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

Entries by Robin Lustig

When Countries Fall Apart

(2) Comments | Posted 19 April 2014 | (00:00)

It's beginning to look as if Ukraine, as currently constituted, is well on the way to becoming a non-functioning state. So let's ask the really difficult question: so what?

After all, it wouldn't be the first country to fall apart. Some do it relatively painlessly - take a bow, Czechoslovakia...

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Politician, Heal Thyself

(17) Comments | Posted 12 April 2014 | (00:00)

I have a very simple message for MPs after the events of the past few days: if you want to be respected, behave respectably.

If you don't want us to have contempt for you, don't behave contemptibly.

I mean, how difficult is it to behave like decent, law-abiding human beings?...

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Living in the Shadow of Genocide

(1) Comments | Posted 5 April 2014 | (00:00)

We live, 20 years after the murder of an estimated 800,000 people, in the shadow of Rwanda. And this weekend, on the anniversary of the start of the Rwanda genocide, is a good time to contemplate the significance of that shadow.

A tiny country, in the middle of Africa, less...

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Warning: Do Not Be Young

(3) Comments | Posted 28 March 2014 | (23:00)

More than 30 years ago, the soon-to-be Labour party leader Neil Kinnock warned voters not to fall ill, and not to grow old, if Margaret Thatcher and the Conservative party were returned to power in the 1983 general election.

It is usually forgotten that in that same speech - one...

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Europe on the Brink

(77) Comments | Posted 21 March 2014 | (23:00)

Western leaders who'll be meeting for emergency talks in Europe next week have an unusually important judgement call to make: do they believe president Putin when he says he intends to go no further in Ukraine?

It may well be the most important decision facing Western policy-makers since they gave...

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A Letter to Angela Merkel

(3) Comments | Posted 28 February 2014 | (08:14)

Dear Chancellor

It was really sweet of you to pop over to London yesterday afternoon, but frankly I'd much rather you'd cancelled the trip and flown to Moscow instead.

I mean, priorities? David Cameron's forlorn attempt to hold his party together, or a potentially imploding Ukraine? Surely you don't have...

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A Requiem for the World's Revolutionaries

(8) Comments | Posted 21 February 2014 | (23:00)

Today is a day to weep for the world's revolutionaries. Their bruised bodies, their lost lives- and their shattered dreams.

Not just those who have been out in the freezing streets and squares of Kiev and other Ukrainian towns and cities, but also those who were out not so long...

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Why a Swiss Yes Could Lead to a Scottish No

(18) Comments | Posted 14 February 2014 | (23:00)

If I were a Scot, which I'm not, I'd be taking a very close look at the result of a referendum in Switzerland last weekend which, in effect, told the EU to go take a running jump.

Yes, I know, it's Switzerland. To quote Orson Welles in...

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'I Am Peter Greste'

(1) Comments | Posted 7 February 2014 | (09:00)

I appreciate that it's not always easy to love journalists, but that should not detract from an eternal truth: it is always essential to value journalism.

Especially in places where governments want to restrict free access to information. Places like Egypt, for example, where the generals are cracking down hard...

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A Moral Case for Higher Taxes

(40) Comments | Posted 31 January 2014 | (23:00)

I have a dream. I'm sitting in a studio somewhere, interviewing a Captain of Industry about Labour's idea to bump the top rate of income tax back up to 50%.

"Captain: Ridiculous. Hugely damaging. Economic vandalism. Politics of envy.

"Me: So what difference would it make to you personally?


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What a Wonderful World

(0) Comments | Posted 24 January 2014 | (08:12)

I wonder if I can persuade you that, despite the utter horror of this week's headlines from Syria, we are lucky to live in an era of unprecedented human progress. Yes, I'm going to try to convince you that for more people, in more places, the world has more to...

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Private Lives, Public Lives

(4) Comments | Posted 17 January 2014 | (23:00)

Many years ago, when I was running the news desk of a national newspaper, I took a phone call one evening from a woman who declined to give her name but asked: "Are you interested in a story about the private life of a leading British politician?"

I told her...

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Warning: Euro Elections Ahead

(65) Comments | Posted 12 January 2014 | (23:00)

I'm sure you already have it marked in your diary: 22 May, the date of the next euro-elections.

If you haven't, you should have - because they'll be unusually important this year, both in the UK and in many others of the EU's 28 member states. (Yes, 28 - remember,...

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A Letter From Sochi

(0) Comments | Posted 20 December 2013 | (15:08)

I'm writing this from the Black Sea resort of Sochi, which is the warmest city in Russia and will also be the venue for the Winter Olympics next February.

Crazy, huh? Why choose a place that even in December boasts bright sunshine and temperatures well above zero? Well, if you...

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Where Is the Next Nelson Mandela?

(0) Comments | Posted 9 December 2013 | (23:00)

It's absurd, I know, but wouldn't it be nice to think that one day another Mandela figure will emerge, someone with the same burning sense of justice, unquenchable courage and personal integrity? Absurd, yes, but we can dream, can't we?

After all, is it inevitable that today's politicians will always...

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He Changed the Course of History

(0) Comments | Posted 6 December 2013 | (09:01)

A man died yesterday. He was 95 years old and had been seriously ill for several months. Not an unusual occurrence, yet his death is reported this morning on the front page of just about every newspaper on earth.

That man was Nelson Mandela, one of the very few men...

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Giving Birth in Sierra Leone: Not Just Women's Stuff

(3) Comments | Posted 1 December 2013 | (23:00)

The Reverend George Buannie is a powerfully built man, with a voice to match. And in the dirt-poor village of Binkolo, in northern Sierra Leone, he's talking serious stuff to a local farmer.

Not about how tough it is to survive in one of the poorest countries on earth. Not...

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Boris Johnson: Still a 'Nasty Piece of Work'?

(42) Comments | Posted 29 November 2013 | (07:55)

The mayor of London, Boris Johnson, is not - despite his carefully cultivated Bumble the Clown image - a stupid man. So we must assume that he knew exactly what he was doing when he delivered his typically rumbustious "greed is good" speech in memory of Margaret Thatcher a couple...

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Iran Deal - Syria Sacrificed?

(28) Comments | Posted 23 November 2013 | (23:00)

In the "Like it" column, you can put the governments of Iran, the US, Russia and Europe.

In the "Don't Like it" column, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the anti-Assad opposition in Syria.

If the Iran nuclear deal, finalised in Geneva in the small hours of Sunday morning, sticks, the tectonic...

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Why All the Fuss About Doctor Who?

(26) Comments | Posted 21 November 2013 | (23:00)

Is there anyone else out there? Or am I the only living being in the entire galaxy who's been left totally unmoved by the current outbreak of Doctor Who-steria?

It's a good thing I never became a judge.

Counsel for the defence: "Your honour, my client has a cast-iron alibi...

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