Charles Crawford’s continued efforts to get someone to pay attention to his dull blog continue to centre on me. He wishes to challenge me to a public debate on diplomacy and ethics.
If you search YouTube you can find some 40 videos of me speaking at various places. Not one of the videos of me was posted by me. I have more invitations to speak than I can accept, and have regularly sold out some big venues like the Edinburgh Book Festival. I can’t see any videos of Charles on YouTube.
Charles’ repeated challenge is a bit like Sheringham FC challenging Manchester United to a match, and then complaining they won’t take them on.
Anyway, I suppose I had better humour the poor old chap. One should always respect one’s elders. We had better do it soon before he drops off the perch. But it is less simple than it sounds. “Diplomacy and Ethics” is, as he suggests, a fascinating theme, but any debate needs a defined subject which crystallises the area of disagreement so as to allow for clear choices, and reduce the chances of a dull dance around definitions. A debate between just two people also offers difficulties of format to make sure they really interact.
You also need a venue and an organisation. We have one kind offer, but the venue is somewhat small.
Maybe we should go for the room at the RGS where the Burton/Speke debate was arranged. Or – and this might be fun – the Locarno room at the FCO!