A Stimulating Conversation
We might occasionally find ourselves eavesdropping a passing conversation. But the opportunity for 130 to listen in as two great intellects engaged with each other was one not to be missed.
Both of them have had books recently published that are thought provoking, of their time deserving to be read for the strength of their arguments.
Philip Collins in his regular The Times column forensically analyses the social and political fabric of the UK. His comments on the upheaval of Brexit, the future role of the Monarchy, the deep divisions within both the Conservative and Labour Parties, whether a centre ground party will emerge before the next election, engage the reader.
Philip’s book, Start Again: How We Can Fix Our Broken Politics, offers fresh, imaginative thinking, setting a provocative agenda for the future.
Lord Patten of Barnes, by any criteria, is a distinguished statesman, having served the nation around the world. From 1992 to 1997 he was the final Governor of Hong King, in 1998 chairing The Independent Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland. From 1999 to 2004 he was UK Member of the European Commission, from 2011 to 2014 Chairman of the BBC, is currently Chancellor of Oxford University.
His autobiography First Confession: A Sort of Memoir is unusual. Most politicians write autobiographies to ‘set the record straight’ and provide retrospective justification for their career, carefully avoiding the bumps in the road. First Confession is searingly honest, one might call it a ‘warts and all’ account of a life lived to the full. When he unexpectedly lost his seat in Bath in 1992 it was not just his constituency that lost their MP, the country lost a politician with principles.
Their conversation was wide ranging.
On Brexit the cost outweighed the advantages, and ‘yes there are some younger politicians who could break the traditional mould, take us forward.
The audience used the Q&A session well but regrettably time ran out before questions asked on Trump’s Bold American Dream.