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Over the past few decades, our friends north of the border have often experimented with various innovative policy approaches – though never before on quite such significant issues as devolution, self-determination and democracy itself – providing a testing ground for ideas which sometimes then spread more widely across the UK.

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Is journalism dead, or merely dying?

Above and beyond the knotty question of how best to regulate newspapers, as well as how to preserve the freedom of the press, possibly by turning our attention to individual journalists, through some form of licensing, lurk two bigger issues. First, what journalism is for in a modern world. And whether in fact, as a form of communication, it is dead or dying.

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Destructive Ambiguity: Why European Defence needs a re-think

Last week German TV programme Monitor on Das Erste ran a piece on NATO. Central to the ten minute report was my latest NATO Defence College/Wilton Park report “NATO’s Post-2014 Strategic Narrative”. Apparently the aim of my report is to turn Russia into an enemy as part of a conscious and aggressive NATO plan to take over Eastern Europe. That’s certainly news to me.

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Repositioning Islamic finance as a grassroots international business catalyst

London has raised its flag as a hub for Islamic finance. A clear signal of intent was outlined at the 9th World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF), held in London towards the end of 2013, by David Cameron, Baroness Warsi, and Boris Johnson. Notably, this was the first time that WIEF had ventured outside of the Muslim world.

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Is it Groundhog Day for British Banking?

After the debilitating financial crisis, the opprobrium heaped upon bankers and taxpayers obliged to bail out the banks, you would be forgiven in thinking that the banking sector was now open, transparent and offering good deals to customers.

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The West's Retreat from Humanitarianism

Alphen, Netherlands. 19 August. Today is World Humanitarian Day. The event commemorates the 19 August 2003 bombing of the UN Headquarters in Baghdad. Among the dead was the UN’s top envoy Sergio Viera de Mello with whom I had spent a day in Geneva shortly before he left for Iraq. Last week UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon published a report on the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) entitled “Fulfilling our Collective Responsibility: International Assistance and the Responsibility to Protect”. With American and British forces active again in Iraq on the face of it R2P and humanitarianism are alive and well. Nothing could be further from the

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The West Needs an Indirect Approach to the Middle East

Alphen, Netherlands. 15 August. T.E. Lawrence wrote, “In fifty words: granted mobility, security (in the form of denying targets to the enemy, time and doctrine (the idea to convert every subject to friendliness), victory will rest with the insurgents, for the algebraic factors in the end are decisive, and against then perfection of means and spirit struggle quite in vain”.

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Licence to Print: An alternative to press regulation

Is journalism a profession or a trade? Either way, should professional journalists, who seek to earn their living from the reporting of news and current affairs, be required to hold some form of accredited licence? I once raised this possibility at an informal meeting in a committee room in the House of Commons, and was howled down by a heady mix of fellow hacks and MPs.

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We must control fugitive emissions to make sure shale gas really is cleaner

As Sam Fankhauser has said elsewhere on this blog, natural gas will be a useful ‘bridge’ fuel in our transition away from coal and oil, and could balance the intermittent supply from renewables by providing a more adaptable form of electricity supply.

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We need to employ preventative strategies to save our NHS

It is widely agreed that the NHS is in the midst of a crisis. As a result of Government funding pressures and a rise in complex and long-term conditions, the NHS faces a potential affordability gap of £30 billion by the end of the decade. An issue at the forefront of the political agenda, policy makers are urgently seeking ways to change the health system in a way that will allow it to meet the growing demand for healthcare whilst remaining free at the point of use.

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We need to employ preventative strategies to save our NHS

Isabella Miller argues that by tacking obesity and musculoskeletal conditions, the Government could reduce pressure on the NHS and save money.

19 By Isabella Miller

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