“Is the practice of politics providing for the citizen as envisaged in the original Greek meaning, or is it simply a game?
And if it is a game, what are the rules? And when playing that game, should we always be aware of our core principles?” – Baroness Warsi, 2016
Politics was described by Aristotle as “of, for, or relating to citizens”.
In more modern terms the definition of politics is “the activities associated with the governance of a country or other area, especially the debate or conflict among individuals or parties having or hoping to achieve power”.
But is the practice of politics really about providing for the citizen, as envisaged in the Greek meaning, or, has the game of politics become an end in itself?
And, in the game of politics, is winning the ultimate aim, even if this requires sacrifice of principles?
Watch Lady Warsi’s 2016 speech at Cambridge University here
“David Yelland, Tom Watson, Jo Brand, Vince Cable and I” sounds like the start of a story from an after dinner gig – but they are the esteemed company that I now keep by delivering this lecture, the fifth Leveson Lecture. They have all shrewdly and brilliantly shed light on press reform, and they did it very much in the thoughtful and open-minded spirit of Sir Brian Leveson’s report.
I am very conscious that they are hard acts to follow.
And as I was working on this talk a few days ago, worried whether I should have accepted your invitation to deliver this lecture, I was distracted by another event that was taking place.
No I wasn’t tracking Priti Patel’s plane back from Africa along with thousands of other people. I was watching the Prime Minister and others pay homage at a party to celebrate Paul Dacre’s 25 years at the Daily Mail. I tried to find the words that evening to express my disgust – I could not, so I will simply quote my colleague, Andrew, Lord Cooper:
“The Prime Minister attending the *celebration* of the repulsive Paul Dacre’s 25 years as editor of the disgusting Daily Mail is another depressing sign of the sickness at the heart of UK politics & the Tory Party weakly traipsing towards the edge of a cliff”
Now Either Andrew is very right and brave or that is a spoof twitter account that I have just quoted from.
But their evening was about the past. And tonight is about the future.
I’m really pleased you are all here, I’m really relieved that I am here, in the right
place, giving the right lecture to the right audience.
Because, believe it or not, tonight we have another Hinton Lecture happening right
now a few miles from here. So I had real concerns about whether I was going to be
at the right one.
The Royal Society of Engineering tonight are hosting their flagship annual Hinton
lecture in memory of one Sir Christopher Hinton – I understand there is no
relationship between the two.
They have the former CEO of EDF Energy talking about his life and career.
But tonight ladies and gentlemen you have me – so those of you who are at the
wrong lecture – please do stay.
David Cameron, Ed Miliband, the last Archbishop of Canterbury and I sounds like
the start of a very inappropriate joke – but they are in fact the diverse and
esteemed company I now keep by delivering this lecture, the 20th Hinton Lecture
in memory of Nicholas Hinton – a man whom sadly I only knew in name.
I was a newly qualified solicitor in my twenties when Nicholas died. I was idealistic
and passionate about change and believed I could make the world a better place.
Idealism and passion I’m told by those who knew Nick were very much a part of
But we have a few more things in common.
“Be challenging, be authentic, be brave” – Baroness Warsi
Lady Warsi’s interview with BBC World Service Witness History on being the first Muslim in Cabinet – Listen here
Listen to Baroness Warsi, Sir Paul Collier and Roger Scruton discuss belonging and identity
Watch Baroness Warsi’s interview on The Andrew Marr Show
The tell tale signs on the journey to Terrorism
Tim Shipman interviews Baroness Sayeeda Warsi for The Sunday Times Magazine
Im Both Us and Them