Paul Knott began his working life in a hut on Hull's King George Dock before globetrotting for two decades as an unlikely British envoy. His "instructive and funny" (Alan Johnson MP) book about his experiences, "The Accidental Diplomat", is out now.
He is also the Chief Foreign Correspondent for the Sabotage Times and contributes to publications such as The Telegraph, Forty-20 and When Saturday Comes.
All that travel has failed to shift Paul's inherited old Labour instincts.
Articles by Paul
Underdogs by Tony Hannan is more than a great sports book. It is a witty and moving look at northern working-class culture in changed times. Set to the backdrop of the Brexit referendum and Jo Cox MP's murder, it will appeal to rugby league fans and non-fans alike.
The Syrian civil war is nearly over and the grim truth is that Assad has won. His victory, aided by Iran and Russia, is hollow and leaves Syria destroyed, and the Middle East dangerously placed. As they slowly emerge from one brutal war, Syrians must now hope that the Israelis, Iranians and others can resist the temptation to use their battered country as the venue for settling their differences.
As Kenyans hold their general election, they are hoping for a fair election and peaceful aftermath, resulting in a government that does a better job of addressing their basic needs. In the longer run, they need a new generation of politicians, more driven by ideas and less beholden to ethnic identities.
Kagame has been Rwanda’s de facto leader since 1994 and is standing for re-election as President on 4th August. He has tried to put the past divisions between Tsutis and Hutus behind the country and has succeeded in growing Rwanda's economy. However, the cost has been his increasing authoritarianism.
After the fallout from the loss of their majority at the General Election, the Tories are already scheming to cling to power. Theresa May's days are numbered but she'll cling on to take the flak until a more emollient leader emerges. The onus is on Labour to stop the Tories in their tracks.
Iranians voted recently in a presidential election won by the reformist candidate, Hassan Rouhani. But despite being a partial democracy, Iran remains a menace. It has propped up the Assad regime in Syria and now risks provoking a conflict with Israel that could escalate out of control.
Trump's speech in Saudi Arabia proclaimed massive arms sales to a human rights abusing regime, then he touted a Judeo-Christian-Islamic alliance to defeat terrorism, ignoring that he was speaking in the homeland of fifteen of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers. The President gave his hosts what they wanted.
Emmanuel Macron may have beaten Marine Le Pen and now be President of France but her party still received a large percentage of the vote. In its attempt at balance and fairness the media have become colluders with the far-right as they try to detoxify their rancid agenda.
By sacking James Comey Donald Trump has compromised the independence of the FBI. Unlike Richard Nixon, who sacked his special prosecutor, Trump may get away with it because of the cowardly Republicans in Congress. The cover-up into his campaign's collusion with the Russians has now begun.
Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” sloganeering was vacuous puffery. America's greatest successes have generally resulted from sticking closely to them. And no previous president has had such little respect for the separation of powers and the institutional role of the presidency.
The US bombing of Syria’s Shayrat airbase will have caused consternation in the Kremlin. Assad's use of chemical weapons has already made Vladimir Putin look impotent. He can neither ditch Assad or end the Syrian war. However, maybe Rex Tillerson's strategy is to force him to climbdown.
As Theresa May triggers Article 50 she will formally start the process that will lead to Britain’s exit from the European Union. How did we get to this point? Paul Knott accuses David Cameron, George Osborne and Boris Johnson.
The death of Martin McGuinness has brought many different reactions. To many he will remain an IRA murderer who caused many deaths; to others he is a hero. Whether he can be forgiven does not mean we should lack respect for his role in the peace process over the last two decades of his life.
According to the Chinese government mouthpiece, the Global Times, the “soaring regional tensions” around the Korean Peninsula are “close to being out of control”. There are no risk-free solutions but military muscle alone is not enough: China needs to use it leverage to control its turbulent neighbour.
One of the few consistent elements of Donald Trump’s campaign and presidency is his subservience to the Kremlin. Despite his inaction over election hacking and praise for Putin, the pace of Russian abuses has stepped up. Why does this supposed patriot go to such lengths to avoid criticising an enemy state?
The last right-wing US President with personality issues produced one great achievement before being ejected from the White House. Richard Nixon took advantage of the Sino-Soviet split to bring about a rapprochement between the US and China. There are good reasons why Trump should seek to do the same.
Even if the world avoids catastrophe during Trump’s presidency, egotism and aggressiveness that characterise his foreign policy and security appointees so far risks other disastrous decisions.
The British media have drawn negative comparisons between the Rio de Janeiro Olympics and London 2012. Hindered by the unexpected political and economic crises, it did well to pull off this summer’s massive undertaking. But how does the legacy left by the London Games really compare to other recent host cities?
The long history of female athletes being abused means we should be wary of negative attitudes towards Castor Semenya. The problem is particularly pronounced with regard to black women. In addition to sexism, the racism inflicted on other great sportswomen suggest that racism may also be a factor.
David Cameron should resign as Prime Minister after the EU referendum - regardless of the outcome. It was politically inept to call the referendum in the first place and the resulting campaign has dangerously exacerbated divisions in British society. It will take a major effort to piece things back together again.
Since becoming the presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump has offered a more reassuring, if crudely expressed and confused, position. The question is, can we believe a word he says?
The reason for Russia’s failure to achieve its stated objective was that tackling terrorism was clearly not its real purpose in Syria. Its actual aim was widely perceived as being to prop up the fraternal dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad. But even this explanation only scratches the surface of the self-interest underlying Russia’s intervention.
Commentators and policymakers have overstated Russia’s strength and significance. Following it for much of the last decade has resulted in weak foreign policy choices that are not in the UK's interests.
Calls to form a military 'grand alliance' to are flawed and risk alienating Syrians.
The left must do more than merely distance itself from Putin’s assaults on human rights and ordinary people in Russia and overseas. It should be standing up for its values by leading the resistance against him.