known office—in order to become prime minister in 2010 and claimed, almost convincingly, that [Read more…]

Decline and Fall of the BBC? (Commentary Magazine April 2013)

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Admired around the world, and nowhere more than in the upper reaches of the American media, the British Broadcasting Corporation has long enjoyed the unstinting support of Britain’s metropolitan media elite, whose views it both forms and reflects. In the 1980s, Margaret Thatcher considered it institutionally hostile to her person as well as to her agenda. [Read more…]

"That's Your Cash Being Tossed Away..." (The Sunday Times, March 3 2013)

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That’s your cash tossed away with those aid leaflets The Urdu sign above the door of the one-room concrete building proclaimed it to be a government medical dispensary. Inside, it was an empty shell. When I asked my guides to this village in the Kalash valleys of northwest Pakistan where the medicines were and when the [Read more…]

The Great Aid Mystery (The Spectator 5/Jan/2013)

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The Great Aid Mystery (The Spectator 5/Jan/2013)

One of the more bizarre mysteries of contemporary British politics is the ironclad, almost fanatical intensity of the government’s commitment to foreign aid spending and the activities of DFID, the Department for International Development. It is bizarre because the Prime Minister talks about foreign aid as if it’s all about famine relief and saving children’s lives. [Read more…]

In Praise of Teatime (Verve Magazine, August 2012)

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Jonathan Foreman eschews the world of modern worries and fears, of a quick coffee or hurried after-work drink for the old-fashioned indulgence of teatime, and discovers that this ‘meal’ is for those who truly love and can afford luxury There is nothing like tea. Not tea the drink but tea the meal – the traditional late [Read more…]