Lord Howell of Guildford: Look Where We’re Going; Escaping the Prism of Past Politics
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Lord Howell of Guildford: Look Where We’re Going; Escaping the Prism of Past Politics
16 September @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
As the 21st century continues, it has become increasingly apparent that humanity is operating within a constantly shifting and multi-polar world, one which was neither foreseen by last century’s intellectuals, nor accommodated within their political frameworks. In truth, the old Left–Right vocabulary of politics is incapable of explaining or conveying what has occurred in the redistribution and interplay of modern power. This new order, of multiple shades of hyper-capitalism and their discontents, of digital populism and of social disorder, is in need of a new analysis.
The Henry Jackson Society is delighted to welcome you to a discussion at which Lord David Howell of Guildford will discuss these variant strands of his upcoming work, Look Where We’re Going; Escaping the Prism of Past Politics, considering how a puzzled world is now looking to its leaders not just for debates of economic theology but for some form of renewed moral framework.
The Rt Hon Lord Howell of Guildford acted as policy adviser to Edward Heath in the 1960s and directed the Conservative Political Centre, before serving as Minister of State in Northern Ireland. He then acted as as Secretary of State for Energy & Secretary of State for Transport in the first Thatcher Cabinet. In 2010 he was enrolled as Minister of State at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, making him the only person to have served in the three administrations of Heath, Thatcher and Cameron, and also the only Minister on record to have ‘come back’ after a 27-year break. He is currently chair of The House of Lords Committee for International Relations. David Howell has something of a track record of forecasting developments long in advance, and has published extensively around the future energy transformation and the Commonwealth’s modern role. Following on from such works as Empires in Collision: (The Green Versus Black Struggle For Our Energy Future), and The Commonwealth Transformed, his Look Where We’re Going; Escaping the Prism of Past Politics is expected to be published in January 2020.
James Rogers is Director of the ‘Global Britain’ Programme at the Henry Jackson Society, of which he is a founding member. Formerly, he held a number of positions at the Baltic Defence College in Estonia and has worked at the European Union Institute for Security Studies in Paris.
On the Monday 16th September, the Henry Jackson Society was honoured to welcome Lord Howell of Guildford, chair of the International Relations Committee in the House of Lords to discuss his upcoming book “Look Where We’re Going; Escaping the Prism of Past Politics”. The event was chaired by the Director of the Global Britain Programme here at the Henry Jackson Society James Rogers.
Lord Guildford opened our event speaking of how today we are in a completely new epoch from anything that has been experienced beforehand. This epoch has come about for many reasons he said some economic, some political and some technological. Economically he said we are living in a new world where the globalisation and hyper-capitalism have led to the “empowerment of the masses” which coupled with technology has led to the rise of digital populism an entirely new phenomenon that today’s current set of politicians are unable to react to successfully. Coupled with that is in his view, the inability of the ideologies of the 20th century such as Communism, Fascism or Social Democracy to understand and explain what is happening today. In Lord Guildford’s view, there is no precedent for what is happening today in the world. Two new political agendas that are a result of this new state of affairs he said is the Trump presidency and Brexit.
Lord Guildford then went on to explain how this new epoch is being also driven by the end of the unipolarity of the United States which is now being challenged by the rise of Asia in particular that of China. This rise has been brought about by globalisation which will not stop in a hurry, with globalisation set to continue no matter what happens. However, it is because of globalisation he says along with the rise of technology enabling new methods of communication that is fuelling the populism that we see around the world today due to the ease it is now to see what he calls “hyper-capitalism” showing how unequal the world is. But, this he said is not just from income inequality which has fallen in the last couple of years, but in fact concentration of wealth something that is being facilitated, he warns by neoliberal economics.
Lord Guildford then reverted to where Britain fits in this new world for which as he sees it, there is no precedent hence, the ideologies of the past cannot describe or explain adequately. For this, he believes that Britain has a trump card that will enable it to use the rise of Asia to its advantage and to succeed in the multipolar world, and that is the Commonwealth. This network he said was unique, and something that we had lucked on to not something that had been purposefully designed but it gave us our best chance of surviving in this era of Asia.
In summing up Lord Guildford spoke of how despite everything that is happening today with populism, freedom and democracy are still necessary components for economic growth something which will serve Britain well but even though the West is not as doomed as some commentator’s fear “tomorrow, if it belongs to anyone, belongs to Beijing.”
The Chair Mr Rogers then asked Lord Guildford some questions including how if new ideas are what are needed, the problem may be that those in power do not reflect the need for change. Lord Guildford agreed saying that the political parties today did not reflect this need either because they cannot understand what is happening despite the need for change. The event was then closed after a couple of rounds of questions from the audience.
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