The Bebanking talk I nearly gave at TEDxCheltenham

Back in October 2012, I was kindly invited to deliver a talk at TEDxCheltenham about the idea of Bebanking that I wrote about here last July.

I’d meticulously rehearsed my lines – learning the the script off by heart – and was all set to deliver the speech.

It went well – for about two minutes. And then my mind went blank. The lines were lost. I stood in the spotlight before an audience with absolutely no recollection of what I was supposed to say next.

Mr Miliband’s big moment

Last Saturday’s blog post by the BBC’s political editor, Nick Robinson, astutely makes a connection between perception of the present Labour Party leader, Ed Miliband, and Clement Attlee.

Attlee’s legacy is formidable. Among other measures in a truly remarkable period in British government, he presided over the creation of the national health service, and established the welfare state and free secondary education. Arguably he was the finest Prime Minister of the twentieth century and the most accomplished leader the Labour Party has ever had.

All this despite – in an era where relentless rolling news wasn’t a factor – being considered to possess a pretty dull, non-media friendly, personality; hence Sir Winston Churchill’s quote, cited by Mr Robinson in his post, “an empty taxi drew up outside 10 Downing Street and Attlee got out”.

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The case for a Chief Philosophy Officer?

I wonder whether the US and European economies would be in such a predicament today if Northern Rock or Lehman Brothers had employed a Chief Philosophy Officer?

After all, you’ll find plenty of Chief Economists dotted around the banks, trusts and fund management companies won’t you?

Had Northern Rock and Lehman boards routinely considered the moral and ethical dimensions of trading in collateralised debt obligations – or even the very existence of those instruments – alongside the economic, financial and regulatory case of doing so, would they have reached a different conclusion and made different choices?

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The Great British brand identity crisis

Symbols are significant. And few symbols carry more significance for those who encounter it than a nation’s flag. So the unveiling of the dove-inspired design by British Airways earlier this week – less than a fortnight after the launch of the Team GB athletes kit pictured above – only serves to reinforce an idea that’s been irking me about the Olympics’ effect on the UK’s brand identity: is our nation in danger of conveying the idea that we are colourless, drained of energy and drab?
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