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Preston, Peter

He joined The Guardian in 1963 and was editor for twenty years, from 1975 to 1995. He continues as a prolific columnist addressing a wide range of political and social issues, also contributing a weekly column devoted mainly to news about newspapers, their readers and (generally) diminishing circulations in The Observer's "business and media" section


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4 articles of this author have been cited in the European Press Review so far.


The Guardian - United Kingdom | 03/12/2007

How the EU can save the Balkans

Peter Preston considers that the future of the Balkans is in the hands of the EU. "Slovenia joined [the EU] in the last wave but one. Croatia, accession treaty drafted, stands on the edge of membership. Bosnia, Macedonia, Montenegro and - yes! - Kosovo, are further down the queue but near the top of an urgent agenda. Serbia is key to everything ... And, if you head south, there's the free nation we prefer not to think about - Albania ... . The Balkans belong to our Europe. ... Membership is our patent antidote to narrow nationalism. The EU that helped bring peace to western Europe long ago still has much work to do. ... The lesson of Kosovo is clear enough and an eerie replica of crises the world never solves - Kashmir, say, or Cyprus - because troops just holding the ring are of no account. Take them away and you're back to square one. What you have to put in their place is a sense of direction."

The Guardian - United Kingdom | 12/03/2007

How conclusive will power-sharing in Northern Ireland actually be ?

In the Northern Irish assembly election on Wednesday, March 7th, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) won 36 of the 108 Assembly seats with Sinn Féin taking 28. However, the political journalist Peter Preston considers that "Northern Ireland's power-sharing is nothing but a gloss of politics, built on distrust. ... Yes, Ian Paisley (DUP) and Martin McGuinness (Sinn Fein), big winners both, can finally plight their political troth. Yes, this is devolution at last. Yes, Northern Ireland has voted for low water rates, mobile phones that work both sides of the border - and a warm bath of southern comfort. Yes, this is Tony Blair's legacy (with a nod to John Major). Yes, we mainlanders can relax, switch off and concentrate on global warming, not Belfast hot air. And no, Nuala O'Loan [Police Ombudsman ] isn't welcome at the wedding breakfast. ... [She] revealed how police informers in one Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) gang had been shielded by RUC officers as they murdered 10 or more Catholics."

The Guardian - United Kingdom | 16/10/2006

Bulgaria in the run-up to the presidential elections

Peter Preston admires the atmosphere in Bulgaria's Parliament. "No confrontations, no benches opposite and bawled insults. It's a relaxed morning in the shadow of an imminent presidential election. And the issues on the table for detailed discussion are consensual ones, too. Has the anti-corruption select committee got a draft bill clamping down on corruption? Indeed: featuring such wonders as the right to run advertisements in local newspapers denouncing politicians who cross the line. Has the ethical select committee evolved a code of practice that many western countries might envy? Indeed: the far corners of sleaze are being swept. The business of shaping up for Europe is almost complete. ... This could be a political earthquake zone. Instead, Sofia has made a considered, life-changing choice. Do we value, or even much notice, that achievement?"

The Guardian - United Kingdom | 18/09/2006

The taboo of Europe across the UK political spectrum

"Europe is an issue that both Tories and Labour willfully ignore, yet it affects us all so much," reflects Peter Preston former editor and regular chronicler of the Guardian. "Mr Brown has a habit of not mentioning Europe. ... His current dissertations on Britishness stop short at Dover. But still, when you glance at any day's news agenda, any selection of issues that land on Downing Street's mat, the omission ranks somewhere south of bizarre. ... And David Cameron's position, if anything, is even odder. ... His future forgets how swiftly the offer of membership raised and cemented freedoms across eastern Europe. It barely nods towards the transformation of Romania and Bulgaria. It doesn't develop the broad, vibrant, symbolic case for an Ankara inside the EU. It cannot afford to make Europe important, because otherwise Conservative wounds will start bleeding again."

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