Alex through the looking-glass

Old school intelligence collection still matters in a digital world THE spy business is rooted in traditions. Sir Mansfield Cumming, the founder of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service (better known as MI6), wrote in green ink. “C”, the real-life head of the foreign-intelligence agency, continues this quirky rite, even in emails. Technology is upending established practices…

Dreaming of a Red Christmas

The scene is set for the Labour Party’s Christmas Carol Service in Party HQ. Jeremy Corbyn is on stage.     Jeremy Corbyn: Welcome comrades to the Labour Party Christmas party; so good they named it twice! Silence around the room Jeremy Corbyn: Tories out! All: TORIES OUT!!! {general cheering} Jeremy Corbyn: Yes, as I…

The Dome of Trust

I wrote this OpEd for a Cyber Security firm in Abu Dhabi who felt it was a little, erm, off the wall for their brand. Never mind, they took another three…     30 September 2047 Dear Ms Bezos, Please forgive this communication by old-fashioned email; I’m told my voice can be a bit metallic…

Gambling on US morality

I spoke this week at a fringe meeting of the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) annual forum in Geneva. The Democracy Institute, a public policy think-tank based in Washington DC and London, launched a report titled “Do as I say, not as I do” into a 14-year old dispute between the United States and the tiny Caribbean…

Tricolour down economics

Central banks and pension funds are embracing green and gold investments.     “FOLLOW the money,” encouraged the shadowy figure of Deep Throat during the Watergate crisis. His words might be wise counsel today for those worried about a Trump bump in global finances. According to a report issued on June 14th by the Official…

Death by design

This post was published in 1843 Magazine and can be seen in the June/July 2017 edition.  The Crematorium Hofheide is situated in the middle of a lake in Holsbeek, Belgium. An elongated core of earth-coloured stone wrapped in a layer of rusty steel, it appears to float on the water – although on sunny days,…