Service and Reception 17 Sep:  Celebration and Thanksgiving
Click here for our (reduced) rolling programme I was saying, February...

...   was a busy month and I ran out of space last week to cover two other episodes of my year as Master.

To the Old Bailey on 28 February to lunch as the guest of Mr Sheriff Nigel Pullman in the company of the judges who were sitting that day. As might be expected, an erudite lunch conversation sprinkled with very gritty observations of life based on cases that come up before Their Honours! After lunch I spent an hour as a fly on the wall in a court listening to evidence worthy of CSI in a very gritty case indeed!

The mood lightened in the evening with the opportunity to attend the annual Tacitus Lecture of the Company of World Traders given this year by Sir Richard Lambert, former FT editor, member of the Monetary Policy Group and Director General of the CBI. He gave, come to think of it, a pretty gritty appraisal of the challenges facing the UK economy! He concluded, however, that there were many reasons to be optimistic about the medium term forecast for the economy. The Lecture synopsis and recording is available at

One very striking statistic that he quoted was that cash and deposit balances held by the non-financial company sector currently add up to nearly two-fifths of the country’s annual GDP and this figure explains the recent talk of negative interest rates and “helicopter money” as a way of tackling what Keynes described as a “strike of capital”.

On broader cultural aspects of our current challenges he observed – very much in line with the ideas of the City Values Forum to which we have contributed through our membership of the FSG:

 "There is a pressing need to rebuild public trust in business and show by actions that it lies at the heart of a healthy society, as opposed to being a rapacious outsider. It needs to be recognised that successful business is about building long term value for customers and that profit is a means to an end - not an end in itself"

Couldn't agree more!

The Tacitus Lecture is the biggest of the formal City Lectures and with an audience of over 750, the Guildhall felt very full. I had the opportunity to speak a few days later with Sheriff Nigel Pullman who, as Clerk to the World Traders in the 1990s, was influential in creating this important  event. I gained some useful tips, from which I think we can learn!