TEDxBrussels, which I attended earlier this week (November 22, 2011), had the tagline “A day deep in the future” – the talks covered a broad range of perspectives around this theme, covering “Technology”, “Science from Fiction”, “Science”, “Made in Belgium”, and “Politics and Economics” – within this last category, Paddy Ashdown gave an excellent 18 minute talk titled “Why the world will never be the same & what we should do about it” (click on the video above to watch the talk).
During a break after the first session, before Paddy Ashdown’s talk, I had the chance to briefly chat with Paddy, who was on his own in the lobby. It was a pleasure to have the chance to meet, and talk with him, albeit too little time to better get to know someone who has an impressive list of achievements and career history.
Paddy’s talk reminded me of Chris Patten‘s excellent in depth analysis of similar topics, in his book “What Next? Surviving the Twenty-First Century” (2008). If Chris Patten could be considered by some (including myself) as “the best foreign secretary Britain never had” (quote from Denis Macshane, on the back cover of the book), then Paddy might also be considered as the best prime minister Britain never had (although I also consider that David Miliband can lay some claim to such a title).
While TED aims to be apolitical (rightly so in my view), and therefore tends to have fewer talks by politicians, politicians nevertheless often speak well, and have interesting perspectives – as such, there are some good talks from British politicians, past and present:
- Paddy Ashdown (former leader of the British Liberal Democrats party), above
- David Cameron (leader of the British Conservative party, and current British Prime Minister) – but is he really living up to the expectations that he builds in the talk?
- Gordon Brown (former leader of the British Labour party and, former British Prime Minister)
- [Does anyone know of any others?]
For more, on TED, see some of my other related blog posts: