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

I sit on the Board at Crowdbnk and I am a Strategic Advisor to StartUpCapitalVenture 2 in San Francisco and 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.

 

 

Seems as though sanity has broken out with King family case; Southampton hospital and Hampshire police should be ashamed of their behaviour

Blog

You are here: Home / Blog
30
APR
I was a guest of Peter Coates. the chairman of Stoke City FC, on Saturday where the home side drew with Arsenal. 
30
APR
On Friday, I attended our monthly Fund Raising committee meeting. We have started the new financial year well which is always encouraging given we have to find £9million to remain open and free to the communities we serve north and south of the Thames.
30
APR
Either a clerk to the DCMS Select Committee or a superior leaked a story to the Mail on Sunday about the assiduous work of one of its members. This must be a first. The Speaker needs to hold an inquiry into the leaking and fire the person (s) responsible. 
26
APR
I went to hear Clare Teal at Ronnie's last night having met her for the first time two weeks ago in her flat in Bath. She was on sparkling form as was the Ronnie Scott's jazz combo led by James Pearson, easily the best jazz pianist in Europe.
25
APR
Jeremy Hunt is a very ambitious politician and is slightly fed up with only being the Secretary of State at the DCMS. He was the first in with his "cuts" programme which devastated the department. Now, the trail of emails involving his officials and Murdoch's company may yet lead to his resignation although the PM will stand by his man for the moment. After a relatively hassle free 20 months as PM, the last five weeks have been pretty bloody for the Tories.
25
APR
I went to a first meeting of a north London hospices group yesterday at St. Luke's Hospice in Harrow.
24
APR
Peter Skinner was my MEP when we had local- i.e.- Kent MEPs - back in the late 1990s and then we foolishly fell for the European view that our MEPs should be both regional and on a list and it was then that the European democratic principles fell over and have yet to recover. Now less than 30% of the country votes in an EU election.....sad, very sad. Anyway, notwithstanding, Peter had an hour with me this afternoon on youth unemployment in the SE.  
24
APR
I started the day with a breakfast with George Kesler, a dear friend, and we chatted about the need for a pro-active manufacturing policy for UKplc.
24
APR
I went to hear Ken Livingstone speak yesterday morning. He was more circumspect than I had expected and seemed to have learned the lessons of the absurd rows with Boris J though it may have clouded his messages for Londoners.
24
APR
Doug Smith, an old mucker of mine, has done a cricket lunch in the House of Lords for aeons and yesterday was his annual bash......somehow he manages to invite the cricketing fraternity and it was yet another fun event......
23
APR
You know when the political class has lost the plot when it starts to talk about reform of the House of Lords without taking into consideration the other constitutional events which have happened over the past decade. We now have different powers for three "parliaments" representing Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. We do not have a parliament of any form for England. Four lower parliaments with equal powers would be united under an elected Senate (replacing the House of Lords)...
23
APR
Back in the 1970s and 1980s there were those on the right who insisted that sporting contacts with apartheid South Africa built bridges. I would respond by asking how long the bridge was? Fast forward to Friday's press conference where some jumped up Prince of Sand in Bahrain was saying that we should build bridges. Bridges to where? The Sunni royal family is in a minority in its own country. All it has to do is allow Shia followers the same rights as they have. Dream on. The losers in...
22
APR
If was a difficult choice for me yesterday but in the end I went to support Richmond rather than Charlton. Richmond were comfortable winners against Lydney and remain second in National League 2 South. Charlton beat Wycombe Wanderers 2-1 to win Division 1. It looks like Richmond will have to play off to win promotion but that game is on 5th May when I shall be at The Valley to watch Charlton be awarded the title trophy. 
22
APR
I was back at Ronnie Scott's last night to hear Georgie Fame, one of my favourite blues-jazz singer-songwriters. 
20
APR
I read Dial M for Murdoch yesterday about News Corporation's hacking fiasco. It was timely coming before the DCMS Select Committee's own report on the matter where it appears some Tory members of the committee have been lobbied by NC people. Have they learned nothing?  Dial M is a work in progress so I hope like Chris Mullin's book(s) it is made into a play and tours the country. It is rumoured that Hollywood has bought film rights (or possibly an option).  Murdoch's...
20
APR
I also read this wonderful book earlier this week about the artist Edward Bawden and his lovely sketches, lino cuts and paintings of my favourite city. Edward's work reminds me of another favourite of mine: Edward Ardizzone.
20
APR
I spent a couple of hours this morning with Anne Hooper, CEO at Trinity, trying to think through the implications of what Paul Burstow MP, Hospice Minister, said to us earlier in the week. Trinity has over 20 runners in the Marathon on Sunday.
18
APR
Six chairs and a trustee representing seven London Hospices met Paul Burstow MP, Hospice Minister, yesterday at the Department of Health. We talked about: ** the Hospice Pilots ** what happens at the end of them and what is the likely timetable for change? ** the uncertainty and anxiety Hospices feel facing a new funding model
18
APR
We had another meeting of the CAABU executive last night to examine our future funding. We also discussed the appalling smears in Private Eye. 
18
APR
Letters Printed in Private Eye Edition 20th April 2012 No.1 Dear Editor,  Perhaps the Easter holidays have affected the Eye's research but contrary to Syria Update No 1311, I have never been nor wanted to be a Director of the British-Syrian Society. As Chair of the Council for Arab-British Understanding (Caabu) I am extremely proud of our active track record in actively opposing the Assad regime, its horrific human rights abuses and in particular its brutality...
18
APR
Goodness how the world of motorpsort needs a conscience. Hardly anything has changed in this tiny fiefdom, which delights in having a puny king, since last year's Grand Prix was cancelled. Their own citizens are being tortured and maimed and yet somehow the world of F1 must go on. How very sad.
17
APR
The furore over Philanthropic giving has not let up despite the intervention of the PM (has George Osborne taken a vacation?). Indeed the Budget of four weeks ago is still making headlines, all the wrong ones.... Consider ** Pastygate ** Fuel shortages ** Granny tax ** Off shore tax loops not closed ** Charity giving (interesting to see that the letter in the Sunday Telegraph signed by 40 odd signatories were almost all Tories) ** Snooping ** Conservatory tax In the...
17
APR
On Sunday, I took Jack, my son, back to Bath University for the start of his incredibly short summer term. It appears as if he has almost four months off before the start of his second year in late September. Why not fit his three year course into two then??  Nonetheless, Bath was bathed in sunshine and looked wonderful.
17
APR
Lat night I was a guest of the Spanish Ambassador at an awards ceremony to honour, unusually, two translators - Peter Bush (UK) and Ann McLean (Canada) - for their wonderful work over many years leading to more and more people reading Spanish novels in English (35% increase in translations: 87 authors published in 2011). Both received the Office of the Cross of the Order of Civil Merits.   
15
APR
Last night, Daisy, Jack and Rupert joined me at the last performance of Chris Mullins's wonderful play based on two of his three diaries which have all appeared in the best sellers list. My children said afterwards it reminded them of much of our family conversations when I was an MP!!  It was immensely enjoyable.
15
APR
After A Walk on Part, we all moved on to Ronnie Scott's for a beer and some jazz: it was a lovely way to end our Easter holiday......
12
APR
Dale Chihuly is the finest glass architect in the world, indeed he may have been its major pioneer..... I have seen his exhibitions/work in Phoenix, Washington, DC, Seattle, Kew Gardens, the V&A and yesterday at the Halcyon Gallery in New Bond Street. Try and go and see it before it closes next week as it is simply amazing.
12
APR
I had breakfast with Michael Hayman of Seven Hills group this morning. It was a first for both of us but after an hour we had half a dozen projects we wanted to work on.....if only every meeting was as productive!!
12
APR
Dan is writing a book about how Parliament works and he came to interview me yesterday. He reminded me that we last saw each other for supper in Vienna back in 2008 at an eDigital EU event.
12
APR
Martin Smith was one of the main speakers at the UCA event at the Work Foundation ten days ago and so we had a catch up at Ingenious yesterday and chewed the cud.
12
APR
Following the proposals in the Budget I wrote to Nick Hurd MP, Minister for Civil Society in the Cabinet Office on 28th March 2012: Nick Hurd MP, Minister for Civil Society (via email)   Dear Nick   Since stepping down from front row politics I have become chairman of Trinity Hospice, Clapham which serves six boroughs north and south of the Thames including Westminster...   In yesterday's FT there was a suggestion that the Budget would cull high networth donors
10
APR
Google, Facebook, Apple and Amaazon take ¬£billions out of our economy wihtout paying the correct amount of tax due. This is the new age of uber-fiddling. In Google's case she puts little back. It is time for a Leveson style inquiry into Offshore Tax Fiddles and an outcome might be that the legal and accounting companies who do this should also be be heavily fined if found culpable.
10
APR
I drove back early from Aldeburgh yesterday morning to take Jack to the Sutton & Epsom rugby ground for the final of the Surrey U21 cup. Richmond threw the game away again and again and again being much the better side! They lost to Chipstead 30-27 having been ahead at half time 13-10.
10
APR
It is unusual for me not to buy a painting or a photograph when I go to Aldeburgh. I sought out Blurbs, Thompson's and the Aldeburgh Contemporary Arts all in the High Street plus the Peter Pears Gallery opposite 152. I saw a wonderful postcard of a painting by Alyson Sylvester of Aldeburgh and after investigation at Blurb's I found out she was Michael Pritt's sister (the owner of the Wentworth Hotel). I bought a print of it.
6
APR
Aldeburgh prides itself as being Chelsea & Chips-on-Sea. The places is bulging with their tractors but the only newsagent had no FT this morning.
6
APR
Aldeburgh's Town Council loves to see the prices of its houses match those of Chelsea (as if but they aren't cheap) because it receives a higher rateable value in return - never mind locals have been completely priced out of the market. But what takes the biscuit is its refusal to allow a mobile base station with an attenna on its water tower or church as a consequence it is impossible to find a signal. Hello Aldeburgh this is 2012!  
6
APR
Maggie Hambling's Scallop a tribute to Benjamin Britten, our most famous composer of the 20th Century, is a joy to behold. It is situated on the beach just outside the natural boundary of Aldeburgh. She had to fight with all her might for it to be there at all. To Aldeburgh's continuing shame there has been no public recognition of Britten no doubt because he was gay. That there is still no monument to him is this seaside town is frankly scandalous.  
5
APR
Giving Back: it's what we're here for.   My mother was fond of telling me that I was luckier than most children and that at some stage in my life I should learn to "Give Back". I always thought she was a sandwich short of a picnic, as though as a boy of 12, I could understand what on earth she meant.   Fast forward forty years and my own children are almost deaf from a similar refrain from me - if not "Give Back" more "You Owe" as in "You are also blessed and you owe". I'm not...
5
APR
I went to Ronnie's last night for a jazz quiz and music session: most enjoyable.
4
APR
Never underestimate Rupert Murdoch for unusually for media magnates he always thinks long term. He knew his stable of newspapers - The Times (a goodly read), The Sunday Times (tired and in desperate need of a complete overhaul) and The seven day Sun - were struggling. In contrast, BSkyB was a licence to print money. The plan must have been that once he has secured all the other shares for BSkyB to merge the two operations. This way he would have been able to bring the much stronger...
4
APR
Michael Gove's plans for the Universities to have more say (well 22 of them) in the content of A levels beggars belief. First, what is wrong with the Baccalaureate examinations which offer a much wider and tougher spread of subjects? Secondly, without the equivalent of an Ofsted for Universities, we do not want them to do more. Their Napster moment is almost upon them. They need major reforms not a market for higher fees. We should have asked What Are Universities for? and then...
4
APR
Gordon Brown was insistent that the dormant accounts from banks should be used for his pet projects and much as we tried we could not divert him from them. So, the news today that David cameron us to use them to set up (sic) a Big Society Bank is good news. AS ever, before the actual announcement what it might do has been widely trailed this morning across all media. But let us wait and see exactly what he has in mind..............hopefully a third sector stock market in social bonds
2
APR
Charlton have had a nervous run in for the final six weeks of the very long season in Division 1 (Old Division South/3) suddenly losing twice at home and showing indifferent form away....but they were much the better side on Saturday and came away eventually with a 2-0 win....to the relief of everybody at The Valley but especially the Board. Six games to go - three away and three home........we're six points clear of our nearest rivals.....we should do it....
2
APR
Yesterday, I went to watch Jack, my son, play against Cobham U21s for a place in the final of the Surrey U21 Cup final. It was a hot day and the dust from the hard pitch could be seen after each scrum. Cobham had the better threequarter line but struggled a bit up front. Though Jack prefers to play back row because of his height he is playing more in the second row and won good lineout ball all through the game. The score with a minute to go was 23-20 to Richmond who then gave away...
2
APR
Your domestic economy's inflation rate is 22% yet you only tell your citizens that it is 7%; the blogs and tweets are over flowing with this discrepancy. So as the President of Argentina you switch courses and concentrate on foreign policy and in particular, the ownerrship of the Falklands. So on this 30th anniversary, the Argentine President invites all the Presidents of Latin America and then when they say "No" their Ambassadors all of whom also said "No". But don't expect to see this...
website by Hudson Berkley Reinhart Ltd