The Daily Paradox

Does it matter

A couple came to me worried about their marriage. They were, they said, always disagreeing with each other. Sometimes it reached shouting point. They feared it was going to become violent. They were not newly weds who often fight in the early stages of sharing a shower or the milk at breakfast. Their children had…
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How strong a State

I am grateful to Eddie Chau for suggesting this theme With the general loss of authority over the past few years and especially over the pandemic, it is hardly surprising that some governments have become assertively dictatorial while others have sunk to control so weak it appears they might be approaching anarchy. Broadly, the authoritarian…
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The company you keep

Celeb status took a bit of a dent in the New York court that found Ghislaine Maxwell guilty of five of six charges involving sex trafficking and abuse of young people. Of course, the vast majority of Celebs are thoroughly nice, decent people. To know them and mix in their circles adds a sparkle to…
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Prayer for the un-prayerful

You don’t have to believe in a religion or in life after death to pray. But who would you be praying to? Does it matter? Perhaps to yourself, more likely for other people. Because a prayer is the best example I know of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Does it always work? Of course not, and certainly…
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The trouble with democracy

The trouble with democracy is that unless the majority vote for it you have to do what they want and get rid of it. The reverse is true of autocracy. If someone doesn’t like it you have to do what they don’t want and get rid of them. This self-evidently puts autocracy in a stronger position. At least…
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A + B = E

Authority + Behaviour = Example The irony of Stephen Sacker’s genuinely Hard Talk with John Kerry being followed by the scenes of Westminster Parliament with PM Johnson shadow boxing his accusers of lying over last year’s Christmas parties in Downing Street could not have been more vivid evidence of the draining away of authority. While…
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Poses and Battles

We all know the big bully. The person who throws his weight about, is perennially rude, doesn’t give a damn about anybody else. I don’t even need to mention the name of the US President who taught us that bad and unacceptable behaviour is, mysteriously, appealing to so many voters that we may not have…
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The Chips are Down

The standoff between the Polish and Belarusan borders​,​ as demonstrated by a heart-wrenching line of asylum seekers​,​ shows that the Chips are finally Down. The tragedy of people trying to do their best for their families is enough to make us stop and think about what we are trying to achieve and how, within the…
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FW de Klerk

If you ask people about Nelson Mandela they will rattle off plenty of facts and stories about the South African icon who became the first black President of the country. But mention de Klerk and, unless they have been doing South African Studies or have lived there a long time, you will get a blank…
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London v. Paris

(Round 8,296) Divorce never heals. Whether friendly or contested, whether well financed or under-financed, it continues to hurt for the rest of the lives of the parties involved. It isn’t a searing pain – well, it may be at times but then generally briefly – but it is a nagging pain, the pain of failure.…
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