Paul Johnston » Ambassador to Sweden

England’s History, Scotland’s Future

Feature image for:  England’s History, Scotland’s Future

Yesterday at the Residence we marked St George’s Day, the feast day of England’s patron saint, and the week of the 450th anniversary of the birth of England’s and the world’s greatest dramatist and poet,William Shakespeare. A British architect, Rueben Thorpe, talked to us about the excavation of the Rose Theatre in London, one of the theatres of the Elizabethan age, whose boards Shakespeare himself may have trodden. And the splendid … Read more »England’s History, Scotland’s Future

Decoding the English Language: Sense and Sensibility

When I was learning Swedish in London I studied in a language training centre, where post pupils were European business men and women seeking to improve their English. While I tried to do my Swedish homework, my thoughts often strayed to what I could overhear of the classes in the neighbouring rooms. Hearing the teachers explain that what British people say, eg in business meetings, was often rather different to … Read more »Decoding the English Language: Sense and Sensibility

Doing business in the left lane means doing business in the fast lane

The Swedish Chamber of Commerce in the UK hosted an excellent event in Stockholm this week for Swedish companies thinking of investing in the UK. We had inspirational talks from the MDs of Izettle and Envac, two of the many innovative Swedish companies doing great business in Great Britain. I was delighted to have the chance to set out why the UK is a great place to invest. Here are … Read more »Doing business in the left lane means doing business in the fast lane

“Digging for truth: the uses and abuses of language”

I was honoured to be invited to the Nobel Museum on Friday by my friend and colleague, the Irish Ambassador, James Carroll, to take part in a celebration of the life and work of the Nobel prize winning poet Seamus Heaney. The poem I chose to read was “Digging”, in which the young poet expresses his admiration for his father’s athleticism, while the only tool that he can master is … Read more »“Digging for truth: the uses and abuses of language”

Critical Days For Diplomacy On Ukraine

Britain’s longest serving Foreign Secretary, Sir Edward Grey, famously looked out from his office overlooking St James’ Park in early August 1914 and, as war loomed, commented “the lamps are going out all over Europe”. I often thought of those words in August 2008, during the Russian aggression in Georgia, not  least as my office, as International Security Director, enjoyed the same view over the Park. I thought of them again … Read more »Critical Days For Diplomacy On Ukraine

Investing In Our Future

The so called ‘Higgs Boson,’ for which British Professor Peter Higgs won the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics, was only proved in 2012 at the CERN laboratory in Switzerland. CERN is a fantastic example of what we can do when we come together in the spirit of scientific endeavour.  As facilities and instruments become more sophisticated, powerful and also therefore more expensive, it is more important than ever that we … Read more »Investing In Our Future

International Women’s Day: ‘women’s economic empowerment and raising girls’ aspirations’.

Upon receiving the Hillary Clinton prize for women, peace and security last month, UK Foreign Secretary Hague said, “I believe that there is no greater strategic prize of the 21st century than the full social, political and economic empowerment of all women everywhere.” [Full speech] Tomorrow is the 103rd International Women’s Day. A great deal has been accomplished in the area of gender equality and human rights over the last … Read more »International Women’s Day: ‘women’s economic empowerment and raising girls’ aspirations’.

World Wildlife Day

Late last year, the UN General Assembly decided to make March 3 World Wildlife Day. On this day in 1973, the UN adopted the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, affirming the intrinsic value of wildlife and its various contributions including ecological, genetic, social, economic, scientific, educational, cultural, recreational and aesthetic, to sustainable development and human well-being. For the UK, a particular focus has … Read more »World Wildlife Day

Reshoring: Good news for Europe

Last week, UK Prime Minister David Cameron was in Davos for the World Economic Forum, where he discussed his strategy for making Britain the ‘Reshore Nation’. He also outlined what Europe can do to reap the benefits of reshoring. What is reshoring? It’s generally considered to be the process where a company has moved business activity overseas (“offshore”) and then has subsequently returned that activity to its original country. Offshoring … Read more »Reshoring: Good news for Europe

A Lunch for Nobel Laureates

Feature image for:  A Lunch for Nobel Laureates

One of the great pleasures of being Ambassador in Stockholm is the opportunity to host a lunch for our Nobel laureates. Yesterday Professors Peter Higgs and Michael Levitt, with their friends, family and colleagues came to the Residence. It was a chance to celebrate their discoveries. I noted what another British academic had given as a layman’s description of the significance of Professor Higg’s great discovery – the Higgs boson … Read more »A Lunch for Nobel Laureates