don't read the menu options and go directly to the page content 
Welcome to my new website

I am a NED @ Crowdbnk and a Strategic Advisor to StartUpCapitalVenture 2 in San Francisco; I am also on the CITI Advisory Board @ Columbia University, NY.

I chair Trinity Hospice, Clapham, NISE NHS Innovations SE, Major Stanley's Trust at OURFC and the Great Retail Revival Foundation.

 

 

An ITunes email tried to phish my account an hour ago; BEWARE it is a scam but a very clever one

Blog

You are here: Home / Blog
26
OCT
This morning's radio and television coverage of the heads of MPs....... http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/ newsid_9127000/9127549.stm   http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/ entertainment-arts-11625272    
26
OCT
HH Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar and HH Sheikha Mozar attended the House of Lords for a reception with MPs, Peers and former MPs (with an interest in Qatar). Speaker Bercow's notes from the Foreign Office gave new meaning to the word "anodyne" but it was good to catch up with one of our former Ambassadors, Stephen Day and touch base with old friends. Sheikha Mozar easily won the fashion stakes and she normally does.
25
OCT
Made in Dagenham **** Directed by Joe Dante Starring Teri Polo, Haley Bennett & Bob Hoskins This is a whimsical film about a 1968 strike at the Ford Car Plant in Dagenham by a small group of women who wanted equal pay. It led to closures not helped by dodgy shop stewards, awful management and political interference. They won in the end..........and women's pay was changed but still it lags behind today despite endless new laws...........a feel-good movie.
25
OCT
National Portrait Gallery www.npg.org.uk St Martin's Place London WC2H 0HE I spent yesterday afternoon wandering around the NPG. As there are 16,000 portraits in its archive there is always something new to see and not just the newly commissioned. I saw three exhibitions: Thomas Lawrence Portraits (until 23/01/11) **** Camille Silvy (now closed) *** and An Englishman in NY Photographs of Jason Bell (until 17/04/11) ** The Lawrence is quite outstanding and...
25
OCT
Names Not Numbers will be returning to Portmeirion from 4th-6th March 2011 for its third iteration. Billed as the UK Davos - it is nothing like that -being much more intimate, appealing and friendlier............. This morning we celebrated the 2nd iteration and looked forward to the next at BBC Portland Place where Lord Reith must have looked down on us horrified at the very thought of a social network gathering!  For more details: www.namesnotnumbers.com...
24
OCT
Archipelago **** written and directed by Joanna Hogg BFI London Film Festival: General Release (Curzon) expected April 2011 Part of Joanna Hogg's movie grammar was clearer after watching her second film Archipelago on Friday evening: ** she determines the conversation but allows the actors to ad-lib ** she prefers nature's noises than a soundtrack ** she dwells on the neuroses of upper middle class families ** her shots dwell over long to draw you...
24
OCT
Mao's Great Famine by Frank Dikotter (Bloomsbury) ***** This is not a book for the faint-hearted. Frank Dikotter who shares his time between teaching and researching at the University of  Hong Kong and SOAS has become our leading historian and chronicler on all things Chinese. This is his eighth book on the subject. It comes just as if there seems to be another seismic change in Chinese politics as Xi Jinping is being groomed for the leadership according to articles
24
OCT
Under The Sun: The Letters of Bruce Chatwin **** Selected and Edited by Elizabeth & Nicholas Shakespeare (Jonathan Cape) I had read all of Bruce Chatwin's six books written in six different genres before his premature death in 1989 aged 48. Like many I thought he was destined to be our greatest living writer. He died of Aids at a time when his family and friends were keen to hide his illness. He was thought to be bi-sexual despite his marriage to Elizabeth ( who was some kind of...
21
OCT
This morning at RIBA, the second EI Commentariat Awards took place hosted by the legendary Peter York. The shining knight of C4 News, Jon Snow gave the best speech for a guest giving away an award commentating on the lack of women on short lists and the lack of women winning awards.........I was a judge as I was last year. (I'm also a Board member of e.i.)  Editorial Intelligence announces the winners of      The Comment Awards 2010 at RIBA,...
21
OCT
BFI London Film Festival 13th-28th October 2010 www.bfi.uk/lff Tickets: 020 7928 3232 I went to see this afternoon, Fire in Babylon, a documentary about the might of West Indian cricket from the mid 1970s until the mid 1990s. It was the second showing and was sold out. My dear friend David Hooper (of Spycatcher fame) invited me as his son John was a small investor. It may just find a Distributor but is more likely to be shown at cricket  and social clubs up and down the country...
21
OCT
Joanna Hogg's first film Unrelated, won the Guardian's Film of the Year in 2008. Set in a house near Siena, known personally by both of us, it was about a couple middle class families on holiday. Things were going swimmingly until a friend turns up without her husband and becomes attracted to one of the sons. Beautifully filmed (and unusually without a soundtrack) it deserved its award. Now, Joanna is back with Archipelago, shot in the Scilly Isles, again it observes middle class manners. I...
21
OCT
London Jazz Festival 12th-21st November 2010 www.londonjazzfestival.org.uk Book now for a host of concerts and follow some of them at www.bbc.co.uk/radio3  
20
OCT
The Sunday Times broke the news that two senior members of FIFA's decision making committee on who is awarded the 2018 World Cup (for which England is still a bidder) were - how can I put this kindly - minded to accept upwards of $500k for their vote. Given the lack of transparency of FIFA  per se including its accounts why should we be surprised? It is time for Sepp Blatter to resign.
20
OCT
There are essentially two Schools of Economics when a country is faced with a recession. The first has been beautifully exposed in Naomi Klein's book: The Shock Doctrine yet it is the course of action the ConDem coalition parties in the UK have decided to take. The tabloids would call it "Slash & Burn" but the more serious would describe it as "Making  a thinner state".....that is apparently you can create growth and employment by reducing...
17
OCT
Tony Blair's A Journey has sold 209,175 at the last count easily the top selling autobiography of the year. Others doing well include: Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love which has clocked an amazing 321,460 copies and The Fry Chronicles by Stephen Fry which has sold 102,145 books.
15
OCT
It is nearly forty years ago since I first read a Woodward book albeit with his co-author Carl Bernstein: it was the famous All The President's Men and then its follow up The Final Days. I was transfixed and still have the paperbacks in my library and a video of the film which even shook my children when we watched it a couple of years ago. I wonder whether the Clinton-Lewinsky affair will one day receive the white carpet treatment?   More recently (the past decade) I have read
15
OCT
I went to see Shelley Wilson's Body Politic this morning at the Westminster Research Library tucked behind the National Gallery. Earlier this year 147 MPs stood down from Parliament and Shelley has captured them in a sculptural installation which reminded me of the Valley of Death or a version of the Terracotta Army. It surprised me.
15
OCT
For reasons not obvious to me the Art World refuses to acknowledge the brilliance of our Curators. Unlike film producers or theatre directors, our galleries and museum directors (who we do know) want to keep the brilliance of their staff to themselves. This is patently unfair. An Exhibition depends almost entirely on their professional competence. There ought to be an annual awards ceremony to celebrate their success. I mention this yet again because I slipped along to...
15
OCT
There has been much Mandela musings over the years since he was released from Robben Island after 27 years of tough, mostly brutal, imprisonment in 1990; three years later he won the Nobel Peace Prize and a year later he became the first democratically elected President of South Africa. To all of us he the Man of the 20th Century. His Autobiography Long Walk To Freedom sold millions when it was first published in 1994 and there have been a string of...
11
OCT
I'm back in Cairo after a 13 year absence. When I last visited I came with CAABU and some legends as Jon Trickett MP, now almost back in the shadow cabinet, and Phyllis Starkey. This time it is a visit for the Tribal Group where I work as an Associate. We've businesses across the Mid East - in Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, Jordan and Syria - and we're actively pursuing others. We're here to examine opportunities for Education which is one of our three specialisms.   The...
10
OCT
Could the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow be the last of their kind? After the high points of Manchester 2002 and Melbourne 2006, they have reached their nadir in India. And who is to blame? Step forward the cumbersome Commonwealth Games Federation though it will be allowed to linger on and on and on. The real problem is that ever since they started in 1930 as the Empire Games in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada they have been dominated by England and or the "Dominions". Australia...
10
OCT
Our first family holiday after we had returned to the UK from our world travels which had taken us to Nigeria and Hong Kong was in Aldeburgh in April, 1959. We took a caravan (the park is still there today) and every morning I used to walk across the fields (now a desperately disappointing new-ish housing development) to a dairy to collect the milk in a jug (alas, that's gone). We walked to Thorpeness and boated on the mere and laughed at the large converted water tower....
10
OCT
You have to hope that Lord Browne's Report started with: What is the UK's university sector for before he then tells how it ought to be funded? Here's what would be in my Report: 1. A compulsory gap year between school and university including a three month paid compulsory national social service scheme 2. The introduction of an Ofsted for teaching at undergraduate level and a secondary assessment of whether all universities are fit for purpose. 3. Those students at school...
5
OCT
I have a soft spot for South African music having visited the country on nine occasions over the past 18 years.........I bought: Zamajobe by Ndoni Yamanzi Kulture Noir bySimphiwe Dana and Live in Concert by Lira For good measure I also picked up a couple of books to read:  In a Different Time by Peter Harris   and Khayelitsha by Steven Otter
5
OCT
I visited the Delhi site of the Commonwealth Games in December 2008 and as there wasn't anything actually on the sites and no-one working I doubted whether the Games would go ahead. By the skin of their teeth they have but it is unlikely they will ever be given to a second tier country again. This would be wrong. India's public system is corrupt; that is down to its politicians. India's private sector is booming (see the challenging and insightful article in last week's The Economist...
4
OCT
The Americans, the most competitive sporting nation in the world, do not roll over. Down on Sunday evening by three points in the Ryder Cup, they were written off by most European media commentators this morning most of whom have never played sport to any level. It went to the wire and Monty's selection of Graham McDowell to play last was the critical element of an amazing final day as Europe won back the Ryder Cup from America by 14.5-13.5 at the 17th after "four" days for which at least a...
3
OCT
Who runs international cricket? Not the International Cricket Council based in that hot bed of cricket, Dubai; not the English Cricket Board and no longer the MCC. The ICC moved from the home of cricket at Lord's so that they wouldn't be subject to English laws and now in Dubai they cannot be sued by a member of the cricket loving public. NewsCorp, the media company largely owned by Rupert Murdoch runs international cricket. They own the international cricket media...
2
OCT
Wherever I am in the world when I have a few hours spare I try and find a jazz club. In Seattle I have frequented Jazz Alley, in Washington, DC I've taken to Blues Alley and in NY I have drifted into Harlaam and taken advice. I am in Cape Town seeing Jack, my son, who is on his Gap year and having spent five weeks teaching in eastern Tanzania, he is now also in the city taking a course which will give him a number of sailing certificates including day-time crewing on a yacht.   So...
2
OCT
I first came to Cape Town for Christmas in 1991 to stay with the MacDonald family (four brothers) and visited Constantia for a delightful supper. I failed to visit the vineyards and so today 19 years later I made amends.  Jack and I tasted wines at the Steenberg Vineyards - we started with a Steenberg 1682 (the date the vineyard was laid down) Pinot Noir Methode Cap Classique which to you and me was a champagne rose, soft on the palate, it slipped down. We moved on to a Sauvignon...
1
OCT
En route to Cape Town to see my son, Jack I read The Fear, the Last Days of Robert Mugabe by Peter Godwin. I'm a fan of the author having previously read Mukiwa: A White Boy in Africa.  Godwin is banned in Zimbabwe (he now lives in NY) but during 2008 he returned at frequent intervals to risk his life to catalogue the appalling atrocities which Mugabe and his evil henchmen had inflicted daily on MDC supporters despite the results of the General Election. Mugabe failed to accept the
1
OCT
The Ryder Cup which for the past 20 odd years has lit up the golfing world starts this morning at Celtic Manor, a relatively new course, close to Newport in Wales.  For fifty odd years hardly anyone noticed the Ryder Cup in the UK because the teams were drawn from the four home countries but since that was ditched and the team was widened to include all European golfers American has not fared as well. Indeed Europe hasn't poem defeated at home for nearly 20 years. Of...
1
OCT
It was almost as if I hadn't been away.....first the East Kent Gazette, in Sittingbourne, runs a piece about my having given 30 or so artefacts to the local musuem in East Street which I had collected as the local MP over the past 13 years, then BBC Radio Kent does a live interview with me about Ed Miliband because I suspect I was the only former Labour MP from a Kent constituency who voted for him and finally, Your Swale called, to do an interview about......"What's it like being...
website by Hudson Berkley Reinhart Ltd