BBC World Service

Lord Hastings of Scarisbrick Excerpts
Thursday 1st December 2022

(1 year, 5 months ago)

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Lord Hastings of Scarisbrick Portrait Lord Hastings of Scarisbrick (CB)
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My Lords, my interests in the register as a BBC pensioner and a former head of public affairs for the BBC are well known. I thank my great friend, the noble Lord, Lord Alton, for his persistence in driving us towards decent thinking and perpetual challenge.

I love the World Service. I increasingly listen to it on the digital radio in my car rather than domestic news services, largely because we are confronted day in and day out by international events that we need to understand better. I enjoy the dialogue on the World Service and the perception of its news content far more than I do Radio 4 or Radio 5 Live, but that may just be me getting wiser at the same time as I get older.

Not only do I love the World Service now, I loved it as a child born and brought up in the north-west of England. I was also brought up in the Caribbean—in Montego Bay, Jamaica, so your Lordships know where I am from in case that question is asked. My parents would listen every single day to the World Service. The radio would come on multiple times, with my mother in particular always tuning it to ensure that we heard what London had to say.

I had the joy in 2004 of going to the north of Nigeria, to the incredible sand city of Kano, where I listened to the Hausa service at 1.30 pm and at 6.30 pm, when literally hundreds of thousands of people would gather around short-wave radios to hear what London had to say, in Hausa, about the reality of events in Nigeria. To take the point that the noble Baroness, Lady Warwick, made so well, that is exactly why digital services simply will not serve so many communities that rely on real radio. They need real radio for their ears, as well as for their knowledge, understanding and lives. We have said so much in this debate about countries which, yes, profoundly matter—Iran, China, Russia, Ukraine and Taiwan—but I have mentioned Nigeria, where elections are coming up in February. That country will have the third-largest population in the world within another 20 years. It is essential to maintain language services to countries that we may often disregard as less significant but which are vital to our economic prospects as well as to global stability.

The issue of the £28.5 million cut to the BBC’s services is a dumb disaster made in Downing Street. It is a dumb disaster because the decision to cut funds—I realise some of it is historical—but also to restrain funding reflects on what is a complete contradiction between what Downing Street says is its desire for global Britain to have influence, presence and significance, and its willingness to observe restraints on those very institutions that give the most effective presence of global Britain.

While we are on the matter of context, the Minister is from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. His own department wasted £120 million on Unboxed, a ridiculous festival in 170 towns and cities around the country, promising that 66 million people would attend in its crazy pursuit of an effective Brexit. Well, no effective Brexit has happened and no effective attendance at the festival happened. The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee of another place said that the 283,000 people who benefited from that £120 million was a shameful abuse of public resources.

As the Minister comes to respond later, could he look around government, especially his own department, at what other trashy projects are being put in place in planning for the next election in the next two years to showcase Brexit as having been a good deal for Britain, when everybody knows that it has been a tragedy of catastrophic mismanagement and foolishness? What we need to do is to extract money from wasted parts of government and ensure that the BBC World Service is well sustained and maintained, and that its languages are protected.

Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Lord Hastings of Scarisbrick Excerpts
Friday 9th September 2022

(1 year, 8 months ago)

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Lord Hacking Portrait Lord Hacking (Lab)
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My Lords, I spoke in this House on 26 May in the humble Address to Her Majesty the Queen on her Platinum Jubilee. I said that I could think of her only as a young Queen, because my early memories of Her Majesty were of when she was very young, having ascended the Throne aged 25. These memories are indelible for me.

Coming to this House today, I was thinking of my very first memory of Her Majesty. I am quite sure that it is of her dedication address, as it is now called, broadcast from Cape Town on 21 April 1947. This has been cited by many before and since Her Majesty’s death, and was also cited in this debate by the Lord Privy Seal. I was only nine, and was not a listener to broadcasts or the radio, but my parents thought I ought to listen to this broadcast, which I did.

I also remember clearly the circumstances of Her Majesty giving this broadcast from Cape Town. It was the first overseas visit by the Royal Family following the war and it was really made in honour of Field Marshal Smuts for his great help to our nation during World War II—he spent quite a lot of time here and almost became a member of the War Cabinet. I remember that, with no royal yacht available, the Royal Family travelled to Cape Town in the one remaining battleship after World War II, HMS “Vanguard”. I suppose it would have been a voyage of about three or four days down to South Africa.

I am not going to add to the tributes that have already nobly been made. I endorse every tribute that I have heard, and I am sure that I will continue to endorse the further tributes that will be given in this debate. I would therefore like to turn to the new King, King Charles III, and my first memory of him.

I have a very clear memory of when I was honoured to receive an invitation to Windsor Castle in about 1960 to attend an informal Christmas party for children and young persons. The King was only 12; I was a little older, at 22. I remember that the then Prince Charles was very shy. He stood by the Christmas tree during most of the party, just shyly observing what was happening. His Majesty the King is no longer shy, but he remains a very modest man. I have no doubt that he will be a most worthy successor to Her late Majesty the Queen.

I now turn in my short intervention to quote from the dedication address:

“I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.”


That is exactly what Her Majesty has done during the 70 years of her reign.

Lord Hastings of Scarisbrick Portrait Lord Hastings of Scarisbrick (CB)
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My Lords, I belong to a generation of Caribbean young who had parents and grandparents who bemoaned the end of the Empire. My father was from Angola, but my mother was from Sav-la-mar, Jamaica, and I will never forget her and her mother constantly wishing for the better days of the 1950s. On one occasion, I listened to my mother railing against the new democracy in Jamaica, saying “Tsk, dem all useless, but de Queen, she gorgeous.” That sense of affectionate love for this distant lady—our sovereign, her sovereign—was deep and immense.

I also recall so clearly a radical Government appointed by election in the early 1970s who wanted to do away with the Queen’s Christmas Day broadcast. I remember from when I was a child the protests in Kingston. People came out on the streets for weeks, placarding and threatening to bombard the radio stations if they removed the broadcast. It continues to this day.

In the opening remarks from the Leader of the House, the noble Lord, Lord True, and the Leader of the Opposition, the noble Baroness, Lady Smith, reference was made to the fact that the Queen passed through all these years without expressing an opinion. That is not quite correct, because I have the opinion in my hands in a letter from Balmoral Castle, which I am happy to show the House, dated 14 September 1976.

Some 46 years ago, when I was just 18, I received a letter from the press secretary of Her Majesty the Queen, Ron Allison, who passed recently. He wrote:

“I am commanded by The Queen to acknowledge your recent letter about the projected film on the life of Jesus Christ which a Mr. Jens Thorsen proposes to produce.”


Some of the older Members here might recall the massive public debate in 1976 about a Danish filmmaker’s interest in the intimate life of Jesus. The letter goes on:

“While Her Majesty finds this proposal quite as obnoxious as most of her subjects do, the preventing of the making of such a film in the United Kingdom, or the exclusion from this country of Mr. Thorsen, could only be accomplished within the laws of the United Kingdom. Accordingly, your letter has been referred at Her Majesty’s commands to the Home Office.”


The then Home Secretary, Mr Merlyn Rees, found it impossible to allow entry to the country to pursue such a bizarre interest.

Many years later, I met Ron Allison by mistake. He looked at me and said, “You’re—”, and I said, “Yes, and you’re—”. I was still in my early 20s. I said to him then, “Did you write the letter, or did Her Majesty the Queen dictate it?” He said, “Oh no, she dictated it.” So I said that she wished it be known that she had a view that this was obnoxious and, for those old enough to remember, it was front-page news for days. I still have all the cuttings from all those years ago. I featured on endless news broadcasts, as a young black man standing up at the age of 18 in defence of the faith and the Jesus she loved, and defending what should be proper process. Yes, the Home Secretary must decide, as he did, by order and command, but Her Majesty made it clear that things were “obnoxious”. That is the one view she expressed in her long reign, and I am proud to hold it in my hands.

Lord Thomas of Gresford Portrait Lord Thomas of Gresford (LD)
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My Lords, the existence of Princess Elizabeth was borne in on me in 1947 at the time of the royal wedding. It was a blaze of sudden colour—and I still have the souvenir illustrated magazine that my mother kept—in a post-war world of austerity and ration books. “But where did she get the coupons for that dress?”, the grumpy ones said.

After the shock of the death of her father, it was a struggle to find a television in our street where we could watch in black and white the Queen’s Coronation. However, the following year, I remember pouring out of school to greet her and her consort when they came to my home town of Wrexham on her coronation tour.

I have no anecdotes. On the few occasions I met her personally, I was too tongue-tied to do much more than mumble my name. The noble Lord, Lord Wigley, and the noble and learned Lord, Lord Morris of Aberavon, referred to the first day of the opening of the Welsh Assembly, in which I played a less distinguished part. I found myself in the corridor leading from the front door to the Chamber, which was empty. At the far end, the noble Lord, Lord Elis-Thomas, the then Presiding Officer of the Welsh Assembly, was greeting Her Majesty. There were no doors, but I spotted the choir of the Welsh National Opera in an alcove; it was about to deliver a motet especially written for the Queen. As she passed along the carpet towards me, I joined the choir and did what was known in those days as a John Redwood: I opened my programme and mouthed the words as the choir of the Welsh National Opera looked at me in some astonishment.

I knew the Queen and her family better than any family save my own—the media saw to that. She went through many highs and lows during her long lifetime. I have followed half a generation behind with my four children, encouraged and supported through the triumphs and disasters in my own family by the knowledge that she, though a Queen, had passed through similar personal difficulties with courage and determination. That is what is meant by the many people who are saying today, “She was part of my life”.

I will speak of Balmoral. I first visited the castle and its grounds as a member of the public, as thousands do, in 1963. Ever since, I have spent much of every August in the valley of the Scottish Dee. I have walked around and above Loch Muick many times. I have climbed Lochnagar celebrating with friends in the June twilight, sitting at the summit and waiting for the sun to rise. I scaled it more than 20 years ago from the Glenshee road in solitary grief following the death of my wife, Nan. I have fished there since with my wife—my noble friend Lady Walmsley—below the famous, old military bridge across the Dee at Tulloch on the estate. On 18 August, only three weeks ago, my grandson caught his first salmon from a pool directly opposite Balmoral Castle.

If I love that area as a tolerated visitor, how much more did Balmoral mean to the Queen? Where else could she enjoy peace, tranquillity and the absence of ceremony? I have never understood metropolitans who regard its glinting waters, dappled woods and wide, open hills as cold and boring. For me, it was entirely understandable that Balmoral should be the place where Her Majesty finally came home.

Food Insecurity in Developing Countries due to Blockade of Ukrainian Ports

Lord Hastings of Scarisbrick Excerpts
Thursday 21st July 2022

(1 year, 10 months ago)

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Lord Hastings of Scarisbrick Portrait Lord Hastings of Scarisbrick (CB)
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My Lords, I am deeply grateful, as always, for the piercing analysis and persistent pressure of the noble Lord, Lord Alton. He consistently reminds not just the House but the country, especially the Government, of what matters most to the heart and the mind. I also say at this juncture—I hope not just on my behalf but on behalf of the whole House—that we hope this is not the last time the noble Lord, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, answers a debate of this nature. He is hugely loved and appreciated across the House and we hope he stays in post—please note, those who have responsibility.

This is a difficult debate. We are talking with huge anxiety about issues we can barely affect. One of the reasons for that is the ineptitude of the United Nations as an organisation. I encourage the Minister to depart from his brief, if he feels able, and express a view. The UN Security Council, which ought to be able to discuss and decide how to respond to crises of this nature, has a permanent member whose veto will ensure that no action is possible. We may continue to wring our hands for the next few years or decades, but do we not need to come to a point at which the free countries of the world, which we hope will maintain a generous engagement and involvement in the world’s development for the poorest, make a decision about the right to reside in the UN Security Council?

At what point does the post-war settlement have to change? What thinking have Her Majesty’s Government put into the prospects of a long war in Ukraine, driven by Russia’s evil intentions and our inability to take action? We must stare at our enemy across the circle in New York and simply utter platitudes that cannot get decisions. That is not something that I or any of us can give a straight answer to, but if government is not thinking about it, we are all in trouble. Government needs to think about it.

Two friends asked me this morning why I am speaking in a debate on Ukraine; it is not my normal area of interest. Africa definitely is, however, and I remind the House of my roles as a vice-president of UNICEF, an ambassador for Tearfund, the chairman of the council of ZANE, the Zimbabwe aid agency, and a governor of the M-PESA academy in Nairobi, Kenya. One of our students, a wonderful young man from Somalia, graduated three weeks ago. He went back to the Kakuma refugee camp and immediately found that his mother was unable to afford his existence, simply because food prices had rocketed to such an extent in the matter of weeks that he had been absent—he was born in a refugee camp and lived with refugee status—that his mother was unable to feed him. We assisted and all will be well, but it brought it home in such sharp relief: ordinary people struggling with difficult and complex backgrounds are fighting again for the basics of survival.

As always, and as we have heard in so many other speeches, the noble Lord, Lord Alton, gave us a litany of statistics that have come in the endless briefs, which are incredibly helpful. There is no need to repeat them, but I want to press two other points. We are conscious that at the moment we are looking at a mass food distribution problem, not just because of the limitations of food available from Ukraine and Russia but simply because our world has become used to waste.

I decided to spend some time this morning checking what and how much we waste. A third of all food produced in the world is wasted, 55% of it by those of us in the North. The European Union, the United Kingdom and the United States account for some of the largest wasters on earth. By percentage levels, Belgium comes in just after the United States. That is ironic, as Belgium is the headquarters of many esteemed institutions that ought to be better resourced in how to deal with that waste. Some 3 trillion meals are wasted every single year. Were we to galvanise our efforts with the 1.3 billion tonnes of food wasted in the world, that would represent 10 meals per day for every starving child or adult to whom we have referred in this debate.

Why is this important for us? This has to become a moment of national effort. This morning we heard that the gas has been turned back on for Germany, but Germans are being encouraged to save gas to be ready for the autumn lack. It may get more difficult. It may become impossible to light their gas fires or even to power up their electricity supplies. Saving gas is a way of saving the country’s impending problem.

We need a national effort to save food. We need a European effort to save food. We need a G7 effort to save food. We need a G20 effort to save food. I am not aiming to be political in any way at all, but this is why we need alliances such as the European Union—so that we can save on the things we waste so easily and freely. If we do not save food and we continue to throw and trash it, 52.5% of all food in the United Kingdom will continue to be thrown away daily from restaurants, supermarkets and households. We are wasting while others are starving, and we need an effort driven from the centre and from the top—not just by NGOs but by the Government—to save and redistribute food. At the moment we have nothing at all from government on that issue.

We also need to consider how we think about loose resources, not necessarily gained by ill means but thrown around in a careless society where waste is so evident. Yesterday I noticed the EuroMillions lottery win of £195 million. That is $234 million, which represents $2 for 117 million people—that is the population of Ethiopia. One person will benefit with largesse and extreme gain, while millions will starve. I hear some saying, “But come on, you can’t take away the free-gotten gains of individuals”. How long will we watch millions starve, as Putin may wish, so that we become desperate in our alternative foreign policy options?

I note also—this may be uncomfortable for the Minister, but I hope not—that his current boss announced this morning that she could find £30 billion of tax cuts to be announced within the first week of her premiership, should she get there. It is worth noting, as Iain Duncan Smith did in campaigning for Liz Truss yesterday, that there is now tax headroom for substantial cuts. This year and last the United Kingdom cut our aid budget by £5 billion each time, meaning that when it comes to supporting the most vulnerable we are stripping ourselves of the ability to do so.

This should be a moment for stateswomanship or statesmanship at the helm of the Conservative Party, the Government and our nation. As we watch Ukraine drop down the headline list, and as we become more careless about what happens because we are more interested in how hot our homes are than in how desperate their lives are, we have to ask ourselves what kind of world we are creating in which we can watch such great waste, such careless abandon about public resources, such self-interest in public policy and such disregard for the destitute.

Autocrats, Kleptocrats and Populists

Lord Hastings of Scarisbrick Excerpts
Thursday 3rd February 2022

(2 years, 3 months ago)

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Lord Hastings of Scarisbrick Portrait Lord Hastings of Scarisbrick (CB)
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My Lords, while in preparation for this debate, for reasons I cannot explain, my phone decided to throw up some old pictures that I had kept in archive. A particular photograph came from 1975, of Idi Amin forcing white diplomats to bow down to him to give him subservience and obedience and take an oath of allegiance to his Government. We easily wrote him off then as a tyrant, an autocrat and a man who was intent on showering shame on those he despised and manipulating and destroying their lives.

Well, here we are many decades on, and we have recorded information this week that the former recent President of the United States spent the last weekend in Texas, assuring those who bowed down to him a year ago that he will pardon them when he returns to office and release them of the charges for which they were accused for leaping up on Capitol Hill to destroy the stable democracy of the United States, and that he spent weekends while in the White House destroying and ripping up official papers which members of his Government, in Civil Service terms, literally sellotaped together to provide to the inquiry in Washington.

We so easily used to point at African leaders as despotic and despairing and we now have them in abundance in the West. We have to learn to take account of what is clearly a major failure in our ability to display democracy to the rest of the world when we cannot see it in the places we once revered or even consider home.

I have reflected strongly on this issue, largely because I have felt a deep sense of despair at the state of our own country’s affairs. Before I leave them, I remind noble Lords who are followers of American political writing of a quote that appeared in the Baltimore Evening Sun on 26 July 1920—100 years ago—written by the leading political author HL Mencken:

“As democracy is perfected, the office of the President represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be occupied by a downright fool and a complete narcissistic moron.”


In subsequent writings, HL Mencken went on to explain that

“the inner soul of the people”

was corrupted when the public were lulled into indulgence and indifference by consistent pleasure and abundant choice. He said that this allowed them to take the low road of ease and disengagement, which he called the cul-de-sac of hopelessness. If we care about democracy, we have to ask ourselves: what are we allowing people to be and to do carelessly—and social media fits well into that paradigm—that causes them to be lulled into persistent pleasure and indulgence?

While we have been here, in the course of this debate, the Prime Minister’s chief adviser, Munira Mirza, has resigned, accusing the Prime Minister of slurs against the leader of the Opposition, saying that:

“There was no fair or reasonable basis”


for the assertions made at the Dispatch Box in the House of Commons. She continued:

“This was not the normal cut-and-thrust of politics; it was an inappropriate and partisan reference to a horrendous case of child sex abuse. You tried to clarify your position today but, despite my urging, you did not apologise for the misleading impression you gave.”


How can we preach democracy and authoritative, intelligent leadership to a world that now so desperately needs it when those at the centre of our own politics cannot seem to display it?

These things are inconsistencies, and I wonder whether the Minister might reflect when he makes his reply on whether he believes the assertions in the Economist of the last week that at the heart of our problem is the “childish lack of seriousness” at the heart of government and the failure of the Government to tell consistent truth. The Economist says:

“Treating voters as dopes to be bought off with bombast is a feature of the demagoguery that Mr Johnson rode to power. It is an example of the contempt with which populist leaders treat the people they govern. So, alas, is the other trait that has infected post-Brexit Britain: lying”,


consistently in public. We cannot preach democracy to the world if we cannot deliver integrity at home.

China: Genocide

Lord Hastings of Scarisbrick Excerpts
Thursday 25th November 2021

(2 years, 5 months ago)

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Lord Hastings of Scarisbrick Portrait Lord Hastings of Scarisbrick (CB)
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My Lords, it is certainly interesting to follow the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Desai, and it gives us an opportunity to reflect on the hub of where our hearts are.

Most of us in this House, maybe barring one, are agonised and deeply frustrated by the detail that we have listened to. The essence of what has been presented to us in this debate rests on two fundamental pillars. The first is that there seems to be an ongoing debate within the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office as to whether the Foreign Secretary knows what they are talking about and can actually attribute a crime of genocide—ultimate atrocity crimes on an industrial scale. A former Foreign Secretary may say, as may the current one, that that is our sense of frustration, so it lies with the Minister of State to clear this up in his response to the debate.

The second thing that frustrates and angers us all—so brilliantly presented in speeches by so many noble Lords, especially that of my dear friend of over 30 years, the noble Lord, Lord Alton, my sponsor when joining your Lordships’ House—is that every small detail, even if disputable, is significant enough to make us furious at indecision and desperate for clarity on what to do in response. There will of course be a debate immediately following this which will focus on what the media will take the greatest interest in today, and maybe rightly so: the cause of migrants, minorities and people lost in the tragedy in the channel just 24 hours ago. The parallel issue that lies behind that is the responsibility of very rich countries such as China and us towards marginalised communities and minorities—people who are easy to forget.

Is that responsibility only ever triggered at the point at which we see awful tragedy that can be confirmed; or did we not know, for example, in the case of the awful atrocity yesterday just off the French coast, that this has been going on for years? It was a tragedy waiting to happen. It is only when people die that everybody comes out and shakes their heads and wrings their hands. We could have been involved in this much more meaningfully—not just diplomatically but through real, concerted action; not running away from the fact that people who seek migrant support and who leave as refugees do so because their living circumstances are not what any of us would wish on ourselves or our neighbours.

I am not an expert on these matters at all, but I trust implicitly the keen insights that the noble Lord, Lord Alton, the noble Baroness, Lady Kennedy, and so many others have brought. They know what they are talking about. They have seen, witnessed, and studied, so we should attribute to them, and so should the Minister, the dignity of truth telling. For the past 19 years I have chaired the council of ZANE—Zimbabwe a National Emergency—and during that time I have seen briefings and information, and even been present in Zimbabwe to witness things that at one point we were desperately concerned about under Mugabe. We then lost our concern altogether when Mugabe was otherwise dissipated and Mnangagwa took control. Our media and our politics walk away, and we lose our emphasis on these issues. We can totemise them, but we do not want to respond to them with detail.

Everything that can be said about this issue has been said in this debate. However, I have three questions to ask the Minister. First, will Her Majesty’s Government declare with clarity whether it is the view of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and the Foreign Secretary that what is under way is genocide? Can the Minister declare that and not circle around the issues? Secondly, given the concern of this House and the other place, at what point will the Government request that the legal representatives of the Chinese state here in London, including the ambassador, brief Members of this House? Let us hear from them directly and have the opportunity for dialogue and conversation. If it is an open dispute, let us present evidence. Thirdly, as was necessary with the Covid crisis, there must be an authentication visit to the province of Xinjiang on a UN and a governmental basis, to establish whether these attributed and unattributed claims can be seen for what they are and proven. Without that, we will continue to circle the issues and not resolve them. Please, Minister, respond to those questions. We have all been infuriated, but let us not remain so; let us get some answers.

Integrated Review: Development Aid

Lord Hastings of Scarisbrick Excerpts
Wednesday 28th April 2021

(3 years ago)

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Lord Hastings of Scarisbrick Portrait Lord Hastings of Scarisbrick (CB)
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My Lords, this weekend, the Defence Secretary, in anticipation of the first overseas tour by the Royal Navy’s new flagship carrier and six other Navy ships to tilt at the Indo-China region, stated:

“When our Carrier Strike Group sets sail”


next month,

“it will be flying the flag for Global Britain—projecting our influence, signalling our power, engaging with our friends and reaffirming our commitment to addressing the security challenges of today and tomorrow.”

No, Mr Wallace: this is the very week that, after 20 years of a wasted war in Afghanistan, US and UK troops start their weary journey home—trillions spent and no victory. It was Hillary Clinton, when US Secretary of State, who, in despair at ongoing defence deployment, stated that if we had wanted to win the war with the Taliban and liberate Afghanistan, we would have been building schools for girls and boys, and empowering excellent global education from the 1970s onwards.

Truly, to project power and soft power, influence is not in bombs and ships. As Nelson Mandela once said:

“Education is the single most powerful weapon … to change the world.”


That is why it is scandalous to cut education aid by 40% over four years. As one of the many ambassadors here for the Global Partnership for Education, I say: if we want security, we need to invest in minds, not mines in the ground; in subjects, not submarines; and in war history, not war machines. Learning is the vaccine to the pandemic of ignorance and injustice that our world suffers.

Economy: Remittances

Lord Hastings of Scarisbrick Excerpts
Thursday 4th February 2021

(3 years, 3 months ago)

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Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Portrait Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Con)
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My Lords, I share the noble Lord’s opinion. Indeed, in my own family, when my father first arrived in the early 1950s, remittances were an important part of supporting his family in the sub-continent. In answer to the noble Lord’s specific point, remittances have been shown to be more resilient than, for example, capital flows—but they also tend to be countercyclical. As for the specifics of where they are going, they are aimed at the most vulnerable; as I said, there is further information on the sectors available, and I will share that with him.

Lord Hastings of Scarisbrick Portrait Lord Hastings of Scarisbrick (CB)
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My Lords, the Minister has admitted how vital remittances are to individual communities and families. Yet most of that money is used on basic purchasing and family needs. Will the Government look at exploring the possibility with the banks both here and there—wherever “there” is—a holding pools investment strategy to make money from the money while it is being transferred, and pre-transfer, and put that into jobs, trade and infrastructure? Will the Minister meet me to discuss this?

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Portrait Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Con)
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Of course, I look forward to meeting the noble Lord on that last point. We are looking at particular processes, especially in countries such as Ghana, Nigeria and Somalia, and I am sure that will form the basis of our discussions.

Sustainable Development Goals

Lord Hastings of Scarisbrick Excerpts
Thursday 12th November 2020

(3 years, 6 months ago)

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Baroness Sugg Portrait Baroness Sugg (Con) [V]
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I agree with my noble friend that mental health is a major concern that affects women around the world. This summer we published our approach paper on mental health and psychosocial disabilities. It clearly outlines our ambition to achieve an integrated and comprehensive rights-based approach to mental health support. It noted the significant gender disparity. It is important that while we continue to support our work on ending preventable deaths, we also address the growing burden of non-communicable diseases.

Lord Hastings of Scarisbrick Portrait Lord Hastings of Scarisbrick (CB)
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My Lords, given Brexit, can the Minister inform the House of how much UK aid that had gone through the EU will now be exclusively available for UK priorities, and can the likely billions be invested with the Global Partnership for Education, advancing girls’ education, of which I am a champion?

Baroness Sugg Portrait Baroness Sugg (Con) [V]
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My Lords, we are indeed supporting the Global Partnership for Education. We look forward to co-hosting the replenishment conference with the Government of Kenya next year and we will announce our support for GPE in due course.