I was approached by a Tory minister to ask if I would like to go on the PM's visit to India this week but felt it ought to go to a more senior person at Tribal where I am an Associate. Nonetheless, Cameron's difference in approach and style to Blair and Brown's first visits are welcomed.
Blair went in 2005 but with a small entourage and some business leaders; Brown went before he was anointed and became embroiled in the Shilpa Shetty fiasco during a C4 Big Brother episode: as though he needed to make a comment but he was understandably angered. Brown knew his history and said in his visit in 2007 that he wanted to write a book about Gandhi (he was not a chapter in his book entitled "Courage" which in itself was a take on JFK's Pulitzer prize winning book.....). He went again as PM but failed to renew the UKIERI programme.
Cameron is taking six or seven ministers - many of whom will not have visited before. He is also taking a slew of businessmen and women. The difference is that this is not just Cameron's visit and he is using it to enable his team to see the country and experience its diversity. Ten out of ten.
Peter Mandelson when at BIS simply doesn't understand Tata nor did the PM (I raised the issues with them). I hope Cameron has had a better brief. We could by working with the likes of Tata take on China but we cannot do it separately. It'll be interesting to hear the mood music during Cameron's visit.