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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.

 

 

Is it too late to save The Children? No prizes for guessing.

Blog

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30
JUN
I met my old friend Dr Ahmed Elmagarmid and two of his colleagues Dr Abdellatif Saoudi and Dr Ihab Ilyas of the Qatar Computing Research Institute, part of the Qatar Foundation (sponsors of Barcelona), yesterday to talk through a couple of projects.
30
JUN
Daisy and Jack, my two grown up children, dropped by yesterday evening and we went to Pizza Express, on The Embankment, for supper. Jack had spotted a special offer - 3 courses for £12.99 - and so he downloaded the voucher on his mobile and off we went.   We talked through our Christmas plans to spend time in Vancouver and Montreal where they will see their cousins and my sister. We'll probably do some skiing both on Vancouver Island and Montreal. Daisy went off to a rave...
30
JUN
You couldn't really make it up but Nick Clegg did - the world and his dog (except for those wretched right wing Tory MPs) want an elected chamber. What was promised? An 80% elected and 20% nominated chamber (to keep the politicians happy so they can go on nominating their friends).....is this really the best we can do?? Then there were the numbers of members and elected for 15 years how nuts is that? If we cannot have one overarching Senate with four lower but equal parliaments...
30
JUN
Well done Ed Miliband for trumping everyone by calling for a Leveson style inquiry into our banks: bring it on. They acted like casino gamblers in 2008 and now to hide their incompetence they fixed the libor rate. What kind of people do this to the world? Off with their heads..........fix the FSA here in the UK; change the law; go for an Inquiry; stop their bonuses........stop them period. 
29
JUN
We had a simply wonderful day at Wimbledon yesterday thanks to a dear friend finding me a couple of tickets late on Tuesday evening....... We spoiled ourselves at a certain bar before going into watch Serena Williams (v Czink) who was in feisty mood. Her serve is still why she is at the top of the women's game but a three setter or someone who can return some of her serves might cause her problems. We then had a wiser Murray (v Karlovic) with an array of different strokes which he...
29
JUN
Seven years ago I helped devise the Parliamentary senior rugby clubs community awards scheme and though I am no longer involved in them I was an invited guest to the party on Wednesday evening. Saracens won again thanks to the brilliant work of a certain Mr Gordon Banks, their Community Director.  It was a pleasant evening and I stayed to have a drink with Hugh Godwin, rugby writer from The Indy.
29
JUN
I went to hear Julia's lecture on social networking at the Cass Business school on Wednesday. She spoke about five elements of networking: Weak Ties Loose Knowledge Global Green Room Marzipan Management & Curious Company I thought at the end of  a very entertaining lecture she might link them with an overarching theme but I was disappointed. I'm not sure there is an exact science (Tipping Point v Nudge et al) to networking but it is something I do rather too...
27
JUN
I went to spend some time yesterday at Hub Westminster which is on Floor 1 of New Zealand House at 80 Haymarket, SW1Y 4TE. It was opened in October, 2011 and supports start ups. Check it out at www.hubwestminster.net   
27
JUN
I heard an interesting speech by Chuka Umanna last evening on the potential of linking social mobility with entrepreneurship. It was more a blue sky's piece but stimulating nonetheless.
27
JUN
I went to the PICTFOR annual drinks reception in the House of Lords last night. The speeches were longer than necessary but the event was a great success.
26
JUN
The Labour Party's 1000 Club held its Summer Party at Ozer's in Langham Place last night. Ed Miliband made the key speech - my how he has grown in stature this year.
24
JUN
I saw Adrian Metcalfe yesterday at the Sunrise Senior Living Centre on the Stockbridge Road, Winchester. Adrian was the first Head of Sport at C4 and the Eurosport before becoming Head of Programmes at Tyne Tees. He won a silver medal in the 4 x 400 m relay in Tokyo alongside Sir Menzies Campbell MP and Robbie Brightwell (not sure who the fourth member was).  I have tried to find him on and off for two years but he wouldn't or couldn't answer his mobile. He has...
23
JUN
I went to the "celebration" of the life of Jean Elizabeth Lamb on Thursday; she had passed away last week. Jean was a saint and for the last six years of her life she dealt with both Alzheimer's and terrible cancer but she wouldn't let it overwhelm her and she never complained. I knew David, her husband, better but we all had a wonderful time together at a wedding near Malaga last September. IN some ways her death was a blessing but she had insisted we all wore colourful...
23
JUN
Yesterday, I travelled down to Goodwood to play golf. I last played in Doha four years ago where conditions were difficult (mainly the heat!!). I managed 14 holes before fatigue took over.....I won 2 and shared a couple but though my legs were tired, my arthritis was such that I played pain free. I am beginning to feel that I have it under control.  
21
JUN
Trinity Hospice hosted the London Russian Ballet School last night where their dancers performed Act 2 from Swan Lake. We had a full house and luckily the weather held (we were outdoors in the garden). It was a lovely occasion and the dancers were great. We made a small presentation to Harriet Pickering, Director, LRBS.
21
JUN
Al Wayne who runs his own media sales agency in Cambridge came down to an Old Etonian evening and stayed the night. I am Godafather to Rosa, his fabulous daughter.
21
JUN
I was a guest of Hugh McCormick at The Savile Club yesterday. We had lunch outside on the terrace to celebrate the longest day and the sun.
21
JUN
Deepak Verma from Pukkanasha Films dropped by to give me a still from the film of Bombay Charlie which he wrote and directed. Bombay Charlie is about a sect in Mumbai dedicated to Charlie Chaplin where everyone in the sect wears his bona fide clothes and accompanying walking stick every day.....it was hysterically funny when I saw it earlier in the year. Deepak held an auction last month of the photographs from the film to help him support his mother's charity.
18
JUN
I have been a supporter of the China Oxford Scholarship Fund for a decade or so and was a guest at their 20th anniversary lunch yesterday at Hailey, near Wallingford. Oxford University now has over 700 Chinese students doing a first or second degree in a second language.
17
JUN
Sir   There is a serious democratic deficit in the EU (Re: David Owen 11/06/12).   None of the MEPs we elect are answerable to their own national parliaments. Instead of spending a costly and absurd week every month in Strasbourg, MEPs should have to return to their own national parliaments to give an account of themselves.   Before we move to a referendum here and a referendum there, let us lead European thinking and bring forward reforms which make the EU fit for...
17
JUN
London Host the Olympics for a Third Time by Derek Wyatt   London has saved the Olympics twice.   In 1908 the Games were due to go to Rome but a volcanic eruption in Naples caused a weak Italian government to panic which led them to cancel them and they were then awarded to our great city.   The Games were held over six months with the sailing being delayed because our yacht was trying to win the America’s Cup in New York (it was ever thus). So instead of...
16
JUN
Our brilliant fund raising team - I think at the last count we had eleven - broke all kinds of records in our last fnancial year and so on Thursday evening I invited them for drinks to say "Thank You" on behalf of our trustees.
16
JUN
I first met David Hooper when he was our lawyer for Spycatcher back in 1986-7 when I was a board director at William Heinemann. We have remained firm friends ever since and on occasions his libel knowledge has saved me and a number of friends from serious trouble. On Thursday we had a mellow time at the Cork & Bottle and plotted!!
16
JUN
Last night, I went to the "Treasure" showcase of London's leading innovative design jewellery talent at Somerset House. It was a knock-out and lots to buy......I was a guest of Arianna Cerrito and enjoyed her collection immensely. Go see it at www.ariannacerrito.com  
16
JUN
I had offered to fix the University's rugby tour for 2013 and so yesterday we met with our marketing team to discuss sponsorship and marketing opportunities at the Vincent's Club. I was elected a member there back in 1981 and won a Blue in the centenary Varsity match in the same year.  
14
JUN
The sun shone on our Summer Party yesterday evening as about 400 people enjoyed themsleves and helped us raise £50k+ for Trinity.
14
JUN
I had a lunch with my co-author, Colin Herridge at Daly's yesterday and we worked on two potential books.
13
JUN
I saw Mark yesterday for a catch up on his plans for: www.ideaspaceglobal.org
13
JUN
I attended the Trinity Hospice Volunteers Party early last evening and was pleased to see Lynne and Peter, two of our Trustees, also present and doing the rounds. We had a good turn-out and I thanked them for their great contribution.
13
JUN
It was our monthly local Labour Party branch meeting - Pimlico and St James's - last night and we had Alison Muir from Peabody who gave us an outline of some of the issues facing her and her team looking after 10,000 flats and houses in and around Westminster.
12
JUN
We had our quarterly Board meeting last night where, amongst other things, we discussed the shadow pilot schemes just starting in seven English hospices.
10
JUN
New Treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis sufferers: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/06/07/health-new-rheumatoid-arthritis-treatment_n_1577852.html
7
JUN
I went to Dennis Grover's funeral in Maidstone yesterday. There was a full house to see him off. Dennis and Phil, his wife, were very good friends of mine and when I was campaigning on the Isle of Sheppey there was always a cup of tea and sometimes more for me when I needed a break. He was leader of the Labour Group in Swale from 1992-1998 (from memory) and was passionately old Labour. He served in Suez as part of his nationals service and eventually was awarded a medal for his services...
7
JUN
As I was in the area yesterday, I had lunch at The Fruiterers Arms in Rodmersham and then popped over to the Isle of Sheppey to spend an hour with Andrew Parr catching up on his Pensions Action Group.
7
JUN
I went this morning to hear Ed Miliband speak about Englishness, being British and feeling identity in a more complex United Kingdom. He had in his sights the Scottish Nats who want to break away from being British. It was a thoughtful speech - see:   www.labour.org.uk/ed-miliband-speech-defending-the-union-in-england     
4
JUN
Go see: British by Design 1948-2012 and Ballgowns: British Glamour since 1950 at the V&A. British by Design was like watching your life flash by - it starts with Coventry Cathedral (John Piper & Graham Sutherland though no Britten) moves into the Festival of Britain (but the Millennium Dome is missing for 2000: now there's a surprise) and onto the mini, punk rock, LP covers, Mary Quant and on and on to Concorde, the e-type and the Olympics (1948 is also...
4
JUN
It was an extraordinary scene yesterday on the River Thames but it would be have been so much easier if the boats had been numbered so we could have better understood their history as they passed us by. Maybe they'll remember that when the next one is organised in 2312. You felt for HM The Queen as she waited and waited for all the boats to finish........this was not well thought out. Her barge should have brought up the rear and then we should have had the short pageant. Funny in...
2
JUN
If you do nothing else this next few weeks go and see The Queen exhibition at the NPG. I'm no royalist but there are so many stimulating and quite stunning portraits of the Queen taken over the past 60 years - they act as a historical backdrop to the nation. 
1
JUN
I went as a late guest to the Summer Party on Wednesday night; what a ball........who was there? Grayson & Nancy, Simon Kelner (ex-Indy) and Susannah Simons (Radio 3) and a bevy of young things who might have been stretched to understand there was art for sale on the walls. Still a pretty feisty evening..........I even made the dance floor.............
1
JUN
There have been a number of recent articles and features about the return to favour of the fountain pen. I have used a fountain pen since I was eleven. I still use one, actually I still use two, both Parker Pens and I have a Conway Stewart and some 1950s Parkers as well. I had a beautiful blue ceramic Parker stolen from my study in the House of Commons which took me six years to find a replacement - an exquisite red ceramic - which I lost somehow and I thought I would...
1
JUN
So Vince is set up by the Telegraph in a pathetic sting (my how they must regret that) and is bounced from acting as the quasi-judicial (only the civil service could come up with such a term; it is a bit like another one I know of called "a permanent loan") being over Sky. Meanwhile, Jeremy Hunt on the day he replaced Vince, had been texting James Murdoch as his own personal luvvy-in-waiting whilst doubling as the Secretary of State.  Can someone explain what the...
1
JUN
As the Chairman of Trinity Hospice I alerted our Trustees to the proposed Budget changes with respect to charitable giving. We have to raise £9million (so we're a start-up every year) to provide the finest palliative care service (for free) south and north of the River Thames. Currently, the NHS gives us £3m so actually we have to fund-raise £6m p.a. The along comes the Chancellor to throw a large spanner in the works. Does the Treasury do opportunity cost analysis? It...
1
JUN
John Webster hosted a dinner in Parliament last night for the GB Rifle Shooting team who won the world championship in 2011 (I was a guest). At the end of an emotional evening, he announced his retirement as captain. (I played in the Centenary Varsity match with him in 1981).
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