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Bronwen Maddox: George Osborne’s Budget shows he has learnt the lessons of power

Bronwen Maddox speakerGeorge Osborne’s Budget – the first purely Conservative Budget in nearly 20 years – was “radical”, “far-sighted”, “tactical as ever”, though not without its weaknesses, according to Bronwen Maddox, Editor of Prospect Magazine.

  • He maintained his credentials as the austerity Chancellor set on balancing Britain’s books. But his numbers relied on contestable projections.
  • Measures increasing the burden on the wealthy are unlikely to offset anger at welfare cuts. And the Budget had little to say on education and tackling the UK’s housing crisis.
  • However, the strength lay in his measures aimed at increasing UK productivity and developing a high wage economy.

Click here to read her full analysis.

For more information on Bronwen Maddox, or to book her as a speaker, please contact Leo on or on 0044 (0) 7833 727 090.

Bronwen Maddox: expert speaker on Afghanistan

Bronwen MaddoxBronwen Maddox is Editor of Prospect, the brilliant British current affairs magazine, and formerly Foreign Editor of The Times. Her commentary on global affairs is first class: streetwise, well travelled, sceptical. And as a former banker she knows how the markets work, and the interface between the global economy and its political schisms and anxieties. She’s written a fine piece in the September edition of Prospect on the UK’s failure in Afghanistan (so far 444 UK personnel have died, and 2,146 have been wounded), and posed 5 questions which she think ought to be asked by a parliamentary inquiry:

1 Did the Iraq war doom the Afghan conflict?

2 Why did the UK take on the role of quelling the narcotics trade

3 Why did the UK take on Helmand?

4 What has the conflict cost the UK?

5 What have we achieved in Afghanistan?

To read more click here:

PS: Prospect’s website well worth a visit – full of interesting things.


Bronwen Maddox: Ten reasons to be hopeful for the year ahead

One could be forgiven for feeling a little glum this week: today’s budget will remind us all of the UK’s miserable GDP figures, events in Cyprus are heralding the return (if it ever really left) of the Eurozone crisis, politicians in the US still won’t get their act together on budget talks, there are reports of chemical weapons being used in Syria (by which side is as yet unclear), and there has been some pretty chilling rhetoric coming from North Korea in recent weeks. On top of all this, the sun simply refuses to shine.

It was therefore a great pleasure, not to mention relief, to be in touch again with Bronwen Maddox, Editor of Prospect magazine. Our chat reminded me of her excellent feature in the paper’s January edition, “Lucky ’13: Ten reasons to be hopeful for the year ahead”. Here, she employed her characteristically sharp analysis and wit to inject some optimism into our public discourse. I thought I’d briefly summarise some key points to brighten the mood:

1. Democracy will fare better: even though democracy has been taking a bit of beating recently (think Iraq and Egypt for starters), in Europe it seems that the public now accepts the world has changed and that governments may need to implement difficult policies. As a result, we may see less finger-pointing and more serious attempts to tackle difficult issues.

2. America’s growth will recover: immigration patterns have given the US one of the industrialised world’s youngest workforces, and the development of shale gas will boost its recovery. US growth is good for the rest of the world.

3. Poland, Turkey, Mexico: an odd trio, but each country’s new-found strength is helping its region.

4. Africa – progress is sticking: according to the World Bank, 400m of Africa’s 1bn people have achieved middle income status. What’s more, 2012 saw exports grow by 30%, and the IMF revised the continent’s forecasted 2013 growth from 5.3% to 5.7%.

5. Iran’s elections may help: a change in leadership (Ahmadinejad cannot run this year) might “help create an opening for the deal which US officials have been quietly probing when they find themselves on the margins of big UN jamborees with their Iranian counterparts—lifting sanctions in return for forswearing the manufacture of fissile material.”

6.  Autocracy – unappealing: Social media and mobile phones are making it impossible for governments to control their people. China’s new leadership will have a different mindset to its predecessors, Vladimir’s authoritarianism is continuing to generate protest, and Saudi Arabia looks like it may be inching slowly towards reform.

7. Mobile books, banks and lessons: increased internet access will continue to give more people in Africa and Afghanistan access to e-banking and finance, and online learning is set to bring high-quality education to more and more people.

8. Great cities – ideas and growth: While not all cities are prosperous, they have a concentrated pool of talent and display high levels of innovation. With this in mind, predictions that the number of megacities will double in the next two decades have to be seen as good news.

9. Rockets and drugs: Science continues to make progress in medicine and space exploration. “More countries see big science as a matter of national pride, which will pour a flood of new research into the common store of knowledge.”

10. Population growth is slowing: “The rise in the world’s population is slowing down. Between 2010 and 2015, the UN predicts an annual increase of 70m, rather than 80m per year at 2000. Birth rates in African nations including Ghana and Angola are falling. The same is true even in Arab countries such as Bahrain and Qatar. That will help environmental problems—not least climate change.”

Thanks Bronwen – feeling better already!

If you’d like to book Bronwen for a speaking engagement, please email, or phone 0044 (0) 20 7792 8000.


Bronwen Maddox and Sir Nigel Sheinwald discuss Iran scenarios

As talks between Iran and the P5 + Germany went into a second day, Nick Robinson hosted a fascinating discussion last night on his Decision Time programme. “It may soon be decision time on war in the Middle East – a war which could follow an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities designed to stop any plans they might have to develop a nuclear bomb.” Nigel Sheinwald, former British Ambassador to the US, argued that the US and EU sanctions were biting. Prospect Editor Bronwen Maddox was nervous about Iran, and described a dangerous scenario in which a half successful Israeli strike precipitated an Iranian response that dragged the US into an escalating regional conflict. Radio at its best.

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