What I’m reading this month: December 2018 edition

Tube journeys (blogs/policy briefs/podcasts)

 Annie Kelly, British paedophiles target children in poor countries for online abuse

This article looks at the NCA’s work investigating and prosecuting the estimated 80,000 UK nationals (just let that number sink in for a minute…) targeting children in poor and war-torn countries for cyber-assisted sexual abuse, including live streaming. Just when you think children dealing with conflict and extreme poverty don’t have enough to deal with… The article also flags the work of a new Kenya cyber security initiative signed off by Minister Harriet Baldwin as part of the first UK-Kenya Security Compact. 

Seth Frantzman, Is Middle East rivalry good for Africa?

Horn of Africa politics are complicated enough without throwing the Middle East in, and this brief article for the US ‘realist’ magazine The National Interest tries to unpack some of the relationships between states and how this is impacting key military and economic relationships between the regions and, in some instances, the wider international community. I assume there’s lots of great political economy analysis on this right now, and I hope it comes with very good mapping of overlapping (and competing) interests.  

Duncan Green, Thinking & Working Politically: why the unexpected success? And Working with/against the grain, the case for toolkits & the future of Thinking & Working Politically

This two-part post on TWP raises some important questions about where TWP/DDD/PDIA/adaptive programming etc. is and where it could/should go. Decolonisation, legitimacy, planning, the joy of toolkits, what ‘working with the grain’ means in a changing world where political space is shrinking and authoritarianism is growing…all sorts of ‘fizzy’ things, as he says, to get our teeth into. 

Long-haul flights (books/longer papers)

Derek Draper, Create Space: How to manage time, and find focus, productivity and success

Create-Space-cover-lo-resI’m a bit of a productivity junkie, but this book is completely different to the ‘how to write longer to-do lists’ type of books out there. Draper (former advisor to at least two ministers) looks at the psychology of ‘space’ and how we’re the first humans in history to need to find time rather than to fill it. Through the use of compelling stories and case studies, he argues that without space, we can’t do all of the things we’re told we need to do more of: learn, reflect, create, network, collaborate, deliver, lead, balance, grow. As ITV’s Robert Peston says on the back of the book, ‘Derek Draper will do something for you that no politician can; he will help you take back control’. 

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