Lord Chris Patten on Politics, Education, and Innovation

[MUSIC] So Lord Patton, welcome to Stanford. And.
>>Thanks very much. I’ve been here before. I’ve lectured a couple of
times at the Hoover Institute, where I think they were slightly nervous
about my own brand of conservatism.>>[LAUGH]
>>But I survived in one piece, survived long enough to go and do one of, do two of
the lakeside talks, so it’s Bohemia Grove. So I’ve been through every
sort of anthropological excitement imaginable in North California.>>Well, we appreciate you hopping
across the pond to join us again today, and whilst we’re spoiled with
many a guest throughout the year. Few have been involved in so many
historical moments as your good self nor worked with so many leaders,
ranging from through to the pope. So we’ve got quite a lot to cover but I’ll
try to take a whistle soar through it all. And perhaps given that the audience
is Stanford students we can start with your role as
the chancellor of Oxford, and given that it’s such a historical
old educational institute. How are you ensuring to
keep it relevant and that it continues to
attract top global talent?>>First of all, a word about the role. Oxford is the oldest
university in Britain. They’re not the oldest in Europe or
indeed in Europe and Africa. It’s Europe or Africa is and
the oldest in Europe probably Paris. But we’re pretty getting on for 900 years.>>[LAUGH]
>>And we have a college which the professor was called new college, and it’s called New College because it
was founded in the 15th century. 13th century.
[LAUGH] So it’s very, very new. My old college was founded
in the 12th century, and it celebrates it’s 800 or
850th anniversary about every two years. It’s a way of making money.>>[LAUGH]
>>[LAUGH] There’ve been a lot of
chancellors over the years. I do point out that at Cambridge, three of their chancellors have been
executed and one has been canonized.>>[LAUGH]
>>Whereas at Oxford, three have been canonized and
only one’s been executed.>>[LAUGH]
>>So we’ve done rather better. These days,
The chancellor is elected by all graduates and I’m only the fourth since 1935, Lord Halifax who as ambassador in
the States and foreign secretary. Harold McMillan who was Prime Minister
in 1960, Roy Jenkins who was president of the European commission
and probably the greatest reforming interior home secretary in our
politics since the war in 1983. And I was elected in 2003. The job is elected for life and I used to say like the Pope, but I can’t
say that anymore, so like the Dalai Lama. I probably can’t say that if there
are any Chinese representatives present. And the job is one surrounded by mystery. Roy Jenkins, my predecessor,
used to say it was one in which Impotence was assuaged by magnificence. It’s been assessed Harold McMillan who
was a sort of Edwardian intellectual used to offer a more
metaphysical explanation. He used to say well as you know, the vice
chancellor actually runs the university. But if you didn’t have a Chancellor
you couldn’t have a Vice Chancellor. So I’m like a sort of ceremonial monarch. I’m a constitutional monarch, lot’s of
ceremonial stuff, lots of fundraising. I chair selections of
new Vice Chancellors. And generally, try to make a paint of
myself with governance of they’re not supportive enough of the University. The most important thing for
us to do at Oxford is to ensure that we remain
a terrific teaching institution. George Cannon Who I think is one of the
great prince’s of the American republic. George Kennan said that teaching at
Oxford he thought was incomparable. And even though it’s expensive, we have to try to keep it that
with our tutorial system. And we have to make sure that we are still Pushing the boundaries of knowledge
as far forward as possible. Our medical sciences division,
there I say this in Stanford, has come top of the global lead tables for
five years running now. And our math and
engineering have got better and better. One of our senior mathematicians
won the Abel Prize this year And humanities at Oxford are terrific. I would like for them to be better. And I’m particularly concerned at the
moment that while we can still rise quite easily with a bit of effort funding for. Scholarships for
graduate studies in sciences and medicine. It’s much more difficult to do so
in the humanities. And that is partly because of
the disgraceful way in which universities tend to be judged in almost
an utilitarian fashion these days, rather than for
more general considerations. To find myself as chancellor
occasionally having to make speeches justifying teaching
the humanities is a bit annoying. But as I always, we teach
the humanities because we’re humans. So, my job is to try to ensure that and
people continue to deliver the quality of teaching we
require, and the quality of research. We’ve just appointed a new vice chancellor who is Irish American, College Dublin,
UCLA, no one is perfect.>>[LAUGH]
>>Harvard. She was one of Drew Fousts’ proteges and
when she was the executive dean of the Advanced Studies there, then ran St. Andrews in the UK where she among other
things had to take on the Royal Golf Club. And what I will not say because I think
it’s highly offensive so I want to make the point that she’s the first woman
who’s ever been Vice-Chancellor of Oxford. But she is and she is absolutely terrific, a great
expert on international security and has written, I’ve spent quite a lot of my
life in politics dealing with terrorism. But I think she’s written
the best academic studies of how to deal with terrorism
than I’ve read by anyone.>>So,
on the topic of progressing ideas, and as we move to what many are calling
the new innovation economy and knowledge based economy,
>>Silicon Valley is especially well placed to do so, but I don’t think
London’s too far behind considering we’ve now got our own little
bubble of San Francisco. It’s essentially Silicon Valley,
New York, and Washington in one. But as we strive to adopt new
technology and innovation. What hurdles do you think remain for
London and the UK to progress and become a little bit more
like Silicon Valley?>>Well, I think there are two basic ones. First of all If British
politicians aren’t worried about the standard of math in our
secondary schools, they should be. Secondly, I think that we don’t have as natural an innovative culture
as exists in the United States. I was interested yesterday. One of the young undergraduate who
helped to organize my campaign for governor of, it wasn’t even that,
the of the university. It was at the reception we had last night
in I said what are you doing here and he said I’m now the economic. I’m now the head the economics
department at Google. And, I, [LAUGH]
terrific that he’s here, but, I wish that he was,
doing something, to promote, innovative culture in the, in the UK. So, I think we lack the same innovative
culture and we haven’t made some of the investments which would have helped
to make us even more competitive. For example,
there is an obvious requirement for a technology and transport corridor
between Oxford and Cambridge, which together are formidable
with a growing and successful record of spinoff,
with a lot of shared Interests. And I think that governments in
the United Kingdom have been pathetic over the years in investment. I don’t think infrastructure
investment has been a great story in the United States since
probably President Eisenhower but that’s perhaps another matter. But I think infrastructure investment Improving the level of
basic math in schools. And trying to do more
to promote innovation. I don’t think, myself,
that that has as much to do with the tax system as some
right wing politicians think. But there are other things you can do to
promote To promote that culture I suspect.>>I’ll skip over the topic of taxes,
and it’s interesting around how this innovation
has been progressive in many ways. And yet, the gap between the rich and
the poor seem to be increasing over time. How do you think we can reconcile this
progression in a more sustainable manner, and bring everyone else along?>>I think that’s very interesting,
and I guess profoundly relevant to what’s happening in your own
>>Domestic politics on which I’ll be blessedly almost silent.>>[LAUGH]
>>But also, on ours as well. [COUGH] There’s a very good
book which I read recently. I think it’s called Concrete Economics or
Concrete Reality. Which makes the point that it’s
a complete fiction that wealth and prosperity have always been created in
the United States by the private sector, that the government has
always been a drag. Not true. You start with Alexander Hamilton,
Teddy Roosevelt, FDR. You even look at the period
of the long Ike boom and see a combination of public investment and
private endeavor. So the city on a hill
was built by government, as well as by the private sector. And
>>The boom which probably lasted into the 60s saw the genie coefficient, and you all know what that is, falling to the
lowest level in American economic history. So from 1940,
I think about 1946, 47 the Gini coefficient was moving
in the right direction. And since 1968,
it’s been going in the other direction. And I sometimes wonder How American
politicians get away with the fact that there is such an astonishing multiple
of CEOs pay to mean or average earnings. There is I think a lot of evidence that
this is because people don’t actually know or the figures are, they can’t
believe the figures if they’re told. When asked,
they think there’s a multiple of 30. They don’t the multiple ten times or
more that ten times that size. So I think the levels of social
inequity in the United States. And we’ve been moving in that
direction in the United Kingdom, are becoming politically hazardous. And if I had to try to explain
one of the reason why for the rage which helps to sustain, Mr. Trump’s ambitions, I would guess that
social equity is a very big reason. I also think that there is a relationship
between social equity and the sense people have that
globalization is wrecking their prospects and delivering prosperity
everywhere else except America. It’s not, of course, true. But never the less there
is that perception. And we have that in
the United Kingdom as well. The sense people have that they want to
get the world in, or stop the world and get off. That they want control
over their own lives in a mythical way,
which has never really existed. And certainly hasn’t existed during first periods of globalization in the 19th
century or in the last few years. In the United Kingdom in
the last few weeks we’ve seen the near demise of
our steel industry, why? First of all because of the dumping
of cheap steel by China, which is producing about half the total
amount of student in the world, and which saw an increase in steel
production of 300% between 2008 and last year. The British steel industry,
in terms of its competitiveness, has been Has been completely
screwed because of that. So, who’s suffering? Not just the workers, but an Indian company which owns
the British steel industry. So, when people talk about
controlling their lives, so they can protect their jobs and
family’s living standards. That’s not the world we live in anymore
even if it has been for the last few years, and I would wish people
were making the case for free trade. Fair trade, but free trade were
making the positive case for globalization more effectively and
more Toughly then they are. It seems to me that the real One
of the most important things, really the most important thing
we should be doing in response to the competitiveness of globalization, is
investing more in our public education and in the improvement of our
public education system. In my own country in particular,
investing in further education, we’ve always been really bad
at any vocational education, particularly in comparison with Germany. So, I think social equity is
an important part of this but only part of a broader nexus of issues, which touched globalization as well.>>It’s-
>>Good old Eisenhower.>>Well, it’s interesting in Europe
they often refer to nowadays is the younger curse around
politicians know what to do, they just don’t know how to do it and
get reelected. So now that you’re a cross venture and
I believe you’ve referred to yourself as a liberal internationalist these days
as opposed to just a conservative NP, how do you think about commentary that
politics is increasingly orchestrated, politicians are caught
up in opinion polls and going to focus groups to guide
them as to what to do next and balancing the need to be responsive to the
electorate but not just reactionary and be able to deliver a manifesto to address
some of the issues that you just raised?>>I don’t see any point
in going into politics unless you’ve got strong
views about things. And one of the things I find
infinitely depressing is politicians who have to ask a focus group
what they should be concerned about and then ask another focus group how they
should explain their concerns about whatever the first focus group has
told them should be bothering them. And one of the reasons why I found,
I’m not making a political pitch, I suppose I am really, one of
the reasons why I found President Obama such an attractive human being is he
does seem to me when he’s talking about events which really mattered to him like
his own identity, and the relationship between his identity and the political
culture in which he has to operate, you get the sense that this is not something
he’s had to ask somebody how to express. I mean I thought the two speeches he gave,
the one speech he gave in his pastor’s church before the 2008 election
about race in politics, and the speech he gave a few
months ago after the slaughter of some African American worshipers
in a church in the south. Those speeches were astonishingly
powerful because that was him, because that wasn’t some other
guy with the yellow legal pad, and writing the words down,
it was authentically him. So, if you don’t have strong views about
what society should be like, I mean, become a chartered accountant and
make some money.>>[LAUGH] Or a venture capitalist.>>[LAUGH]
>>Readjust your views->>You can still have very strong views, but I don’t see the point in going into politics unless you really feel
passionately about one or two issues. What most worries me, well what would most
worry me if I was an American citizen I think, is the extraordinary
power of big money in politics. I mean, I shouldn’t mention names, but you
know the sort of people I’m talking about.>>[LAUGH].>>And
quite how the Supreme Court can define spending huge amounts of
untaxed loot on supporting partisan opinions partly because they
suit your own business interests. How they can define that as covered by the freedom of speech amendment
I simply don’t comprehend. I was very impressed by Justice Scalia’s
intellect but that seems to me, to use one of his phrases,
what he would have called pure applesauce. And the sooner there is a Supreme Court
which reverses that decision, I think the better for American democracy. Those of you who are historians
of America, which I’m not, may regard what I’m about to say as too
simplistic but it always seemed to me that the majesty of the American
political system was balancing a Constitution which established
a republic not necessarily a democracy, with a political system
which is democratic. And in order to balance the two,
in order to make the checks and balances of the first something other than
vetoes on action, you do need to have the ability to compromise,
to make consensuses and so on, which seems to me to be something
with a Smithsonian these days. When I first got involved in politics,
it was in an Merrill campaign in New York in the 1960’s, when the Republican party
in New York was led by Senator Javits, Senator Keating,
Nelson Rockefeller and John Lindsey. Can you imagine what the Tea Party
would make of that these days?>>[LAUGH]
>>So if we think about the political actions which you’re best
known for it’s the last colonial Governor closing the final chapter on
the good ‘ol British empire, so, [LAUGH] so when we look back in terms of the silo British joint
declaration it seems though you had remarkable clarity as to how you’d
make progress towards a ’97 deadline. And you stuck with it and had courage of your convictions despite
great outrage from Beijing at the time. I think they cursed you to
1000 years of hardship.>>The sentence was remitted subsequently.>>[LAUGH]
>>But it’s been reinstated given what I’ve been saying about students in
Hong Kong but that’s another matter.>>And even some of the former Brits
who are out there weren’t supportive, and then the stock exchange collapsed. What gave you that courage to
go on despite the naysayers and the follow through on the actions?>>I’ve always felt most
comfortable in politics when, and forgive this, maybe,
if this sounds a bit sanctimonious, when I’ve thought that what I was doing
was not only the right thing to do but the right, and
it seemed to me that we had made promises to people in Hong Kong which
we were creeping away from. About a month or
six weeks before I left Hong Kong, I was visiting as Governor, a hospital for the mentally ill, and
it was in a series of low bungalows, each of them fenced in with a sauntiere, with a passage through the middle,
and I’m walking along and a very, very well dressed Chinese
chap in a three piece suit, gray suit, and
wearing I think I remember a Homburg, Governor Patten,
Governor Patten, he says, and to the horror of my staff I
walked across and talked to him. And he was incredibly polite,
it’s always lethal when people are polite. And he said Governor Patten,
can you explain this to me, you very often [INAUDIBLE]
British colleagues about Britain being the oldest
democracy in the world. I nervously agreed. So he said, can you explain this to me? Why is it that you’re handing
over the last British colony to the last great communist
tyranny in the world? Without ever consulting
the people about it. So, here was the sanest man in Hong Kong. Who was in the hospital for
the mentally ill. [LAUGH]
There was actually no alternative but
the transfer of sovereignty in Hong Kong. And Hong Kong, or most of Hong Kong Had
been only taken on a lease. And the terms in which both
the lease had been negotiated and the grant of the rest of
the home call had been made were clearly matters of
19th century history, which nobody would seek to justify
in the 20th or 21st century. There’s a period when Weston powers not least the United Kingdom
were trying to globalize China and
buy opening into the opium trade. I mean this is not something And even Queen Victoria found
particularly attractive. And so we have now alternative but to hand Hong Kong back to China but we’d undertaken will
the chinese agreement that Hong Kong would be
guaranteed that it’s way of life, due process, freedom of speech,
freedom of worship, rule of. And so on would carry on for
50 years after 1997. And to be kind to China
it may be that they were conceptual difficulties. Let me give you an example. I got excessively praised for
rather limited things I did on democracy because I was
operating within Very strict, agreed guidelines. But I was trying to ensure that
elections were at least free and fair. And one of my critics,
who is a spokesman for For Beijing. Perfectly nice chap said to me you
don’t seem to understand our position. We’re not at all against free and
fair elections. We just want to know
the result in advance.>>[LAUGH]
>>[LAUGH] And I realized at that point that we were
not going to have an easy way of connecting, of reaching agreement. And I sometimes actually think that
it’s that it is quite difficult for people with my sort of background
small pluralist and so on, to really understand that
Chinese communist mindset. I don’t necessarily say Chinese mindset
because you can think of lots of Chinese communities which are profoundly
The liberal imperialist. What’s only been worry about what’s
happened subsequently, is that those in Hong Kong who
feel primarily Chinese. Also want Beijing to understand that they feel that they’re Hong Kong Chinese,
that they have a sense of citizenship which may not be as
powerful as their sense of Chineseness, but in terms of the complexity of
their identity It’s really important. And to some extent, trampling that under foot is the crudest
Beijing has done, recently. I think presents President Xi’s arrival. I think that’s been
really counterproductive. I went with my wife to
an Oxford alumni gathering in Hong Kong this time last year,
no this time two years ago. And I was coming out of receptions and
meetings and there would be 100 or 200 students,
a lot of them who had hardly been born when I left Hong Kong Singing Rule
Britannia and God Save the Queen. And I mean it was terrific for
my reputation in Oxford I can tell you.>>[LAUGH]
>>But you could understand how
provocative it would have been to the governing authorities in China. And that’s their fault,
it’s really unnecessary and silly that they provoke
that sort of We have some. But I have huge respect for the students who were demonstrating
18 months ago for democracy. With the most extraordinary politeness and
good manners imaginable. It’s something that you’ve been involved
in conflict resolution across conflicts, also in the bulkins as well
as northern Ireland and as developing officer
with the Ethiopian sedan. It seems that you’re very good at
bringing all parties to the table, and giving incentive. Most notably with the book,a dn encouraging raising change by
suggesting membership of the EU. How do you think through this kind of
carotene stick approach to resolution, and are there any common take
away you’d share with us as to progressing discussions in
the heat of the moment. And moving things forward.>>I’ve become obsessed,
over the years, with identity politics. And how lethal identity politics can be. I’ve worked in Northern Ireland. I’ve worked in the Balkans. I’ve worked in the Middle East. I’ve worked in Asia. And the extent to which when people identify themselves with a
very simple pure blooded set of loyalties. When that turns into a facility to imagine that they’re being victimized
when the rather crude and simple sentiments of whip top by Demi
Gods, it nearly always leads to disaster. The most difficult job I did was actually
after the Good Friday agreement, which to Tony Blast’s credits and my [INAUDIBLE]
credit, they manage to negotiate. The one thing that nobody could
agree about was policing. The police force in
Northern Ireland at the time, was regarded as an arm
of a Protestant state. Northern Ireland was probably 53%, 52%, Protestant, and 47, 48% Catholics. The police force,
was 93% Protestant, and 7% Catholic. And that was plainly, not something that could survive in a new Northern Ireland. Resolving that issue
involved a lot of things that were politically very difficult, but it seemed to me that these
were corners you couldn’t cut. You actually have to, you actually had to, face up to the, difficulties of
changing names, of changing symbols. And, we did that. And at the time, there were roars of,
disapproval from the units, but it’s lasted. And one result, is that today, the police
service in Northern Ireland is pretty well 30-35% Catholic and the rest Protestant. I mean, it’s been a real
transformation and providing. So first of all, I think you have to stand up to
the rougher side of identity politics. Secondly, you have to provide
a political context in which people can extract themselves from the corners of
rooms they’ve painted themselves into, or get off hooks. Something I used to get annoyed about when
negotiating with Chinese interlocutors. They were always saying to me, but
you’ve got to understand we’ve got face. You got to learn to save,
where we need to have our safe face. I used to say to them
I’ve got bloody face too. [LAUGH] You’ve got to
understand other people have face which needs to be taken account
of when I was European Commissioner. Mr. Aznar, the then Prime Minister of Spain, a pretty tough fellow, asked to see me because he’d heard
that I had worked in Northern Island. And he was reading across to
the situation into the bass country. And the terrorism of Etta and he wanted to know what I thought should be
done about policing in Spain in order to help undermine Etta. And I started. I went into my spill about the political
background in northern Ireland and what we’ve done on issues like housing and
local government and job creation. I could see him glazing over,
because I didn’t have a simple, hard, sock it to him Response. So there’s always a context
between what you try to create but ultimately you actually have to stand up
to the worst sort of identity politics. There’s a fantastic book, it was a regular
book on identity politics by Matthew San. There’s another very good one by
a French novelist called Amin Maalouf, who has won the Goncourt and
several other prizes. I think his main novel was called,
The Rock of Tanios. And was actually born in Lebanon, Arab Christian, writes in French,
now lives in France. And he’s written a brilliant book
about the complexities of identity. You think about your identities,
I’ve thought about mine, Irish, lower to middle class, Catholic, Tory, what my Irish forebears would have thought
about me being a colonial governor. [LAUGH]
But my great grandfather was born in Ireland
in 1829, left Ireland during the famine. So we all have these complicated
identities ourselves. And Maloof says at the end
of his extraordinarily tough on tackling identity politics says
that normally when you’re a writer. You hope that in the future,
your grandsons, granddaughters will take books off the
shelf and think this is a wonderful book. Gosh, did our grandfather
really write this? He said his hope was that when his
grandson took, I think it’s called the Pursuit of Identity or the Question
of Identity and takes it off the shelf. He’ll look at it and think, my goodness did people have to
write books about this in those days. So, it’s a tall order but I hope that identity politics is
something that we can start to. Illuminate even while
comprehending the complexities of other people’s identity and
the importance to other people should have an identity which is respected and
is given the dignity it deserves.>>So on the topic of shaping identity, you later went on to be the chairman
of a media review for the Pope. Now considering that they announce their
election results through smoke signals. I’m not quite so sure how one goes about
reviewing the digital media policy and coming up with Twitter and so forth. But can you talk a little bit
about How that came about and the effect you think its had, and
the drive and reaches achieved.>>Well the message, the invitation
was of course brought by Dove. [LAUGH] Carry on Dove, yes. I was quite surprised to be
asked to do it but jumped at it. I’m a cradle Catholic, and
I’m a huge admirer of this pope. And I’m what would be regarded
as a fairly liberal character. I didn’t think the Arch Bishop
of San Francisco would have much truck with some of my opinions. So a great admirer thought that it was a pity that a man who was
probably the best communicator in the world had a pretty,
to put it mildly, archaic way of Communicating. I mean the budgets in the Vatican
when we started work was pretty well, 92% spent on a newspaper,
the Observatory Romano. And on radio and we all know that most people getting their information
on television and social media. So actually even from that sort of
fundamental point of view there was a lot to be done. I had a very good team
including a brilliant social media expert who just
happens to be An ex-banker, but now a member of the Dominicans. A great French priest,
called Eric Celobere, and a very, very good group of others from outside. Two excellent women, a German and a Spanish, and
we’ve put together a series of proposals, which the Pope,
which His Holiness, accepted. And established a team of
Italians to implement. So, I hope it’s. [LAUGH]. There was no footnote to that observation, but I hope it goes well. It’s very important that it should, to be fair to the person
who’s leading this team. He’s been head of Vatican television for
a long time, and the technical competence of Vatican
television is extraordinarily high. But it does matter,
it particularly matters that people are getting the sort of social
media messages which they require. When I want to know what the time of Mass, or I look it up as I would
look up Trailer for films. And I think most people are like that and they’re slightly surprised when they
can’t get the information that they want. He is a remarkable man and we must all hope he survives. I used to have my meetings in
the Santa Marcia which is the. Hostel that he lives in. And one day we’d had a meeting and
we were having lunch and it was his birthday, so it would
have been December 2014, I suppose. And he’s sitting with cleaning ladies and
the lavatory attendants and the cooks having his birthday lunch. And I said to the very nice Irish
priest who was looking after me, that it was a terrific, terrific size. And he said, yes,
you haven’t heard the best of it though. He said as his popemobile was crossing St. Peter’s Square,
he was stopped by a group of Argentinean pilgrims with a bowl
of that herbal drink Mate. Which some of you may love, I might
say I prefer a dry martini, anyway. [LAUGH]. He’s handed the Mate and
takes a great swig out of it and his detectives, his bodyguard says, heavenly father, you must never do that. You never take a drink from people
in the streets, it could be poison. So the Pope had replied apparently,
what’s the matter he said, they were pilgrims, not Cardinals. [LAUGH]. So, we must hope he survives. So, I think with that I’ll turn
to the audience for questions. And I believe we have a couple
of microphones roaming around. Selena, don’t know if you have
a question from Twitter to start? Let’s start with a question from Twitter. So a lot of us have worked
with very different managers, but what was it like working
with the Pope and the queen? [COUGH] Different sexes.>>[LAUGH]
>>I must say, just one point on that
which is not irrelevant. When I first went to one of
the Pope’s private Masses, I said to my secretary,
I’m a priest, how does this differ from what it would have been
like under previous popes? And he said, easy, he said,
there are women on the altar. The Pope. I’ll tell you one similarity. And I don’t want to be
accused of leze-majeste, either in its ecclesiastical form or
its less spiritual form. They’re best, quite simple and
straightforward, neither of them remotely grand. When I had conversations
with Pope Francis and when it was business it
would be a one-on-one. Or one with an interpreter because my
Italian isn’t as good as it should be. No other people around in a simple, rather a dreary,
little waiting room in the Santa Marta. Not sort of lots of purple and scarlet and sashes and berettas and so on. Similarly, when you see the queen, she’s perfectly normal and
straightforward. She starts the day,
as most of us do in Britain, listening to the BBC radio
[LAUGH] Today program. And she is what you would have expected of somebody born in the 1930s, yeah, just, or 20s, English, well British, upper class. She starts with those opinions,
which have been modified over the years by the number of
Prime Ministers she had seen come and go, and the number of members
of the public she’s met. The extraordinary thing is that for
somebody of her age, and how enthusiastically she cares
about her public duties. Having had to do a bit of that as a
colonial governor, it can be pretty boring and she never gives that
impression that also. What they both exemplify is
a very old fashioned virtue which I hope exists,
I mean I’ve done some jumps in business. But I hope exists in business, or
should exist in everybody’s life and makes things easier, they both have
a sense of duty and obligation. And maybe if only as citizens that’s
something which we should feel. So they’re perfectly normal to deal with. And quite funny. That’s great. The queen has a very good sense of humor. So your next question. Hi, Lord Patten, thank you so
much for your speech today, my name is I’m a second year MBA student. I have a question regarding,
since you’re Tory, I was wondering if you comment a little
bit about how the recent release of the Panama Papers would have
on the Cameron government. And also, given that you spoke very
eloquently about social inequity, looking back at the previous
few governments. The Prime Ministers,
the Deputy Prime Ministers, Nick Clegg, David Cameron, Tony Blair,
they all belong to the Oxbridge elite. And do you think that kind
of social stratification is going to continue going forward? Second question is, if you were able
to talk to the presidency right now. I think we will start with those,
that was all ready two just there. So if we start with those
two pretty meaty questions. Let me deal with the second one first. It’s true that there are a huge
number of British Prime Ministers and Ministers, and Members of Parliament And judges, and senior executives, and editors of newspapers of left,
right, and center. Huge number of people who run things in United Kingdom who
went to Oxford and Cambridge. And why is that? The reason is that Oxford and
Cambridge along with Imperial and UCL and Kings College London are the best universities and
the toughest ones to get into. It shouldn’t be a surprise
that the people who go look it’s too very large in the United States. It shouldn’t be a surprise that the people
who are smart enough to go to the toughest universities go on to get to
the top end of their careers. I think we have an establishment,
which is overwhelmingly meritocratic. It’s overwhelmingly based
on competence rather than connections they’re
connections can come into it. But I’m nowadays described by the,
by the popular press as a Tory Grandee. My mother who was not unknown to be a bit
of a It’s unfair to say social climate, but you like to think that she was
cut off the slightly classier block. My mother would have been delighted
to hear me called Tory grandee. Here I am, my dad was a professional
drummer in a jazz band. We lived in a semi detached house in a part of London suburbs which was on the
margins between lower and middle class. And, I went on the scholarship
to secondary schools, I went on the scholarship when I was
16 from my secondary school to Oxford. I’m a scholarship boy and I found myself in my life doing jobs surrounded
by the scholarship boys. That is true,
that’s David Cameron is an old attorney on But his predecessor was
a Scottish grammar school boy. His predecessor was at a rather
grim school in Scotland. His predecessor John Major
left school at 16. And his father sold garden gnomes. His first job interview was to become
a bus conductor and he was turned down. He predecessor was Margaret Thatcher, whose father ran a grocery,
and was a scholarship girl. Her predecessor I could go on,
as of the conservative party but as the son of a small building merchant. My wife used to stay with some
friends in the town where we worked and whenever the lavatories were blocked
they’d send for Ted Heath’s father. So, I think we’re a much
more socially mobile society and it’s not surprising
that people from one of the most difficult universities to get into finish
up doing some of the toughest jobs. But, what is incredibly important for any meritocracy is to
ensure that it recognizes that there are even broader ladders behind
it in order to let people climb up them. What’s incredibly important for
people like me. And others is to recognize the role of
the state in helping us up the ladders. And to recognize that the state is still
required to help people from poorer and more disadvantaged backgrounds and
to get onto the matter. And to rise up it. So, I think meritocracies have to be
benign and sensitive to the interests of those who are coming after them if
they’re going to justify themselves. On the Panama Papers,
the Prime Minister I mean, this has all happened since I’ve
been away, but as I understand it. His father had established
a trust from which his family benefited when he died, as well as benefited. I don’t think anybody has suggested
it was a way of evading tax. Or covering up the billions that you’d
earned as was the case with Mr Putin for example. And I think I’m right in
saying it’s the sort of trust, which if you’re an American citizen,
you don’t have to go to Panama to set up because there are at least two American
states where you can do it anyway. I read Fareed Zakaria this week
on why there were no American names in the Panama Papers,
and his argument was, well, you don’t have to do that
if you’re an American. I think undoubtedly Cameron
will suffer from a bit for people being reminded
that he was a rich toff. And I’m not quite sure how
long that lasts, and I regard wealth envy as one of the less pleasant
aspects of living in a democracy.>>[INAUDIBLE] I have the privilege
of asking the last question. And you wrote a book,
What Next for the 21st Century? And then that’s kind of
a question that many of us, especially second year student here,
asking ourselves. So what are the big problems that you see
that some of us should put our minds to, to start solving for or what pearls of wisdom would you
like to share with us to close?>>I sent a copy of my book, What Next, to the then chancellor
of Cambridge University, who was the Duke of Edinburgh the Queen’s husband
>>And he was well into his 80s now well
into the 90s and he sent me back a handwritten reply saying
what next question mark. When you my age is there ever one answer. [LAUGH]
[LAUGH]>>It’s probably.>>What next I tell you
what I find surprising and I think it’s going to be the sort key, the
sort of nodal issue in the next few years. Most of us understand. Most of us recognize
intellectually that very few of the problems that
weigh on our society, very few of the problems
that confront our societies could be dealt with by
individual countries. And yet at the same time,
the enthusiasm for international corporations to tackle those problems has waned significantly. So whether you’re talking
about epidemic disease or international economic issues,
trade or environmental issues, or trafficking human beings,
or trafficking guns. None of those issues can be tackled
unless there is cooperation and while that is true, the support for shared sovereignty, for shared policy
making has declined significantly. I think it’s a real problem. I think here in the United States,
you have a difficulty that the republicans
believe in free trade, but not in the institutions which
are necessary in order to sustain it. And the democrats believe in
the institutions but not in the free trade I think there are similar
problems in other countries. So I think reigniting a belief in international cooperation,
in international institutions, to give credibility and
legitimacy to that cooperation. I think that is hugely important and should be invested with a degree of hope, which doesn’t exist. I think one of the things great
universities like this one should do, exist to do is to provide hope. At the end of one of
the most remarkable books about international relations I’ve read, Henry Kissinger’s book on diplomacy
which was written in the 1990s, whenever people think about Henry
Kissinger’s record in government he’s an extraordinary fine historian. And he’s written,
Diplomacy is a book about the post-war settlement,
the great contribution of United States to the world after 1945,
with some help from Europe. The way that had brought peace,
certainly in Europe, for a longer period then anything
since the congress of Vienna. And he writes at the end about
how that’s shaking to pieces, the point I’ve just made and he quotes an old Spanish proverb,
traveler where is the road, don’t ask where the road is,
roads are made by walking. And I think it’s the role of universities
to do some of the walking and to show us where the roads are. And I can think of know better or
more important a task for universities or for university teachers or
for university students. The last thing you should
do it at a university is, I think that it’s somewhere where you can
go to be safe or protected from the world. And I can make one last
controversial point. I think it’s an oxymoron to talk about universities and
safes basis in the same breath. And I think universities are all about
challenge and finding those roads, and which will get us from
one predicament to another, because that’s what
being alive’s all about.>>That a delightful note in which to end,
we’ll all get out and walk and chatter and path. So please join me in welcoming, thanking.>>[APPLAUSE]

Maurice Vega

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