Dear Members and Friends,
As I start to write this week’s update it has just been reported that today has been the hottest day this year so far. We have also had elections in Pakistan and my old school friend Imran Khan is claiming victory. It was very sad to see the security incidents in Quetta as I have very fond memories of our time there as a family.
Both Houses have commenced their Summer break and London has a party atmosphere about it.
We have had a quieter week at Strategy International with the following events:
Julian Lewis, Chairman of the House of Commons Defence Select Committee. “A Defence Policy for the Next Generation, Not the Next Election.”
I can think of few men as well qualified and with the passion to fill this position as Julian. He was a Shadow Defence Minister in 2002 but was a Naval Reservist in the 1970s and for many years was actively involved as a leader of Anti-CND Campaigns. There was a lively debate on how much the Government should spend on Defence and we were reminded that in 1963 we spent 6% of GDP on Defence, Welfare and Health. Today there is a stark contrast to this. The Government’s primary role is to defend the Nation, and views were expressed as to whether or not we now have an appropriate insurance policy. We also discussed whether or not we should be prepared for The War or A War. The majority of those attending felt that the ‘A War’ argument was more appropriate.
DFID’s Work and Project Delivery in Nepal
Rurik Marsden, Head of DFID in Nepal shared an update on DFID’s work in Nepal and some insights on the closer cross government collaboration in Nepal between DFID and FCO on key policy priorities. With complex investment rules and processes, costly and unreliable energy supply, poor transport infrastructure, weak institutions and poor governance there is much work to be done and many opportunities for UK plc to support Nepal’s development efforts.
Finally, amidst all the extreme heat, BEI member Beckett Rankine, one of BEI’s smaller – but world beating – consultants had, for a ports and maritime expert, a very landlocked but perfectly pitched summer reception. A great event and, amidst all the business discussion about Iraq, Qatar, China, the Thames Tideway, etc., a great reminder of just how much international business is out there and the degree to which UK professional expertise is sought after.
During August we will be finalising our D Group Programme of events out to July 2019 and ensuring that our Working Group meeting dates are finalised. We have the following events planned for September:
Wednesday 5th September – D Group Breakfast
Defence priorities and economic reality
Johnny Mercer MP, Member for Plymouth, Moor View, House of Commons
Tuesday 11th September – D Group Lunch
The biggest emerging concerns in the workplace?
The Rt Hon Alistair Burt MP, Minister of State, Foreign & Commonwealth Office
Wednesday 12th September – BEI Lunch
Lunch with the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Peter Cheese, Fellow of the CIPD, Fellow of AHRI and the Academy of Social Sciences
Thursday 13th September – D Group Lunch
Improving the living standards of the poorest and most disadvantaged in society – the Conservative strategy
The Rt Hon Esther McVey MP, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, HM Government
Tuesday 18th September – BEI Meeting (15:00)
UK Export Finance – Access to Export Finance
Louis Taylor, Chief Executive, UKEF & Gordon Welsh, Head of the Business Group, UKEF
Thursday 20th September – D Group Lunch
Building an effective modern-day security security
The Rt Hon Ben Wallace MP, Minister of State for Security and Economic Crime, Home Office
Tuesday 25th September – D Group Lunch
London & Brexit
Rajesh Agrawal, Deputy Mayor, Business
Thursday 27th September – D Group Lunch
Upskilling the Civil Service
The Rt Hon. The Lord Maude of Horsham
Have a wonderful weekend.
Seumas Kerr CBE - Managing Director, The D Group