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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.

 

 

Border and customs officer numbers down migration up; clearly no connection

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30
NOV
We have 165 UK universities of one form or another. If we are going to increase tuition fees and reduce income from overseas students by capping their numbers (what's the sense of this when they pay full fees of c£20k?) then the first question which needs to be asked is what is the purpose of Higher Education for the next 30 years and once we have settled that argument we should then find ways of funding it. China will overtake America as the lead economy by 2020. India will be fourth,...
28
NOV
England had no plan B at Twickenham yesterday afternoon when they were comfortably beaten by South Africa by 21-11. The modern truism in the professional game is that if you lose the lineout you lose the match. England not only lost the lineouts but the scrums and the mauls too. They did not have the physical presence to take on the Springboks. The All Blacks completed a grand slam when winning in Cardiff and Australia thrashed France. So, as we move slowly towards RWC2011 in New...
28
NOV
Andrew Rawnsley's article in today The Observer about the reasons why we should support a change to the first past the post system was spot on. When I was an MP (1997-2010) I always wanted to be elected by 50% +1 of the population. The only way this is possible is to bring in some kind of Alternative Vote. The nation has a chance to vote on this next May in a referendum. How sad then that the old soaks of the Labour Party happy to be branded New Labour under Blair but who could not
26
NOV
Last night the South African Embassy played host to a screening of The Sixteenth Man a documentary film about John Carlin's book Playing the Enemy which then became the Hollywood movie: Invictus. John introduced the film and took questions. Unusually, the film has been shown on television in the USA and South Africa but shamefully not a single broadcaster has come forward to show it in the UK. Given the wall to wall coverage rugby is having as we move towards next year's Rugby...
23
NOV
Daisy and I went to see this play on Saturday evening at the Vaudeville in The Strand. We booked the day before so there are some tickets available for every performance and as we booked directly through the theatre rather than through online agencies where the prices were higher we bought a better deal...... An ideal Husband stars Samantha Bond, Alexander Hanson and Eliot Cowan. The play is in four acts and the first two are slow and slight but the final two after the interval cause...
18
NOV
It was back to jazz again last night when I went to listen to Sarah McGuinness at The Pigalle Club in Piccadilly performing music from "Believe - the Eddie Izzard Story." www.thepigalleclub.com
18
NOV
I used to select the Major Stanley's XV against Oxford University from 1984-1992. I then became a Trustee of Major Stanley's which owns the ground on behalf of OURFC. Major Stanley never played rugby nor did he attend the University as a student but he founded this game and was chairman of the England Selectors at one stage! It was a bitingly cold rainy day at Iffley Road but over 250 friends sat down for lunch and there was a crowd of about 1000 to watch the game. Oxford won 21-14.
18
NOV
I have asked Ed Vaizey, the Culture Minister, to step in and save these papers for the Nation should they be sold to an overseas bidder: From Christie's web site: "Lot Description TURING, Alan Mathison (1912-1954). A collection of Alan Turing's offprints formed by Prof. Maxwell Herman Alexander Newman (1897-1984), 1936-1954, comprising: TURING'S FIRST PUBLISHED PAPER: 'Equivalence of left and right almost periodicity.' Offprint from: Journal of the London Mathematical Society, vol....
18
NOV
The Alan Turing papers for sale at Christie's next week fit the Waverley criteria as listed on the DCMS web site. Thus: Department for Culture, Media and Sport The Waverley criteria History Is it so closely connected with our history and national life that its departure would be a misfortune? Aesthetics Is it of outstanding aesthetic importance? Scholarship Is it of outstanding significance for the study of some particular branch of art, learning or history?
15
NOV
Last week England lost to New Zealand and a second loss to Australia on Saturday would have meant curtains for some players and quite a bit of heat for some of the junior coaches..... But looking like the 2003 side but fitter and with even greater playing expectation they thrashed Australia 35-18. Of the England side most now will make it to New Zealand for the Rugby World Cup next October except maybe: Tindall and Cueto in the backs and Shaw in the forwards.
15
NOV
It is becoming harder and harder to want to watch soccer and rugby on Sky Sports. The presentation of these two sports has become staid and complacent. Same presenters for aeons - especially soccer - same cooped up studios with a range of guests just to fill up the time; not enough on-screen information et al. Have they not heard that GoogleTV is just around the corner? Certainly ESPN's coverage of rugby is a breath of fresh air.
13
NOV
The 2010 London Jazz Festival was underway yesterday with a host of concerts but the key one was at the Festival Hall last night when the Mahotella Queens and Hugh Masekela wowed an ecstatic audience. The "Queens" have been performing since 1964 and they haven't lost any of their enthusiasm or polish. They were a great warm up act and thrilled us. Hugh was at his magical best preferring to sing as much as play (with a great band) and he had us on our feet dancing and...
11
NOV
Westminster came to a stand still this morning at 11 o'clock (for the right reasons after yesterday's student demo) as the Abbey and Parliament observed a two minute silence to remember the end of WW1, a war to end all wars, except that 20 years later we were at it again. Fred, my grandfather lied about his age and joined up to fight in WW1 for the Artillery and was in Naval Intelligence in WW2. My Dad joined up at 19 to spend his "university" years (1939-45) away from his family in...
11
NOV
Martin Bright, Jude Kelly, Nii Sackey and David Worthington were our e.i. breakfast panel this morning at the Royal Festival Hall (chaired by John Wilson of BBC Radio 4's Front Row) where we chewed over the current savage cuts in the Arts thanks to the Tory Government's cuts package. (Over night, Tory led Somerset CC had voted to end all funding of the Arts.)  Once again it was another packed house for the 0830 start (despite the awful weather) and there was a pretty lively debate. I
11
NOV
Royal Society of Arts: www.rsa.org.uk   Last evening Dr Ian Goldin proposed that it might just be Africa's century in a wide ranging speech which you can shortly listen to on the RSA web site. The lecture was chaired by Alex Russell, FT journo and a former South African correspondent and author of After Mandela.  I asked a question, not surprisingly about China's presence in Africa, but about what kind of economic structures would warrant being called an African solution...
10
NOV
Yesterday and today has been Rugby Expo 2010 (the last one was 2 years ago) in Westminster. There were nearly 40 exhibitors and maybe 100-120 delegates simultaneously attending the Conference element. I went to panel sessions on Professional Players, Facebook & other Media, World in Union, a 1-1 session with Mike Miller (CEO, IRB) & Olympic Opportunity. The panel sessions were very good pity the turnout was so disappointing.  
10
NOV
Karen Newman's new sculpture of Dean William Vincent was unveiled yesterday afternoon to mark the bi-centenary when the "Fields" became enclosed (and then ultimately renamed Vincent Square after the Dean). You can view it at 56 Vincent Square, London SW1. Dean Vincent was Dean at Westminster Abbey from 1802-1815. Karen's work can be viewed at www.karen-newman.com   The Vincent Square Residents Association's web site is www.vincentsq-residents.org.uk     
9
NOV
The Music for Youth Schools Prom last night at the RAH was simply sensational. There's another two nights to go but a packed house saw acts from all over England - an 800 strong choir from Slough (14 schools) to a 14 year old female singer who wowed the place to bands and anything else you could imagine. Broken society? Not here.......... www.royalalberthall.com and www.mfy.org.uk 
8
NOV
England 16 New Zealand 26 Jack and I travelled to Twickenham on Saturday in hope but privately expecting a 20 to 30 points thrashing; so we came away pleased but knowing we do not have the players or the tactics to beat them. Not yet anyway. Here's where they are better: ** offside at rucks ** only committing 3-4 forwards to mauls and rucks which allows the others to act as battering rams elsewhere (boring though that is) ** tactical kicking ** throwing the ball in...
8
NOV
The Arbor is a film set on a seedy estate in Bradford, about the late Andrea Dunbar and her dysfunctional family; she lived there whilst writing plays for the Royal Court. I spent last evening at The Renoir watching this extraordinarily gripping film where the actors lip-synched the actual voices from people on the estate which in itself was pretty amazing.   It wasn't exactly a fun viewing but the brilliant direction and casting shows what we can do
7
NOV
The legendary Hugh Masekela will be at the Royal Festival Hall this Friday as part of the London Jazz Festival. For a discography and the odd book about Hugh go to www.amazon.co.uk . There was an excellent article in the FT about Hugh last weekend (30.10.10): read it at www.ft.com.
7
NOV
All Change Again in China? Over the past few weeks there have been a number of articles about Xi Jinping. First up was The Economist two weeks ago followed by The Sunday Times and now today The Observer. See: www.economist.com www.thesundaytimesonline.co.uk www.observer.giardian.co.uk It may be premature but he could be the next leader of China in 2012. Last month he was appointed vice chair of the Central Military Commission under President Hu Jintao.
6
NOV
Only in America could you spend $130 million to try to win the Governorship of California and lose as Meg Whitman did earlier this week. £130 million? Is the US version of democracy always about the man or woman with the most money who should win?? How can this be an exportable value to the rest of the world viz Iraq and Afghanistan? There's hardly been a bleep about this in the US media......
5
NOV
Vince Cable was right to ask Ofcom to look at the bid by NewsCorp to buy the remaining shares of Sky which they do not own. Ofcom has given a deadline of 19th November to register views on the proposal. I wrote to Vince Cable last month asking him to refer the bid to the Competition Commission.
5
NOV
The plans for Higher Education announced by David Willetts on Wednesday in Parliament look as though they were done on the back of an envelope. Two questions failed to be asked: What should our university pattern look like for the next 25 years in a world in which China and India will overtake USA? How should we fund this pattern? Instead we have a plan for short termism which will help no-one - not UKplc, not our universities and certainly not our students. There's not even an...
3
NOV
Imagine, you were elected as a brand new Congress member in 2008, you've just sorted your house, family, children's education and barely started to understand how the House works when midway through your first year you have to start working for your election in 18 months time. Bonkers? Welcome to the US system no wonder voter turnout is rarely above 50%. For how much longer can America really claim it has the best democracy in the world?
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