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Andrew Mitchell » Just another FCO Blogs Sites site

A Very British Olympics

Imagine the scene.  A 1500-seat stadium appears on Horseguards Parade, as if dropped from a visiting spaceship.  Men in grey suits, lately disgorged from the corridors of Whitehall, clapping politely as rain and sunshine alternate overhead and lycra-clad sporting heroes high-five to the sound of Lady Gaga.  The aroma of Cornish Pasties wafts over from the direction of the Downing Street garden.  No one quite knows where to look next. … Read more »A Very British Olympics

Ain’t that Prince Charles?

Farewells fall into that category of human experiences that seem, somehow, both inevitable and unimaginable.  So it is with some surprise that I find myself announcing, in the manner of the bugler on the lonely hilltop, that this is the Last Post. My four years as British Ambassador in Sweden have been a magnificent experience.  It’s true, the sun doesn’t always shine, metaphorically or otherwise.  But I’ve had a lot … Read more »Ain’t that Prince Charles?

Prevention is better than cure…

When I was a small child, my grandmother was wont to say that, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.  It was a favourite idiom of hers and one that, to be frank, I became rather tired of hearing.  It could apply to (not) climbing and falling out of trees, (not) standing out in the rain and catching a cold and (not) reading books in the bath.  … Read more »Prevention is better than cure…

Flexibility and Balance (as my running companion often says…)

There’s an interesting debate going on right now about what seems to me to be a very modern problem.  Namely how we get the balance right between protecting our personal data and sharing it in a way that meets our aspirations to the way we want to live today.  The opportunities of the Connected Age are endless.  We move freely across boundaries, both in the real world and in the … Read more »Flexibility and Balance (as my running companion often says…)

The Paralympic Commitment

The countdown continues.  And as it does, we reach another Olympic milestone.  But not just any other milestone.  On 17 April it will be 500 days to the 2012 Paralympic Games. This means that in 500 days our generation will have the chance to put disability sport squarely on the map of London and show that the UK truly is a country that is welcoming, diverse, tolerant – and dynamic.  … Read more »The Paralympic Commitment

Growing Ambitions

There’s a lot of talk in the world I inhabit about how to stimulate economic growth.  This might seem a bit strange in Sweden, given the turbo-charged power surge in the Swedish economy in 2011.  But it’s worth remembering  four years economic expansion were wiped out in the EU during 2008-09 and the pace of recovery in Europe continues to lag behind the rest of the world.  Even Sweden is … Read more »Growing Ambitions

A Coup de Grass

Given everything else going on in the world it was never likely to feature widely in the world’s press.  But quietly, quietly, Britain’s Olympic build proceeds.  Today the last piece of turf was laid on the London Olympic Stadium’s field of play, marking the completion of construction on the flagship venue. It has been a remarkable journey.  Construction started on the Olympic Stadium just under three years ago and has … Read more »A Coup de Grass

International Women’s Day

Guest blogger: Mette Kahlin, Political Attaché in Stockholm Today is International Women’s Day. The day was first marked in 1911. Men and women attended rallies calling for women to be allowed to vote, hold public office, and enjoy equal opportunities in the workforce. The world has moved forward significantly since then, but it is still a day that gives us much to think about. Compared to many countries, Sweden has … Read more »International Women’s Day

Egypt and Iran

I wonder whether, like me, you’ve watched the dramatic events in the Middle East and North Africa with astonishment and awe.  And, perhaps, with humility. The sacrifices made by so many young people in the cause of freedom brings to mind the sentiments that Churchill expressed about the airmen that gave their lives in 1940 in the summer skies of southern England, to whom so many owed so much.  It … Read more »Egypt and Iran

Trading up

It has perhaps become commonplace to say that the world is becoming more and more connected. That we live in a global village. That we all depend on each other.  But it’s worth repeating because it needs to condition how we work to make the modern world a fairer and more prosperous place for all. Crises have a habit of bringing this into particular focus.  Think global banking and you … Read more »Trading up