The Legatum Institute brought together three of the UK’s most reflective thinkers for an event in the House of Commons to discuss the relevance of key social values in modern Britain.
Former Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks, former Cabinet Minister Sir Oliver Letwin and celebrated journalist Tim Montgomerie debated whether recent events had challenged notions of community and society, and how we protect, restore and strengthen the values that underpin strong societies and economies, such as courage, integrity, freedom, loyalty and social responsibility.
Moderated by Tim Montgomerie, part of the discussion was about the effects of developing technology.
Rabbi Lord Sacks said the revolution of information technology was as powerful as the invention of the printing press during which time the world endured much turbulence.
He spoke of the positive impact of modern technology saying, “they are opening up a world of knowledge and information; potentially the most democratising form of access to knowledge the world has ever seen.”
Sir Oliver Letwin supported these thoughts saying the rapidly changing pace of modern technology was profound and genuinely transforming the whole series of social relationships, political relationships and economic relationships. He went on to say this along with this transformation, the geographical distance between people was reducing. Sir Oliver said that we have yet to know whether these changes are a good or a bad thing saying, “like all such disruptive technologies it has great capacity for good…but at the same time there are genuinely huge challenges”.
Rabbi Lords Sacks was asked to comment about the leadership we need in the public domain.
He said the elements of leadership that he finds lacking and are vitally important are the following:
- Leaders who educate
- Leaders who speak to the anxieties of the age
- Leaders who engage with the public; understanding solutions come through working together rather than simply offering all the solutions themselves
- Leaders who are great story tellers; able to construct an inspiring narrative that explains a generation to itself
Rabbi Lord Sacks finished by saying, “politics is not managerial; society is not simply a hotel…there is something bigger at stake – a national identity – and a leader must be felt to be in touch with the public he or she leads.”
This event was made possible through a generous grant from the Rothschild Foundation.