Principal's Blog: Early March 2019

LGBTQ+ alumni network:
On 20 February there was a packed room at the Apple Tree pub in Mount Pleasant, London for the second gathering of the Brasenose LGBTQ+ alumni network. We were hosted by the pub’s owner, alumna Lucy Fenton. We were treated to a fascinating address by alumnus Gary Powell about the history of gay rights and his treatment over the years. It was also great that Gary’s contemporary at Brasenose, Energy Minister Claire Perry MP, was able to attend the event. The full text of Gary’s speech will be published in the 2018-19 edition of the Brazen Nose.

Prof Alan Bowman:
On 21 February, Professor Alan Bowman, my immediate predecessor as Principal, spoke at a Breakfast with Brasenose event at Rawlinson & Hunter in Fetter Lane, the Senior Partner of which is our alumnus David Barker. Alan spoke of his time as a Tutor, Camden Professor of Ancient History and Principal. He saw the general principle operating in Oxford to be “do what you want until someone tells you otherwise”. He saw the tutorial as the jewel in the crown of Oxford. There was a lively Q&A.

Sir Jeremy Heywood:
On 23 February, Suzanne and I were privileged to be invited to an assessment of the Life and Legacy of Sir Jeremy Heywood, former Cabinet Secretary at Hertford College where he studied. A series of distinguished speakers and ex-colleagues of Jeremy addressed the issues of Leading Whitehall under Pressure and the Slow Death of Yes Minister.

It was great to welcome Prof Bart Van Es the author of the excellent book The Cut Out Girl and former Fellow of English at Brasenose to dinner here.

PPE Society:
On 26 February, Andrew Sparkes CMG - the former Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kosovo, and Nepal - gave a stimulating address to the PPE Society about the future of the Commonwealth. He offered some fascinating facts, such as that the Commonwealth consists of about one third of the world’s population, and 15% of its wealth. He suggested that it couldn't substitute for trade with the EU given that 44% of the UK’s trade was with the EU and only 7% with the Commonwealth. He argued that, moving forward, the UK might share its UN Security Council veto with Commonwealth nations in order to foster closer relationships without creating an old-boys' club reminiscent of the British Empire.

On 17 February we were delighted to welcomed Canon Dr Paula Gooder, lay reader, author and biblical scholar to chapel. She is Chancellor Designate of St Pauls Cathedral. She organised her memorable sermon around the lyrics of a Harry and Chris hit, “the way things are is not the way things have to be”. It was an inspiring encouragement to change the world for the common good.

I am reading the excellent book by Roger McNamee about Facebook called simply “Zucked”.

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