Robin Lustig
Former presenter of The World Tonight on BBC Radio 4 and Newshour on BBC World Service.

Entries by Robin Lustig

Palmyra: A Lament

(3) Comments | Posted 22 May 2015 | (09:10)

What matters most: the loss of 200,000 lives or the threatened destruction of some ancient ruins?

The answer should be obvious, I know - and yet ...

Perhaps it's because I have visited the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra, and have marvelled at the breath-taking beauty of its historic...

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A Very Political Prince

(12) Comments | Posted 16 May 2015 | (00:00)

I have a suggestion for Prince Charles: why not register yourself as a professional political lobbyist? You could set up your own company: HRH Political Consultants.

You clearly enjoy writing to ministers, trying to influence policy, and backing the causes you favour. On the evidence of the handful of your...

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A New Era, A New Country

(3) Comments | Posted 8 May 2015 | (06:47)

You have woken up this morning in a new country. It is a country divided as never before, with two major political parties facing existential crises after a brutal election night.

I am writing at dawn on Friday morning, in the expectation that by the time you read these words,...

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The Big Tory Lie About Labour and the SNP

(25) Comments | Posted 2 May 2015 | (00:00)

Contrary to popular belief, it wasn't Hitler's propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, who said: "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it."

It might have been Lenin, who is often quoted as saying (although I can find no reliable source): "A...

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An Unfair Election

(29) Comments | Posted 24 April 2015 | (17:11)

Although no one has any idea who'll win the election on 7 May, if indeed anyone wins, there is one absolute certainty: our voting system stinks.

Correction: the system we use for electing Westminster MPs stinks. Elections to the Scottish parliament, the Welsh and northern Ireland assemblies, the European parliament,...

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Has Miliband Called the SNP's Bluff?

(65) Comments | Posted 18 April 2015 | (00:00)

Something very unusual happened towards the end of the TV debate between the five main opposition party leaders: I learned something I didn't already know.

Perhaps I haven't been paying close enough attention, but when Ed Miliband and the SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon were clashing noisily over hypothetical post-election cooperation...

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The Agony of the Tactical Voter

(11) Comments | Posted 11 April 2015 | (00:00)

I have a friend who would very much welcome your help. She lives in a marginal constituency and is agonising over how to cast her vote next month.

My friend describes herself as a left-of-centre progressive, and she has tended in the past to vote for the Lib Dems rather...

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Iran: the New Chapter

(2) Comments | Posted 6 April 2015 | (00:00)

It's a deal. Or, to be strictly accurate, it's a framework deal, which means that Iran and the six major powers with whom it's been negotiating over its nuclear research programme still have a few i's to dot and t's to cross.

Even so, it's definitely worth celebrating. Not so...

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Not a Good Day at the Office for Cameron

(22) Comments | Posted 26 March 2015 | (23:00)

I suspect Thursday wasn't the best day of David Cameron's political life: first the Supreme Court ruled against him on his attempt to block publication of Prince Charles's private letters to government ministers (three cheers for the Supreme Court); then MPs voted against his attempt to change the rules to...

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Israel: The Millwall of the Middle East

(53) Comments | Posted 20 March 2015 | (16:40)

Imagine it's election day, and the prime minister posts a video message on his Facebook page. "The government is in danger," he says. "The blacks are voting in droves."

I imagine you'd be shocked. I know I would be. Yet that, with just one word changed, is what the Israeli...

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Those TV Debates: Who, Whom?

(9) Comments | Posted 13 March 2015 | (23:00)

Michael Grade ought to know a thing or two about broadcasting - after all, he has been chairman of both the BBC and ITV in his time, as well as chief executive of Channel 4.

So when he asked the other day: "Who do the broadcasters think...

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India's Daughter, India's Shame

(7) Comments | Posted 8 March 2015 | (08:16)

The gang rape and murder of 23-year-old Jyoti Singh in Delhi in December 2012 caused massive national and international outrage. How sad, therefore, that the Indian government has decided to ban the showing of an extraordinary television documentary about the case that was shown on BBC4 last night.

Here was...

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Politics 101: Be Clear, Be Brief, Shut Up

(3) Comments | Posted 27 February 2015 | (23:00)

This has not exactly been a good week for politicians -- so I've decided to make the first ever Lustig Politician of the Week award.

And it goes - fanfare, please - to the former deputy prime minister of Australia, Anthony Albanese. He issued a press release on Thursday in...

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Russia: The Enemy?

(19) Comments | Posted 20 February 2015 | (23:00)

It's been exactly a year since President Putin started moving in to Ukraine - yet we're still scratching our heads and asking what exactly he's up to.

My fear is that by the time we've worked it out, it'll be too late. Mouthful by mouthful, he and his proxies...

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Some Questions for the Uber Rich

(6) Comments | Posted 13 February 2015 | (23:00)

How I wish I could sit down in front of a microphone with one of HSBC's "ultra wealthy" Swiss banking clients. How I'd love an opportunity to discuss with them the way they look after their money - and dodge paying taxes.

Perhaps you remember Leona Helmsley, an American business...

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In the Name of Morality

(9) Comments | Posted 6 February 2015 | (14:55)

Two of the grimmest places I have ever visited are the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and the Choeung Ek killing fields in Cambodia, dedicated to the memory of the hundreds of thousands of victims of the Khmer Rouge. They have been much in my mind this week.

So, too, has...

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The Saudi Royals: Not People to Do Business With

(26) Comments | Posted 30 January 2015 | (23:00)

I wonder what was going through David Cameron's mind as he cleared his diary to rush off to the funeral of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. (I'm not too bothered about what went through Prince Charles's mind - going to foreign funerals is what he's paid for.)

By most people's...

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A Test That Europe Must Not Fail

(6) Comments | Posted 23 January 2015 | (23:00)

It looks as if 2015 could turn out to be Europe's Year of the Insurgents. It's going to be a rough ride, and the rise of the insurgents is only one of three major challenges that the continent now faces.

In Greece's elections this Sunday, the left-wing, anti-austerity Syriza party...

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A Warning for the Windsors

(31) Comments | Posted 16 January 2015 | (23:00)

Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, is a very lucky man. If it hadn't been for the appalling events in Paris last week, he would still be all over the front pages.

Perhaps you've already forgotten why. It's because of a lawsuit brought in Florida by a woman who alleges...

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Je Suis Charlie

(19) Comments | Posted 7 January 2015 | (23:00)

In the aftermath of an atrocity as horrifying as the Paris murders on Wednesday, it is more important than ever to be crystal clear about the freedoms that we hold most dearly.

Freedom of expression, which must always include the freedom to offend and to ridicule. Satire is an essential...

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