Dear Members and Friends,

We have discovered a fail-safe predictor of Cabinet resignations and reshuffles. They always take place days before a Secretary of State is due to speak at The D Group. True to form, with the talented Damian Hinds due to speak this Thursday, Messrs Davis and Johnson exited three days before. The next Sec of State is Justice’s David Gauke, next Wednesday..............


The Sec of State Education, however, sailed through the recent cabinet shuffle, stuck to his appointment and sat down to discuss a number of key issues with an audience of some 30 education leaders, vice-chancellors and others with a strong interest in the sustainability, productivity and direction of UK education. Whether in terms of income, influence or research-based enterprise, the HE sector is a major player within Britain’s prosperity and role in the world. It was an excellent and thoughtful performance. Education looks as though it is in safe and very forward-looking hands. If only he could change the visa barriers to allow UK HE, worth over £11bn to the UK and inestimable amounts of soft power, to fully realise its potential. 


The predominantly D Group themed week also saw The First Sea Lord discuss the future of the Royal Navy with 20 very committed members who prioritised listening to Philip Jones over watching the football. Not a furtive mobile phone was to be seen. It was both an exercise in iron self-control and a very useful insight into a challenging and exciting future for the RN. On top of that awesome RAF 100 fly past, it was a good week for matters Defence. 


Our associated research group, British Foreign Policy Group, worked with the British Council and the City of London Corporation to assemble a highly relevant group of private sector and NGOs from across the UK in education, the arts, sports, commerce and HMG to discuss the role of Soft Power in a post-Brexit Britain. It was an excellent group discussion which has teed up some interesting possibilities to where and how it could help HMG enable greater progress and success.


Next week there is, in addition to the Sec of State Justice, a full calendar comprising:

Tuesday 17th July – BEI Meeting
Guinea Infrastructure Opportunities
Minister Magassouba, Guinean Mining Minister and Ms Catherine Inglehear, British Ambassador to Guinea

Tuesday 17th July – D Group Lunch
UK Contribution to Trade and Investment in Asia and the Pacific
The Rt Hon Mark Field MP, Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific, Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Wednesday 18th July – BEI Meeting
DFID Economic Development Programme in Uganda
Paul Turner, Regional Adviser, Cities and Infrastructure, East Africa, DFID

Wednesday 18th July – BEI Lunch
Lunch meeting with the British High Commissioner to India, Sir Dominic Asquith KCMG
Sir Dominic Asquith KCMG, British High Commissioner to India

Wednesday 18th July – D Group Dinner
The challenges and opportunities for modern service delivery
The Rt Hon David Gauke MP, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Ministry of Justice

Thursday 19th July – D Group Breakfast
Opportunities for Japanese-UK defence collaboration
Mitsuko Hayashi, Director for International Defence Equipment and Technology Cooperation Division

Thursday 19th July – BEI Meeting
DFID – Working and delivering in South Sudan
Becks Buckingham OBE, Head of Office, Department for International Development

Friday 20th July – BEI Meeting
Accelerating Indonesian Industry 4.0 Strategy
Mr I Gusti Putu Suryawirawan, Director General of Industrial Resilience and International Access Development, Ministry of Industry, Indonesia


As always, if you are interested click here, find the relevant event and book.
Warm regards,


Peter O'Kane - Executive Chairman, Strategy International