An interesting week in Jamil-land. Being a senior editor sometimes involves a more ambassadorial role — speaking at events, at conferences and on the airwaves. Mainly thanks to poor planning on my part, I spent a little too much time this week on this part of my job. But I quite enjoy public speaking and meeting new people and there were a couple of highlights for me. One was a breakfast talk I gave (under the Chatham House rule) at the Walbrook Club in the City of London, as a guest of proprietor Philip Palumbo.
A consummate English gentleman, Philip runs one of the nicest, smartest and most interesting clubs I’ve ever come across – and I have experienced many, many such institutions across the world, from Karachi to Boston to Hong Kong to Delhi to Auckland to London. The audience was fantastic and Philip a very fine host.
Another highlight was dialing in remotely as the moderator for a fascinating panel at the summit of the Special Competitive Studies Project in Washington. The SCSP is a think tank and foundation set up by former Google CEO Eric Schmidt to strengthen America’s long-term competitiveness in an age of technological disruption.
Led by the brilliant Ylli Bajraktari, the SCSP is doing some fascinating work and convening many of the finest minds on these topics.
Back to the day job and POLITICO launched its exciting new transatlantic Power Play podcast with star host (and head of audio in Europe) Anne McElvoy interviewing the U.K.’s likely next prime minister, Labour Party leader Keir Starmer. We teased out news-breaking lines on China, drugs and even Barack Obama. Much more to come! Listen to the episode.
One last little observation, which clarified for me something that I have known instinctively for a long time. In the digital media business, there is a danger of focusing too obsessively on “traffic” – the number of readers and users who click on our excellent journalism day in and day out.
In the last week or so, a fun story we wrote back in July on various embarrassing political scandals inexplicably began to move up our traffic rankings, despite being a couple of months old and having nothing to do with the current news cycle.
Taken at face value, this adds up to a lot of readers and would normally be a source of celebration. However, according to some ace analysis by my excellent colleagues, we have discovered that the bulk of that “traffic” comes from internet users in Indonesia, India and Turkey who appear to be searching for online pornography. They seem to be rather disappointed by what they find because they spend an average of just six seconds reading the article before moving on. Not exactly core POLITICO readers but I guess we have a little something for everyone!
Until next week,
**A message from Masdar: Masdar is active in more than 40 countries across six continents and has invested, or committed to invest, in worldwide projects with a combined value of more than US$30 billion. We have developed some of the world’s biggest clean energy projects that incorporate the cutting-edge technology. Learn more about our projects.**
The secret, slipshod evidence the EU uses to sanction Russian oligarchs
This stellar scoop nabbed the secret documents the EU relies on to sanction Russian oligarchs, and revealed the so-called evidence falls far short of legal standards. Filled with fascinating detail from the dossiers and revelations such as the fact that some refer to Wikipedia pages and even an AI bot called “Carmen,” this story is an absolute must-read that will become even more important as oligarchs’ appeals move through the EU legal system. Read the story.
Nagorno-Karabakh catastrophe fires anger against Armenia’s leader
POLITICO hands down had the best coverage on Nagorno-Karabakh, thanks to excellent journalism from our reporter on the ground. We were able to reach beyond the headlines and really explain to readers what was going on between Azerbaijan and Armenia — bringing them the breaking news, as well as analysis and geopolitical consequences of the flash war. Read the story.
Ukraine will sue Poland, Hungary and Slovakia over agricultural bans
Fantastic scoop originating from Brussels Playbook, which revealed that Ukraine would be suing Poland, Hungary and Slovakia over their grain bans. The story dominated the morning and made headlines around Europe and beyond. Read the story.
Putin exposes the myth of Austria’s victimhood
A fabulous piece digging deep into Austria’s history and politics, revealing how Vienna pushes its charm and coziness, and slides under the radar while playing both sides of the fence. Read the story.
Qatargate: Corruption probe unravels as defense kicks case to May
Our crack team of Qatargate reporters not only anticipated this twist in the legal case, but also quickly and thoroughly covered how it unfolded with this incisive story. Read the story.
Europe’s China electric vehicle probe risks collateral damage
This is a smart take on Europe’s investigation into Chinese electric vehicle subsidies — especially the tensions at play between French dirigisme and Germany’s export obsession. Much better than the plodding and one-dimensional efforts from some competitors that just talked about the German car industry. Read the story.
Hungary’s baby-making summit dominated by paranoia, not policy)
This great piece takes the reader inside the annual summit on one of Viktor Orbán’s pet projects — tackling declining birth rates. Serious discussion of the policy was thin on the ground, replaced instead by populist perspectives on the threat to traditional families and grudges over regional politics. A lively, entertaining read. Read the story.
**Listen in on conversations with global power players with Power Play, a brand-new global podcast by POLITICO. Renowned host Anne McElvoy takes you into the minds of those shifting power, policy and politics across the globe. Sign up here to be notified of the first episodes.**
YOUR WEEKEND PLAYLIST
EU Confidential: From the UN General Assembly — world leaders gather in NY
EU Confidential is in New York for the U.N. General Assembly, where leaders from around the globe are gathering to hash out some of the most pressing issues. Those range from the climate catastrophe to reform of the U.N. itself and Russia’s war in Ukraine. To make sense of the big stories driving the talks at this year’s UNGA, host Suzanne Lynch is joined by Anne McElvoy – POLITICO’s executive editor and head of audio, who also hosts POLITICO’s brand new “Power Play” podcast. Later in the show, Suzanne talks to Werner Hoyer, who is ending his 12-year term as head of the European Investment Bank. They focus on the EIB’s support for green technologies in Europe and beyond, and discuss the future of an institution whose leadership position is up for grabs. Finally, we bring you a conversation with European Commission Executive Vice President Maroš Šefčovič. He explains how the European Green Deal and its ambitious targets are faring here in New York. Listen to the episode.
Westminster Insider: The Battle for Scotland
Host Ailbhe Rea hits the campaign trail in the greater Glasgow constituency of Rutherglen and Hamilton West, where a high-profile by-election battle between Labour and the ruling Scottish National Party looks very much like next year’s general election in Scotland in microcosm. Ailbhe meets the leaders of the two parties battling it out here: the SNP leader and Scottish First Minister, Humza Yousaf, and the Scottish Labour leader, Anas Sarwar. She meets their candidates, the SNP’s Katy Loudon and Labour’s Michael Shanks, and the voters of Rutherglen and Hamilton West. Everyone’s favourite pollster, Professor John Curtice, explains what’s at stake. Listen to the episode.
Power Play: Keir Starmer International: UK Labour leader puts the world to rights
In this inaugural episode of POLITICO’s new global podcast Power Play, host Anne McElvoy talks to the man who hopes to be Britain’s next prime minister, Keir Starmer. In a wide-ranging interview on global affairs, the Labour leader reveals his concerns about China. He warns that the U.K. needs to “wean itself off” China “when it comes to trade, commerce and technology.” Starmer also tells Anne what he thinks about Donald Trump, Joe Biden, the war in Ukraine and his vision for a “clean energy alliance” around the world. Later, Anne talks to POLITICO’s assembled “Power Panel” from New York City, where the annual U.N. General Assembly is underway. As leaders gather on the international stage, Rosa Prince, the editor of London Playbook and Nahal Toosi, senior foreign affairs correspondent in Washington, D.C. share their analysis of Starmer’s thinking about the world and what it might mean for transatlantic relations. Listen to the episode.
**Want to know what’s really going on in defense policy? Don’t stay in no man’s land. Read POLITICO Pro Defense starting October 10. Learn more.**
With a simple gift, Keir Starmer has declared war on France! Find out more about this major development in this week’s Declassified.
“Listen, if you promise never to try and sneak into the ‘Concerned Women’ event ever again, I won’t call the police.”
Can you do better? Email [email protected] or on Twitter @pdallisonesque
Last week we gave you this photo:
Thanks for all the entries. Here’s the best from our postbag — there’s no prize except for the gift of laughter, which I think we can all agree is far more valuable than cash or booze.
“And now, for my friends to the right, I will perform a double backflip U-turn on my climate-change policy,” by Tom Morgan.
**A message from Masdar: Masdar is the UAE’s clean energy champion and one of the largest companies of its kind in the world, advancing the development and deployment of renewable energy and green hydrogen technologies to address global sustainability challenges. The company is targeting a renewable energy portfolio capacity of at least 100 gigawatts (GW) by 2030 to power millions of homes with around the world with clean energy. By the same year, Masdar will have an annual green hydrogen production capacity of up to 1 million tonnes. Learn more have we are pioneering energy.**
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