Friday, April 10, 2015

toast, dinner, and Gordon Brown

Today swerved in a direction that I wasn't expecting when - having been invited to a small USC dinner celebrating the fact that Gordon Brown is teaching an intensive course for our International Relations department for a couple of weeks, and, indeed, having been asked if I'd give a toast - I found that I'd been placed next to him at the dinner table.  He was terrific - both to talk to one on one (all my Labour activist past bubbled right back to the surface) and then in the more general comments and discussion that followed dinner (and toasting).  Indeed, he was quite inspirational about the global need for more education, for all kinds of reasons (from human rights, to security, to health). I'd read his book before preparing my (2 minute!) toast, but luckily everything that I'd prepared to say about him being principled, about him always recognizing that there are human stories behind economic statistics, about his sense that globalism is about shared moral values, and not just about the circulation of capital (etc) was born out by the very sincerity and strong, quiet presence of the man himself.  That was some evening - thank you, USC.

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