Speaker in the news 25th May
1) Sir Ivan Rogers
- Sir Ivan Rogers is a former British civil servant. From 2013 to 2017, he was the UK’s Permanent Representative to the EU. In this position, he was the UK’s most senior negotiator with other Member States and the European institutions.Sir Ivan joined the civil service in 1986. He initially served in the Treasury, during which time he was Private Secretary to then Chancellor of the Exchequer Kenneth Clarke. Following this, he was seconded to the European Commission as Chief of Staff to Sir Leon Brittan. He returned to London to become Director of European Strategy and Policy under then Chancellor Gordon Brown.Following a spell in the private sector, Sir Ivan was chosen to be Chief EU Advisor to Prime Minister David Cameron in 2011. He acted as the UK’s EU, G8 and G20 Sherpa; preparing Cameron for all summits and attending these with him. His impressive work here, particularly in improving and deepening Anglo-German relations, combined with his vast experience with the EU made him the stand-out choice for UK Permanent Representative to the EU.
In a 9,000 word speech at Glasgow University on Wednesday night, he delivered what is perhaps his most forensic and crushing analysis yet. Financial Times journalist, James Blitz has noted four points worth highlighting from Sir Ivan’s speech:
- First, he believes the government’s preparations for any kind of “no deal” scenario in March 2019 have pretty much ground to a halt, especially when it comes to setting up independent regulators. “If we want, in areas, genuinely to go it alone . . . then we have to be going full tilt in developing that regulatory capability at huge speed. The fact that, in so many areas, we are obviously not doing that . . . is yet another reason why the EU side has long since concluded that the UK would not walk out.”
- Secondly, he has a powerful section on how Brexit means the UK is giving up any say on data protection and privacy, absolutely critical to modern cross-border trade flows. He says the General Data Protection Regulation is a huge piece of EU legislation to which the UK contributed heavily. But, “once outside the EU, our ability to contribute from within to any development of the EU policy framework will disappear . . . We will be obliged to implement changes agreed by the 27, or at least to keep substantially in line, or the UK regime will not be declared ‘adequate’ — essentially equivalent — by the EU”.
- Third, he cannot see the way through for either of the two models on customs currently being pursued by the May government. “The so-called maximum facilitation model will never be accepted by the [EU] 27 side of the table,” he says. “Not now. Not in five years. Not in 105 years. You can have the most facilitated border in the world, but it’s still a facilitated border.” On the other option, a customs partnership in which the UK collects tariffs on the EU’s behalf for goods heading into the bloc, Sir Ivan is “sceptical” that the EU would ever accept the idea.
- Finally, Sir Ivan sets out what he thinks the Brexit endgame will be. He says we could be moving towards an option that sees the UK “aligning itself more permanently regulatorily on goods, and staying in both a [customs union] and having quasi single market membership, paying something for it, living under ECJ jurisprudence and jurisdiction in goods”. However, he says this would also see the UK disapplying the fourth fundamental freedom, free movement of people. Would the EU accept this? It would face a choice. It could either view this as “an unacceptable option sundering indivisible freedoms and offering something too close to membership advantages to a non member”. Or the EU could view it as “a good deal for the EU with a major strategic partner”. With the added advantage of providing far more continuity in the sectors in which you have a surplus with the UK than those in which you have a deficit — notably services. When he resigned in January 2017, Sir Ivan encouraged his staff at the UK mission to the EU to “speak truth to power”. He is certainly standing by that principle himself. Whether politicians in London and Brussels will listen to him remains to be seen.
2) Laurence Kemball-Cook
- Laurence Kemball-Cook is the award-winning founder and CEO of Pavegen Systems, an innovative clean technology company. Pavegen is a flooring technology that instantly converts kinetic energy from footsteps into renewable off-grid energy.This technology has been used across the world and installed in over 150 projects in more than 30 countries. Laurence has partnered with figures such as solar entrpreneur and artist Akon, football legend Pele and will.i.am to promote his clean-tech vision. He has also worked with some of the world’s largest companies including Shell, Adidas, Heathrow and Europe’s largest shopping centre, Westfield.
A sustainable urban garden with Pavegen as the centre piece, has just won a top award at the Chelsea Flower Show, the world’s most prestigious garden design competition.
Designed by Kate Gould, and commissioned by London’s leading retail association New West End Company (NWEC), the garden features two large Pavegen walkways which are enabling lighting, a fan and data in this beautiful setting. The ‘New West End Garden’, sponsored by the Sir Simon Milton Foundation, won the new ‘Spaces to Grow’ category. It is, we think, a stunning combination of the classical and modern, which caught the eye of the judges, and an audience of politicians, celebrities and journalists. Congratulations to Laurence and the Pavegen team!
3) Zerlina Maxwell
Zerlina Maxwell is the Director of Progressive Programming at SiriusXM and a Political Analyst for MSNBC. She was formerly the Director of Progressive Media for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. She worked in the campaign’s press shop pitching coverage to progressive media outlets and curating daily messaging for online influencers. She also acted as a campaign spokesperson for the Presidential Debates.
She is currently TV political analyst, speaker, and writer for a variety of national media outlets. Her writing focused on national politics, candidates, and specific policy and culture issues including race, feminism, domestic violence, sexual assault, victim blaming and gender inequality.
This week, Zerlina spoke to ELLE Magazine about what Meghan Markle’s royal wedding means to her, as a black woman. She said,
”I think that it’s complicated. I have mixed emotions and it wasn’t because I don’t feel the same exact way I felt when we talked before. On the one hand I was super enthusiastic and thrilled that Meghan made an initial effort to include touchstones of black culture, a gospel choir, and a black preacher. Things that black people watching can relate to immediately. It was almost like a nod to black people, like you, I know I’m one of you. That was absolutely incredible, and, particularly in Britain with the history of colonialism and slavery, it was amazing to see a black-American woman in that state. It was a really important moment in history. So that was the first track of my emotional state. Oh my gosh, she made this so incredibly black and I love it.
The other piece of my emotions were all like, Man, I wish I could find a prince,because we’re all sort of acculturated as women to aspire to exactly what we’re watching. To find the one and maybe he’ll be rich or be a prince. On the one hand, I think it’s amazing to see a black woman be the object of what is clear to everyone is true love, right? Because so rarely are black women held up on the pedestal as the aspirational women that men want to marry. It was a weird moment. It was a positive feeling but it was also like, man, I wish I could find my Harry somewhere.
I feel conflicted. Both amazingly happy and both a little bit depressed because I would like to also find a suitable companion. A lot of women felt like where’s my prince? But also we’re happy that a black woman is being celebrated. It was a rare moment. Now there’s like a top five, there’s Michelle Obama, Beyonce, Meghan Markle, Oprah.”
4) Dido Harding
- Dido Harding spent seven years as Chief Executive of TalkTalk PLC, Britain’s challenger telecoms company. She oversaw the transformation of the company’s customer service following the demerger from Carphone Warehouse, turning Britain’s most complained about telecoms operator into an award-winning provider. She led the regulatory, political and media campaign for greater competition in the sector, leading to the eventual break-up of BT in 2017. She also led TalkTalk through one Britain’s most high-profile cyber attacks, being praised by a Parliamentary Committee for her transparent and strong crisis leadership. In October 2017 it was announced that Dido was to become the new chair of NHS Improvement. Dido was appointed as a non-executive director on The Court of The Bank of England in July 2014. She has also served on the boards of The British Land Company PLC and Cheltenham Racecourse. In August 2014, Dido became a Conservative Life Peer and served on David Cameron’s Business Advisory Group, advising the Prime Minister and Chancellor on business and economic policy.
- As chair of NHS Improvement (NHSI), Dido has announced that she wants to open a volunteering scheme for the organisation’s staff to experience the challenges of primary care in winter.Speaking at the Health Foundation conference in London on Tuesday, Dido outlined her intention to “change the culture” of NHSI. She suggested creating a scheme that would see NHSI staff members perform administrative and background services to help frontline staff in January and allow them to understand the demands of the profession in winter. She said, “The way we change the culture as managers throughout the NHS is seeing it the way our patients are seeing it. It is something I am desperate to try and make happen.“And the trusts we’re talking to, not universally but a lot of them, can’t understand why it would be helpful—they’ll be thinking ‘God, I don’t know if I want the regulator in here at 10 o’clock on a Saturday night in January,’ and yet I am absolutely certain that seeing is believing.”Dido noted that duties could involve errands as simple as making cups of tea around the hospital, and just being humanly available in general.“You have no idea how hard this is. My own organisation can’t see yet how it will make us work better and just think I’m trying to supply some kind of free labour, and actually what I’m trying to do is change the culture of NHSI,” she added.