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Gary's thought for the Month - Sir Michael Rake

Gary Muddyman | 01st June 2015

A talk by Sir Michael Rake at Henley Business School 

This month I was very interested to attend a Keynote Lecture at Henley Business School by Sir Michael Rake, the outgoing President of the Confederation of British Industry and, amongst many things, Chairman of BT and vice-Chairman of Barclays Bank. With a career so far spanning such a range of interesting and challenging roles, I was fascinated by Sir Michael’s take on ‘Where are we headed Politically and Economically?’

Sir Michael proved an interesting and thought-provoking speaker. He covered a wide range of subjects, including the UK’s place in the world today, UK productivity, the fiscal deficit, trade with Europe and the rest of the  world, and the EU in/out question. Particularly interesting for me were the sections on the UK’s place in the modern world. How fortunate its citizens are to live in a society with 800 years of democracy behind it, how we should keenly protect those liberal, free, tolerant values which guard human rights and, importantly, how that should encompass a highly responsible approach to the parts of the world where people are suffering.

Inevitably, however, the audience questions focused on the critical in/out European question. Clearly and understandably Sir Michael was strongly and passionately in favour of the UK remaining in a (reformed) EU. He clearly expressed his concerns that much of the debate is being conducted in an environment where pre conceived perceptions were all persuasive and facts were at a premium. Whether you agree with his stance or not (and I do, strongly) he pointed us toward the 2013 CBI report ‘Our Global Future’ http://www.cbi.org.uk/media/2451423/our_global_future.pdf.

It's a weighty tome, but very well researched, thoughtful and challenging. Its worth the time investment.

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