Philip Stephens

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Full name: Philip Stephens

Area of interest: Economics, Foreign Affairs, Politics

Journals/Organisation: Financial Times


Personal website:







Education: Wimbledon College; Oxford University: Modern history; Fulbright Fellow

Career: Reuters correspondent in London and Brussels; joined FT in 1983: Economics editor, political editor

Current position/role: Associate editor, chief political commentator

  • also writes/has written for:

Other roles/Main role:

Other activities:



Broadcast media:



Awards/Honours: David Watt Prize for outstanding political journalism, 2005; What The Papers Say awards: Political Journalist of the Year, 2008



Books & Debate:

Philip Stephens Tony Blair.jpg
  • Politics and the Pound: The Tories, the Economy and Europe OCLC34635475 , 1996 - a study of the British government’s exchange rate management and its relations with Europe since 1979
  • Taking a pounding: achieving currency stability in the global economy OCLC3435218 , et al, 2002

Latest work: Tony Blair: The Making of a World Leader OCLC53435218, 2004


Current debate:

Financial Times:

Column name:

Remit/Info: Economics, Foreign Affairs, Politics

Section: Comment

Role: Associate editor, chief political commentator



Website: FT.Com / Philip Stephens

Commissioning editor:

Day published: Tuesday & Friday

Regularity: Twice weekly

Column format:

Average length: Tues: 850 / Frid: 1050 words

Articles: 2017

Articles: 2016

Articles: 2015

Articles: 2014

Articles: 2013

Articles: 2012

Articles: 2011

Articles: 2010

Articles: 2009

  • It’s too late to take the politics out of banking - Leading the running for daft sayings by bankers this year is the latest call for governments to keep out of financial services - 22nd December
  • A global order swept away in the rapids of history - Bin Laden and Bush may turn out to be minor players in an era of tumultuous upheaval. The big clashes of coming decades are more likely to be between states as ideologies. The prevailing tensions will be between co-operation and competition, rules and anarchy, order and disorder - 18th December
  • Cameron’s choice: a Tory or a radical? - The Conservative leader used to promise to share the proceeds of economic growth between public services and lower taxes. Now the choice is between what services to cut and what taxes to raise - 15th December
  • US-Japan: an easy marriage becomes a ménage à trois - The challenge shared by Washington and Tokyo is how to engage a rising China whilst balancing its regional ambitions - 11th December
  • Populism without purpose - Dividing lines are all Gordon Brown’s government has left. It has run out of ideas save arguing that David Cameron’s Conservatives would be worse - 10th December
  • Rewrite Iraq, but learn the lesson of history - Britain should retain its security relationship with Washington. But if Iraq tells us anything it is that Britain’s willingness to fight alongside the US can never be unconditional - 8th December
  • How to make a successful failure out of Copenhagen - The climate change conference next month is bound to fail, as the US is not ready to accept any of the elements needed for success. But negotiators must remain committed to an eventual deal and avoid the twin dangers of denial and despair - 13th November
  • The open question in Obama’s Afghan plan - Friends of the US president are already warning Afghanistan is shaping up as the biggest potential threat to his hopes of re-election in 2012 - 10th November
  • Relax, Mr President. There’s no need to rush - For Obama’s critics on the right, diplomacy and engagement have become synonyms for vacillation and weakness. He should stand firm: many of the problems he faces, foreign policy in particular, will not be harmed by leaving some time to consider them - 6th November
  • Pay parliamentarians the rate for the job - The uproar about MPs’ expenses threatens more serious damage than holding up the nation to ridicule. It promises to rob politics of the people it - 3rd November
  • The future or the museum? Europe’s moment of choice - The debate about who should be chosen as the first president of the European Council has become a proxy for this more fundamental choice. Economic power is now shifting eastwards on a scale and at a speed beyond our previous experience - 30th October
  • Turkey turns east as Europe clings to past - The country, frustrated at the efforts of certain EU leaders to prevent its accession to the bloc, is assuming a role in line with its status as a fast-rising power at the strategic crossroads of east and west - 23rd October
  • A five-step programme to save the BBC - In a spirit of constructive criticism, here is a plan that might persuade the politicians that Britain still needs a vibrant, albeit rather slimmer, BBC - 20th October
  • Bankers, bonuses and the market: plus ça change - As the financial crash fades in the memory, the question is how long its repercussions will continue to affect the world. The answer should be obvious. Everything has changed; and nothing has changed - 16th October
  • Enough of the politics of pessimism - For all its troubles, the Britain of my experience does not seem to be sliding into economic and social chaos - 9th October
  • Little Englanders are of little use to America - David Cameron should not expect open arms in Washington if opposition to the Lisbon treaty leads to a rupture with Europe - 6th October
  • Europe loses its Lisbon hiding place - Lisbon has provided governments with an alibi. As long as they were arguing about majority voting or the size of the Commission, they could sidestep the issues of substance pressing down on the Union. But Europe cannot escape the existential choice of the coming decade - 2nd October
  • Time for Gordon’s last throw of the dice - The best reason for a series of TV debates is the democratic one: voters deserve the right to an informed choice - 29th September
  • Four things you need to know about the global puzzle - The UN and G20 jamborees leave the new world landscape a work in progress. But some contours stand in sharp relief. Philip Stephens looks at Chinese multilateralism; the Middle Eastern challenge to US power; Obama’s effort to frame new rules for the global game; and Europe’s place on the margins - 25th September
  • Is this the Liberal Democrat moment? - The result of the fraying of tribal loyalties on the left and the right is that the fabled two-party system now leaves ample room for a significant third force - 22nd September
  • The west’s finger-wagging will not force Iran into line - Sanctions have not worked in slowing the nuclear programme, even if western intelligence services differ on just how far Iran has got. Isolation would play to Mr Ahmadi-Nejad’s favourite narrative of a western plot to humiliate Iran - 18th September
  • Coyness trumps candour in spending debate - For all the gusto with which David Cameron promises to swing the axe, he is decidedly cagey as to where the blade will fall - 15th September
  • A misreading of the past holds a lesson for future - Thatcher and Mitterrand’s opposition to German reunification is one example of world leaders misreading the future at the end of the Cold War. The fear that the collapse of communism would see a return to the power politics of a century earlier proved unfounded - 11th September
  • Murdoch rides to the rescue of the BBC - Slimming down the Beeb is one thing; dismantling it in the cause of liberal market fundamentalism is another - 8th September
  • The global consensus is starting to crack - In the spring, leaders of the biggest economies could claim to have saved the world. What on earth do they do for an encore? - 4th September (see: 2009 G-20 Pittsburgh summit)
  • Cut the banks (and bonuses) down to size - Lord Turner’s proposition that the market is rigged strikes at the heart of the carefully constructed myths of the financial services industry - 1st September
  • Running to stand still? The peace test for Netanyahu - With Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu still far apart on the issue of Israeli settlements, someone is going to have to lose face soon - 28th August
  • Lockerbie deal exposes the price of realism - No amount of protestations will counter the impression that this was essentially a political decision - 25th August
  • A friendless Russia is held hostage to Putin’s vanity - The prime minister’s compulsion to flaunt his torso offers an unfortunate metaphor for Russia: a great, but waning power deluding itself that a show of muscle is the way to cling on to past glory - 21st August
  • Home truths about rationing healthcare - Beneath the transatlantic waves lies an awkward truth: all the models, the American included, ration access, while pretending otherwise - 18th August
  • Lack of ambition leaves Europe in the slow lane - The world is witnessing as big a geopolitical upheaval as any in the past century. The international institutions and rules upon which Europe relies for security and prosperity are under strain. And Europe looks set to absent itself from the debate - 24th July
  • A Tory mis-step that tells a worrying story - Cameron’s plans for Ofcom show that much of the Conservative prospectus is about grabbing a headline, not setting a framework for effective government - 21st July
  • The Middle East chess game Obama cannot afford to lose - The president has sprinted from continent to continent with the speed and confidence of a grandmaster. He has made the opening moves in almost all of the important games, opting for boldness over caution. But what happens in the Middle East could well tip the outcome of many other games - 17th July
  • A war that cannot be fought on the cheap - The goal now is not a shiny new democracy, but a self-sustaining Afghan state able to deny safe havens to al-Qaeda - 14th July
  • Western awe and domestic anxiety: a tale of two Chinas - Beijing is aware that the autocracy and corruption on which the present system rests will not withstand the pressures of economic and social change. It is too simplistic to see the country’s global dominance as a sure thing - 10th July
  • Cameron should say less and tell us more - What is a Tory government for? - 7th July
  • Israel struggles to adapt to a changing picture of Iran - No one watches events in Iran more closely than Israel. Tehran has long been the abiding preoccupation, some would say obsession of political discourse in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Now the story line has changed - 4th July
  • Israel struggles to adapt to a changing picture of Iran - Iran is no longer the country the west had thought, or wanted to think, it was. The post-election scenes on the streets of Iranian cities surely strengthen those who argue that the way to encourage Tehran’s return to the international community is through engagement - 3rd July
  • King does not have a monopoly of wisdom - You have to admire Mervyn King’s chutzpah. The governor of the Bank of England has been speaking lately with customary self-confidence about Britain’s economic challenges. His prescription is simple: we should all agree that the Bank knows best - 30th June
  • Co-ordination falls away as the global crisis abates - There was a surprising degree of co-operation on the international response to the crisis in financial markets. But the restoration of calm has been the signal for cracks to appear about what to do next. The danger is that, without the glue of shared adversity, governments will fall to bickering again -26th June
  • A silent debate about UK security - The days of the ‘cosy status quo’, in which the US assumes the burden, while Europe wastes scant resources, are over - 23rd June
  • Iran exposes gap between idealism and realism - It may well prove impossible, whatever the west does, to prevent Tehran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability. But one thing that can be said for certain is that an attempt to bomb its nuclear installations would not halt the programme. To the contrary, nothing would be more calculated to entrench the present - 19th June (See: Iran: summary)
  • Time to rescue broadcasting from the BBC - On TV, where most of the money is spent, the public service ideal is now confined to a handful of ‘trophy’ programmes - 16th June
  • Crisis? What crisis? The market confounds the left - Pace the doomsayers who predicted imminent Armageddon, liberal market capitalism has survived: somewhat humbled and, in the case of the financial services industry under much tighter official supervision, but recognisably much as it was - 12th June
  • Cameron sleepwalks towards Europe’s exit - Wrecking the Lisbon treaty would be a declaration of war. The crisis in Britain’s relationship with its partners would precipitate calls for a re-evaluation of its EU membership - 9th June
  • Boom to bust-up - Britain: Gordon Brown promised permanent prosperity. Instead, as economic and political upheavals converge, a Labour government goes the squabbling way of the Conservatives - 8th June
  • UK government heads towards cliff edge - Behind the Labour party infighting and cabinet factionalism and the furore over parliamentary expenses lies a deeper sense that this is a government that no longer knows, or cares, what it is for, except to try to cling on to power - 5th June
  • The real cure for Britain’s political malaise - Local government has been left to wither. As Whitehall has provided the money, it has micro-managed spending. Voters have been stripped of the right to make local choices - 2nd June
  • Not quite a revolution but, with luck, the end of an era - Public anger stirred by newspaper revelations of British MPs’ expenses claims dating back several years has seen MPs of all parties in full retreat before a modern day mob. The affair has been a salutary reminder of the manifest flaws of a smug institution - 22nd May
  • Will parliamentary regicide do the trick? - It is not often that the House of Commons defenestrates its Speaker. The last time was 300-odd years ago. So the toppling of Michael Martin was a measure of the panic that has gripped the nation’s legislators in the wake of the expenses furore - 20th May
  • Britain re-arms itself for a vanished age - Two decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Britain is still buying aircraft designed to intercept Soviet MiGs over the North Sea - 19th May
  • A Middle East peace plan puts Netanyahu on the spot - US vice-president Joe Biden’s recent speech about ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict laid out in plain terms the challenge for Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu: Israel’s long-term security depends on peaceful co-existence with a viable Palestinian state - 15th May
  • Tawdry yes, but so is the media humbug - The majority of MPs are decent men and women who want to change things. Ambitious? Yes. Ruthless? Often. Pompous? More often. But crooks? No - 12th May
  • Diplomacy works, but it cannot defuse every threat - Barack Obama has elevated diplomacy and engagement as vital instruments of American power, recognising that legitimacy counts alongside military muscle. The truth, however, is that it may be impossible to eliminate the most serious threats to international security - 8th May
  • An ambitious mayor who lacks an ambition - For all the media attention, Boris Johnson has been fuzzy when it comes to the big strategic issues. His practical vision for London is as unclear as on the day of his election - 5th May
  • An ever-fearful Europe risks forfeiting the future - The transatlantic argument about the right response to the global recession has been one rooted in temperament. Americans prefer to throw everything into fixing today’s problems and to worry about tomorrow, well, tomorrow. Continental Europeans fret about what might happen tomorrow if they throw caution to the winds today. The British are usually somewhere in the middle - 1st May
  • History’s tide sweeps Britain into the past - Both Labour and the Conservatives are reclaiming pasts they thought they had long ago left behind - 28th April
  • America’s abuse of the law handed victory to terrorists - Mr Obama has understood that the twisted logic of torture concedes to the enemy the very thing you are fighting to preserve. The Bush administration overturned the scales of justice to the advantage of terrorists. Mr Obama must set them right - 24th April
  • Cameron in sight of Number 10 - The grim realities of this economic mess will imprison for at least a parliament whichever party wins power - 23rd April
  • Final full stop to era of good times - In a curious way, the significance of Mr Darling’s grim litany of bad news lay more in its description of the economic and political straitjacket that awaits whoever takes the helm in Downing Street after the election - 23rd April
  • Time for Cameron to write his prospectus - Labour is a victim of the lethal mix of hubris and exhaustion that afflicts governments in their third term. The jostling for the leadership succession is a symptom of the deep pessimism - 21st April
  • After Guantanamo: time to cut the wire around Cuba - On the question of relations with the Castro regime Mr Obama has joined the long list of presidents imprisoned by the humiliation of the early 1960s. His team’s desire to invite comparisons between their man and Jack Kennedy is well known. Hanging on to JFK’s Cuba policy is surely a step too far - 17th April
  • The market may be bust but so is the state - When the director-general of Britain’s biggest business organisation predicts a radical rebalancing between the state and the market – in favour of the former – few politicians would demur - 7th April
  • Summit success reflects a different global landscape - The G20 summit’s deeper significance lay in its unspoken recognition of a changed geopolitical landscape. Not so long ago, this would have been a gathering of the Group of Eight rich nations, perhaps with cameo roles for China, India and a few others. Now, as Hu, Singh and the rest take their places as of right, the world is at last catching a true reflection of itself - 3rd April
  • Autocratic leadership has failed the Bank of England - 31st March
  • Towards zero: Obama grasps the nuclear nettle - In adding disarmament to his burgeoning agenda, the US president is opening doors to collective security that have been long slammed shut - 27th March
  • Brown learns a familiar European lesson - Why should India, China, Russia or anyone else pay attention to the UK prime minister if he cannot carry his closest partners - 24th March
  • India faces a choice: is it a big power or great power? - If it wants a lead role in the world concert, India cannot stand aloof from the rules. Rights come with responsibilities - 20th March
  • Back to the future will be a painful journey - Nothing has been said by any politician – even Vince Cable – to match the scale of the looming financial hangover - 17th March
  • Wanted: global politics to rescue global capitalism - Is the G20 the answer? - 13th March
  • Fix the banks first – and then shoot the bankers - Public fury at Sir Fred Goodwin and his chums is now an excuse for politicians to substitute populism for decisive action - 10th March
  • The change he believes in: Obama shrugs off storm - Last week US president Barack Obama unveiled his first budget. What leapt out was the fact that he had decided to honour his manifesto pledges. Just about all of them. This demonstrated a political purpose reaching well beyond the immediate storms - 5th March
  • The way to reset a once-special relationship - Thus far, Britain has seen the special relationship as setting it apart from the rest of Europe. The reverse should be true - 3rd March
  • A diplomatic feint that looks to leave Japan in the cold - Japan’s Taro Aso this week stole the prize in the scramble to be first foreign leader across the threshold of Barack Obama’s White House. But behind this diplomatic flummery, the US is shuffling the hierarchies of its relationships in the region - 27th February
  • The BBC’s public service grip is tightening - Once ‘reach’ becomes the test of the legitimacy of the licence fee, the corporation has a mandate to provide everything and anything - 24th February
  • Outside Edge: Forgive me, but revenge is sweet - Philip Stephens admits to a guilty and illogical swell of satisfaction when he looks at one or two of the victims of the economic downturn - 21st February
  • Wanted: leaders to confront demons of Europe’s past - The risk is that popular disturbances become self-sustaining: that a defensive move here fans the embers of nationalism there; that the single market unravels. The newer democracies of the EU in eastern and central Europe are particularly vulnerable - 20th February
  • A limp excuse for a Tory foreign policy - The UK opposition party could, I suppose, argue that it has a set of impulses. There is no sign of any strategy - 17th February
  • A tawdry episode that tells the story of political decay - The UK’s Labour party has been in power for something short of 12 years rather than the 18 of the Conservatives. But I detect the same mix of hubris and inertia. Office is treated as a birthright but most ministers have forgotten what it is for - 13th February
  • It is time for banks to behave like banks - No, Britain’s bankers should not pay themselves extravagant bonuses. That some of them believe otherwise is depressing evidence of how remote they have become from the world beyond the deflated bubble of the financial services industry - 10th February
  • Tables turned: a lesson from Latin America for the west - Chile has mixed and matched government and market, economic orthodoxy and social intervention. This was the insight that Tony Blair was supposed to have brought to British politics during the 1990s - 6th February
  • Averting a slump: it’s the politics, stupid - We know what happened during the 1930s when tariffs were raised in response to similar calls to ‘protect’ British jobs - 3rd February
  • The president’s men will test White House resolve - To succeed as Barack Obama’s special envoys to the Middle East and Afghanistan/Pakistan respectively, both George Mitchell and Richard Holbrooke will need the authority of the president when the going gets tough - 30th January
  • A falling pound recalls the ghosts of 1976 - International faith in the British economy is at a low ebb. A renewed run on sterling could destabilise the banks - 27th January
  • Changes that will shape a president promising change - At the heart of Barack Obama’s oration on Tuesday was a rare, if oblique, admission of the limitations of US power: “The world has changed, and we must change with it.” Philip Stephens looks at how the new presidency closes a number of chapters in American history - 23rd January
  • Shoot the bankers, nationalise the banks - The other day the prime minister remarked on the rising public anger at the behaviour of Britain’s banks. Unbridled rage would have been a more accurate description of the national mood - 20th January
  • The Obama challenge: is Europe just a spectator? - The central geopolitical truth of the coming years will be the erosion of the effortless hegemony the west has exercised over global affairs. There could be no more important time to champion the values it has embedded in the multilateral order - 16th January
  • Britain cannot escape the muddled centre - The UK’s Brown and Cameron are mistaken in assuming that political positions adopted now are sustainable in the medium term - 13th January
  • The peace has been lost to Israel’s military victories - Missing is any sense that, beyond winning wars, Israel has the capacity to shape a different reality. Yet at times, plenty of Israeli politicians and officials will agree that the parameters of peace are clear - 9th January

Articles: 2008

  • Advice for seasonal seers: future is not in the stars - The lesson of 2008 has been about how hard we find it to peer into the present. Economic interdependence and the shift in power east have been a commonplace for some time. It is only this year we have begun to see what the changes mean - 19th December 2008
  • Britain’s choice of greater or lesser evils - If the government’s programme for the next parliament is at best vague, the Tories offer nothing more substantive - 16th December 2008
  • Global warming: how not to mobilise the masses - The shift to a low carbon economy will not be painless. But nor is global warming. The way to mobilise the masses in the battle to keep the planet cool is to recast the argument. Opportunity sells a lot better than do hair shirts - 12th December 2008
  • Steinbrück row: An unfortunate sense of déjà vu - The last time a senior German official publicly criticised Britain’s economic policy, the spat sent sterling tumbling and ruined the reputation of a Conservative government - 12th December 2008 (see: German ridicule for UK policies, BBC News, 10th December 2008)
  • Never mind the recession – save the pound - The Treasury, still in a state of denial about its mismanagement of the economy during the boom, remains firmly against the euro - 9th December 2008
  • Never mind the team: the president does the moves - Barack Obama’s choice of foreign policy heavyweights is significant for its ambition rather than its caution. If he really does want to recast America’s relationship with the world, surrounding himself with seasoned players will make the task easier not harder - 5th December 2008
  • The police, and the state, are out of control - If the police think that they can discard due process, they have been taking their cue from the government - 2nd December 2008
  • Broken banks put state back in the driving seat - Something big is happening. What started as a series of pragmatic ad hoc responses by governments and central banks is moving the boundary between state and market. Expediency is now overlaid with ideology. Government is no longer a term of abuse - 28th November 2008
  • Goodbye to New Labour - The government’s gamble is that the global hurricane has rewritten the rules of politics as well as economics. Hence Mr Darling’s promise to raise the top rate of income tax to 45 per cent - 25th November 2008
  • World confronts a choice between chaos and order - The US National Intelligence Council has produced Global Trends 2025, its four-yearly exercise in crystal ball-gazing, which tries to map the contours of the world more than 15 years hence. Barack Obama would do well to read it closely - 21st November 2008
  • The choice for Obama lies on the road to Jerusalem - The Middle East poses an existential choice for the president-elect. Does he want to patch things up? Or does he want to redraw the strategic map of the region and thereby set a new direction for America’s role in the world - 14th November 2008
  • A futile contest for Obama’s ear - Behind the general air of adulation is a profound misconception. This is the belief that things can be again as they were - 11th November 2008
  • Globalisation and the new nationalism collide - Why, just as they are becoming great powers, should China, India and the rest surrender sovereignty? As for the rich nations, they are all for a more inclusive global order as long as the addition of new members to the club in no way dilutes their own authority - 23rd October 2008
  • Be very wary of the bull market in Browns - Other leaders are asking whether this is the same politician who long scorned their demands for tighter regulation - 20th October 2008
  • Making it to the White House will be the easy part - What will voters say when Barack Obama, if he wins, says his health plan is unaffordable - 17th October 2008
  • Ushering in the age of control - As far as public esteem is concerned, bankers are now down there with second-hand car salesmen, estate agents and journalists - 14th October 2008
  • The financial crisis marks out a new geopolitical order - Rich nations have yet to face up properly to the implications. They can imagine sharing power but on their terms - 10th October 2008
  • A return to sobriety - In return for the bail-out of UK banks, the government is demanding – and here the voters will cheer – a radical change in culture. The champagne days are over but at some point the government will face a reckoning - 9th October 2008
  • It is time to abandon imprudent caution - Gordon Brown must take more risks. This crisis demands a politician ready to anticipate rather than respond to events - 7th October 2008
  • How financial concussions have shaken global politics - 3rd October 2008
  • Cameron faces the politics of hard choices - Events in the markets have shattered the illusion that politicians can have the best of all worlds all of the time - 30th September 2008
  • China after the Olympics; a great but hesitant power - Each time I visit China I am struck by the hesitation. The world is in awe yet those steering the country show a strange ambivalence - 26th September 2008
  • Not yet out of danger - The best Gordon Brown could hope for was a breathing space. The applause in Manchester seemed to say he had succeeded. For how long is another question - 24th September 2008
  • As the hurricane abates, a storm awaits - Labour is holding two conferences: one about the financial crash, the other about the crisis of Brown’s premiership - 23rd September 2008
  • Global capitalism needs global rules - Wise after the calamity, central bankers and market regulators are calling for tighter rules, closer oversight and a premium on sobriety - 19th September 2008
  • Forget promises: Taxes are going up - What politician will threaten UK voters with higher taxes when banks are crashing and house prices tumbling - 16th September 2008
  • A new president and a wake-up call - The next US leader will not be quite as powerful, while the departure of George Bush will deprive Europe of an alibi - 12th September 2008
  • Brown and the burden of an unkept promise - After more than a year in the job, the UK’s PM has still to articulate the central purpose of his administration - 9th September 2008
  • Palin reignites culture wars - Obama’s underprivileged background and McCain’s family wealth are lost to the Republicans’ distorting prism - 5th September 2008
  • Tory nerves jangle at the mayor’s stumbles - Boris is Boris, senior Conservatives say. A great character, but scarcely a model for the way the party would run the country - 2nd September 2008
  • Putin maps the boundaries of a greater Russia - Moscow’s invasion of Georgia points to a retreat from integration and a preference for force over rules - 29th August 2008
  • An answer to the Heathrow horrors - The anti-monopoly commission’s report makes a powerful case that competition between the London airports may offer further options - 26th August 2008
  • Blindfolds that wrecked a deal to boost global trade - The Doha failure will not see the global trading system come crashing down. Yet it is more than a missed opportunity - 1st August 2008
  • A government bent on losing an election - The prevailing mood in the UK Labour party since the by-election loss of Glasgow East has been one of despair - 29th July 2008
  • Obama's message for Europe - There is little the region can quarrel with in the broad thrust of the national security strategy set out by the US presidential candidate this week - 17th July 2008
  • The pressing logic of Anglo-French defence - Sarkozy has been accused of surrendering Europe’s military leadership to Britain. There could be no more heinous crime - 14th July 2008
  • Europe promises cheers for Obama - The old continent has already decided: it will get the American president it deserves - 10th July 2008
  • Brown runs race against perceptions - We are back in 1980, sliding into the economic precipice. That, anyway, is what equity markets have lately seemed to say. It is also what most people seem to think. Britain’s voters are more pessimistic than at any time since Margaret Thatcher’s inaugural recession 28 years ago - 8th July 2008
  • Japan goes missing: invisible host at the summit - Japan’s pre-eminent interest lies in working to extend and strengthen the rules-based international order to draw in China and other rising powers. More than anything else, this part of the world needs a robust mutual security system - 3rd July 2008
  • The governor claims a dangerous victory - Recent events have left a nagging suspicion that the Bank of England’s new framework owes much to pride and ego - 30th June 2008
  • Bush's China policy may outlast his presidency - The Bushes are heading for Beijing. By the busload. Visiting the Chinese capital last week, I was told that President Hu Jintao hopes to greet three generations of America’s first family at the opening ceremony for the Olympics - 26th June 2008
  • Good Gordon swept aside by Bad Brown - Some years ago a distinguished former editor of this newspaper gave a prescient speech about the two politicians then running Britain’s Treasury. Good Gordon, he observed, was forever jostling with Bad Brown about the direction of economic policy - 23rd June 2008
  • Saving the planet will be difficult, but do not despair - The shortest distance in the discourse about climate change is that between denial and despair - 19th June 2008
  • Stop talking about Lisbon and get to work - The worst option would be to let another period of internal wrangling serve as an alibi for European inaction where it matters - 16th June 2008
  • A war needs a definition of victory - The question that western donors to Afghanistan might have asked themselves at this week’s Paris conference was an obvious one: why are we there? - 12th June 2008
  • Cameron needs more than tactical tricks - Some time soon the Conservatives need to get serious. If Gordon Brown’s government is buckling under the burdens of office, David Cameron’s party scarcely looks ready for them - 9th June 2008
  • The world wants a vote in an epic presidential contest - These are times when everything is measured against prior expectations, when tomorrow’s news was discounted yesterday, and when to be anything but cynical is to be credulous - 6th June 2008
  • A capital despoiled by monumental egos - The vista across the Thames from my office at the Financial Times pays homage to expensive mediocrity - 2nd June 2008
  • Truths for a new world of them and us - Globalisation belonged to us; financial crises happened to them - 30th May 2008
  • A party stranded between defeat and disaster - Step back for a moment from the maelstrom that is Gordon Brown’s government. As colleagues ponder a coup against the prime minister, it is worth reflecting on the truly breathtaking speed of his fall from grace - 26th May 2008
  • Friends or foes: a world through two lenses - John McCain and Barack Obama have grown impatient with Hillary Clinton. As Mrs Clinton ponders the terms under which she will eventually depart the field, Mr McCain and Mr Obama have already joined battle - 22nd May 2008
  • A transatlantic opportunity for Britain - Gordon Brown’s administration has the look of a government drowning. A defeat in this week’s Crewe and Nantwich by-election would leave many wondering whether the prime minister can regain dry land - 20th May 2008
  • Price paid by Burma's victims - In the aftermath of cyclone Nargis, Burma’s military junta has turned an unavoidable natural calamity into a calculated human catastrophe - 16th May 2008
  • Salmond bids for the best of both worlds - You have to hand it to Alex Salmond. The leader of the Scottish National party has spent a year as first minister doing nothing very much at all. He has done so with panache, ruthlessness and a trademark smile - 12th May 2008
  • Brown limps towards an unhappy ending - On Sunday Nicolas Sarkozy took time to commiserate by telephone with Gordon Brown following the British prime minister’s recent drubbing at the hands of voters. The French president knows what it is like to be unpopular - 8th May 2008
  • Democracy’s tide running against Brown - There is nothing in the British constitution to curtail the time in office of one or other political party. Term limits do not work in parliamentary democracies - 5th May 2008
  • In Depth: A Tory government-in-waiting? - Britain’s political ground has shifted. For the first time since Tony Blair swept New Labour to victory in 1997, the opposition Conservatives can lay a credible claim to be a government-in-waiting - 2nd May 2008
  • Clever conceits cannot hide the world’s jagged edges - Ever since the fall of the Berlin Wall politicians and pundits have been imposing patterns on the world. The search has been for something to replace the reassuring symmetry of the cold war. This undoubtedly noble endeavour has written a lot of speeches and sold a lot of books. We are little the wiser for it - 1st May 2008
  • Cameron’s success invites tougher scrutiny - Cripes! We might win. What on earth are we going to do then? No, that was not the inimitable Boris Johnson contemplating this week’s mayoral showdown with Ken Livingstone. It was one of David Cameron’s shadow team on the dawning prospect of a Conservative return to government - 28th April 2008
  • Hillary Clinton goes nuclear - When I first heard Hillary Clinton had promised to annihilate someone, I assumed the chosen target was Barack Obama - 24th April 2008
  • Get your retreat in early - As these things go, Gordon Brown’s retreat was at the humiliating end of the scale; but on matters as vital as carrying the Budget through the House of Commons, retreat is probably better than defeat - 23rd April 2008
  • Saviour is symptom of Italy’s ills - Earlier this week I heard an Italian senator speaking of his ambitions for Italy’s newly elected government - 17th April 2008
  • Even a slowdown brings some good news - Crisis, what crisis? As I write, a small voice tells me I may come to regret this column - 14th April 2008
  • The fight that calls for something other than a war - Terrorists are not all the same - 10th April 2008
  • A lesson for Brown in the fight for London - If Boris Johnson deposes Ken Livingstone next month it will not be because of a great groundswell of public confidence in his capacity to govern London - 7th April 2008
  • Last chance for the US to shape the new global order - Some time ago, long before he had stolen the lead from Hillary Clinton in the race for the Democratic nomination, Barack Obama sought the counsel of one of Washington’s wisest thinkers on foreign policy - 3rd April 2008
  • A health service lesson for British Airways - Friday evening and the accident and emergency department of London’s St Thomas’ hospital resembles nothing so much as Heathrow’s Terminal 5 - 31st March 2008
  • Medvedev should expect the west’s respect – and resolve - Russia has a new president-elect. There are hopes in the US and Europe that Dmitry Medvedev could foreshadow a fresh start. After the wearing clashes with Vladimir Putin, the impulse is understandable. No one has gained from the cold peace - 27th March 2008
  • T5: Still Heathrow and still a hassle - 27th March 2008
  • Brown's chance to build European bridges - Almost since Britain joined the European Union, its European policy has been described as an effort to drive a wedge between France and Germany - 17th March 2008
  • Europe needs a president, not a nonentity - Wanted: a president for Europe. Only nonentities need apply - 13th March 2008
  • UK Budget 2008: A gamble on global markets - I have still to get used to the idea that it is no longer Gordon Brown at the House of Commons despatch box; that the clunking fist has given way to the blinking eyebrows - 12th March 2008
  • UK Budget 2008: Osborne is trapped in Darling’s straitjacket - 10th March 2008
  • 3am in the White House: McCain takes the call - Best not forget John McCain. He might just win in November. Hillary Clinton has been showing him how - 6th March 2008
  • A compelling case for a do-nothing Budget - The news is scarcely sweet, so best keep it short. Richard Lambert, the former Financial Times editor who looks after the bosses as head of the CBI, says six brief paragraphs are all we need from Alistair Darling’s Budget next week - 3rd March 2008
  • Promising applause for an American in Pyongyang - I once heard a Chinese official say that North Korea’s Kim Jong-il was always abreast of global events - 28th February 2008
  • Time to break up airports monopoly - To anyone who travels regularly through Heathrow, Stephen Nelson’s departure as chief executive of BAA, the airports operator, can scarcely have come as much of a surprise - 27th February 2008
  • A hollow debate about defence spending - When Robert Gates turned up in Germany the other day to admonish America’s allies for their uneven contributions to the war in Afghanistan, everybody who is anybody in defence and security sat in the audience. Well, almost - 25th February 2008
  • Milosevic was the midwife to Kosovo’s nationhood - One easy way out is to blame it all on Woodrow Wilson. As the American president anticipated the peace to follow the war to end all wars, he thought some truths self-evident - 21st February 2008
  • Later not sooner: the Rock’s election legacy - All in all I thought that Gordon Brown, Britain’s prime minister, put quite a good face on it. Northern Rock had fallen victim to the crisis in global credit markets. Support for the mortgage bank last autumn had forestalled contagion in the banking system. Nationalisation now best served the interests of taxpayers - 18th February 2008
  • Hollywood’s geopolitics lesson for China - Small tremors sometimes foreshadow bigger shocks. Few people will have known before this week that Steven Spielberg – he of Jaws, Jurassic Park, E.T. and other Hollywood epics – was to lend his creative talents to the Beijing Olympics - 14th February 2008
  • The Treasury Trabant has run out of road - The Treasury has never been accused of excessive humility. If Whitehall has always seen itself as a Rolls-Royce among government bureaucracies, the Treasury’s self-image has been that of the classic Silver Cloud. These days, another automotive marque springs more easily to mind – the Trabant - 11th February 2008
  • A chance to redesign American politics - Sometimes we overlook the obvious. Like everyone else this week I have been mesmerised by the contest between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama - 7th February 2008
  • US presidential election: The inevitable and the inextinguishable - If we were honest, we pundits would tell you we had already written the story of the night - 6th February 2008
  • Time for London to bet against Livingstone' - I would hazard a guess that David Cameron is ambivalent about Boris Johnson’s bid to be London’s mayor - 4th February 2008
  • Olmert walks friendless on road from Annapolis - Before I visited Israel the other day, some of my friends in the foreign policy community had admonished me for being overly pessimistic about the new road map drawn at Annapolis for a Middle East peace - 31st January 2008
  • Cameron fights Brown on Blairite ground - Forget the synthetic fury about campaign contributions. Who but the breathless BBC cares about whose brother-in-law wrote a campaign cheque for Alan Johnson? - 28th January 2008
  • Military deal that would banish ghosts of Suez - For half a century, the reference point for Anglo-French relations has been Suez. Events of the past few years have shown that the opposing conclusions drawn from the debacle in the desert were both wrong - 24th January 2008
  • Northern Rock: A fig-leaf for Labour’s failure - I cannot help thinking that there is something more than a touch ironic about the British government putting its reputation in the hands of an investment bank as it struggles to salvage something from the wreckage of Northern Rock - 21st January 2008
  • Sarkozy gambles on happy ending - Tony Blair once told me an amusing story about Silvio Berlusconi, Italy’s former prime minister. It came to mind after Nicolas Sarkozy, France’s lovestruck president, was pictured frolicking in the Red Sea with his latest paramour - 17th January 2008
  • A dispiriting return to Europe’s trenches - An unspoken truth about Britain’s turbulent marriage to Europe is how little things have changed over more than three decades - 14th January 2008
  • Reflection that defines choice for voters - There is not a scintilla of anything to be mistaken for modesty in Barack Obama’s pitch for the White House. Stripped of rhetorical ornament, it says vote for me because I am me - 10th January 2008
  • Westminster sees parallels in Washington - Gordon Brown is cheering for Hillary Clinton. David Cameron is backing Barack Obama. I am not sure about Nick Clegg. One thing, though, is certain: the contest between the Democratic contenders in New Hampshire is being watched as closely in Westminster as in Washington, DC - 7th January 2008

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