Speakers in the news 2nd February
1) KATHRYN PARSONS
- Kathryn Parsons is co-founder and CEO of Decoded, a technology education company founded in East London in 2011, which launched with the promise to teach anyone Code in a Day.
- The Today Programme is gathering nominations for the most influential British women of the past century, to mark the centenary of women first winning the right to vote. Kathryn was featured on this week’s programme, to put forward her nominations for women in technology. Among her nominations were Rosalind Franklin, who discovered DNA, and Martha Lane Fox – founder of lastminute.com.
2) MERRYN SOMERSET WEBB
- Merryn Somerset Webb is Editor-in-Chief of MoneyWeek and a respected commentator on economics, financial markets, and personal finance. She has been named the Personal Finance Journalist of the Year in the 2017 prestigious Harold Wincott awards.
- Writing for the FT this week, Merryn argues that Central banks’ money printing has eroded the long-term credibility of currencies – Replacing cash with digital currencies will make the next period of financial repression even worse with few places to hide. She suggests that in order to hedge yourself, you could turn to gold – It doesn’t rely on governments for its value. It’s transferable, liquid and private, the perfect defence against the inflationary bias endlessly created by dim-witted central bankers.
3) JOHN SAWERS
- Sir John Sawers GCMG is the former chief of the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS, also known as MI6). During his tenure, he modernised the Service and led it through major changes in operations, technology, and public accountability. The first outsider to be appointed to SIS in decades, he draws from his experience in managing the most challenging foreign and security policy issues of the last 20 years, including the rise of China, the evolution of Russia, the threat of terrorism and cyber attack, the changes in the Middle East, and the nuclear negotiations in Iran.
- John warned, this week, that British jihadis returning from the conflict in Syria should not be subjected to “Wild West justice”. He said that while former fighters should face justice, it was important that they were dealt with within the framework of the law. Appearing before the joint parliamentary National Security Strategy Committee, Sir John expressed concern about “loose comments” by politicians suggesting they should simply be killed.
4) JANAN GANESH
- Janan Ganesh is a political columnist for the Financial Times and gives his incisive take on UK politics in a weekly column. Janan’s analysis of the Coalition Government and the dynamics behind UK political debate has been described as “forensic” and “incisive”.Previously, Janan was a political correspondent for The Economist for five years, and a research fellow at Policy Exchange, the influential London think tank for two.
Janan warned, this week, that ditching Theresa May will fail to alter the course of Brexit. He says if Tories want to win votes, or make their country more vivid at Davos, they should indeed remove Mrs May. However, if their express purpose is to secure Brexit, it would achieve nothing at best. At worst, the arrival of a new interlocutor would just shore up the EU’s suspicions about British perfidy. The structural realities of the exit talks weigh more than the individuals who conduct them.
5) IAN BREMMER
- Professor Ian Bremmer is an American political scientist and expert speaker specialising in US foreign policy, states in transition, and global political risk. Ian is President of Eurasia Group, a political risk consultancy he founded with just $25,000 in 1998. The company now has offices in New York, Washington and London and is one of the most successful political risk consultancies in the world, advising financial services companies, multinationals and governments on how political developments can move markets.
- Ian shed new light on America and its geopolitical position in SMU’s Tate Lecture on Tuesday. In his speech Ian stressed that America’s lack of a long-term artificial intelligence plan is worrying, considering the U.S could be heading towards a digital cold war as China invests in technology, supported directly by its government apparatus. The problem isn’t simply that China has a bigger population or that America has specifically become complacent or divided, he added, America focuses too much on long-term, treatable problems instead of serious, imminent crises.