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2014 September October Issue

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WITH DEVELOPING crises in Ukraine, Gaza and Iraq, it has been a tumultuous summer for world politics keeping world leaders on their toes. In our regular column, Westminster Reflections, Bernard Jenkin ponders these events and the fact that so far the West has done “next to nothing.” He says the US President’s lack of foreign policy, plus the fashion of avoiding having to deploy “boots on the ground,” and the assumption that military intervention overseas will always end in disaster, is a massive problem.

Closer to home, debate rages on that could change the face of the United Kingdom forever. Former UK Ambassador, Charles Crawford succinctly outlines the Scottish Independence deliberation, drawing on examples from recent history (and his diplomatic background) as to what the major issues are. Diplomat provides a brief history of Scotland-England relations, outlining the Scottish spirit of rebellion against their English cousins, and considers how other cases have been managed: Czechoslovakia’s Velvet Divorce, or on the other end of the scale, Crimea as the latest messy episode in the slow disintegration of the Russian Empire.
Furthermore, if Scotland does leave the UK it will need to decide what defence forces it requires. London will also insist on Scotland shouldering a fair share of the UK’s heavy debt burden. Will Scotland launch its own currency or try to cut a deal to continue using the Pound? Then there’s membership of international organisations including the EU and NATO to consider. Would Scotland actually make it on its own?

At this stage, it seems he is likely to lose the battle, but some say that Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond has successfully made the emotional case for Scottish independence, and Cameron successfully made the hard economic case against separation. For a definite answer, time will soon tell: the vote is on the 18 September.

The 2014 European Parliament elections sent shockwaves through the political establishment. Parties considered to be on the political fringes topped the polls in four member states (the UK, Denmark, France and Greece). As a follow-up to Diplomat’s Ambassadors Breakfast Briefing on the subject, our speaker, Dr Martyn Bond, lifts the lid on appearances and the realities within the European Parliament.

Eager to keep us updated on the latest developments, this month Diplomat includes plenty from the CIS countries. The Ambassador of Tajikistan writes on his Foreign Minister’s visit to the UK this summer, and the Ambassador of Uzbekistan writes our National Day Message on his country’s 23rd anniversary of state independence. He says that for the Uzbek people, the 1 September each year is not just a holiday, but an “epochal milestone” that began the country’s national revival. Diplomat also outlines Azerbaijan’s new e-government-based one-stop-shop, ASAN, which has made state bureaucracy simple and more accessible.

As always, Diplomat reviews the Credentials of new Heads of Mission to the Court of St James’s, this month meeting with the new Ambassadors of Azerbaijan, Bolivia and Ecuador, along with the High Commissioners for Malaysia and Uganda. For our Portrait page, we photographed the Colombian Ambassador as he presented his Credentials to Her Majesty The Queen.

In the lifestyle section, Diplomat enjoys a magical weekend in Munich at the Bayerischer Hof, and a riotous dinner at Beast, the Russian-owned Goodman group’s latest offering. For the Diplomatic Concierge page, Diplomat experiences a whole new peaceful perspective on London staying up high at The Shangri-La hotel at The Shard. Readers with a taste for culture will find valuable advice in our book and arts reviews, including details of the Constable exhibition at the V&A.

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