On Wednesday 31 May, the executive editor of The Times, Lord Finkelstein, delivered our 70th anniversary Cumberland Lodge Lecture on 'The Arrow of History?'.

Speaking just ahead of the General Election on 8 June 2017, Daniel spoke for about 40 minutes on the changing political and socio-economic compass of the world we live in, both here in the UK and in Europe and North America.

‘An arrow to history’

He said: “I am not a determinist. I do not believe anything in human affairs is inevitable... I do not believe, either, that because something has happened in the past it will therefore happen again”, and he added, “I am going to argue that there has been an arrow to history and look at the direction in which it has been pointing”.

Daniel spoke about the shifting balance of power in society, and the roles of religion, technology, consumerism and environmental change in directing ‘the arrow of history’.

He also offered insights into the decision by then Prime Minister, David Cameron, to call an EU Referendum.

‘Period of great change’

And he concluded by arguing that: “The arrow of history is pointing to a political battle over globalisation, democracy and liberty, all at a time in which politics is becoming more volatile and unpredictable, and in which technology will pose moral and economic challenges that will be hard to answer.

“We have entered a period of great change and political uncertainty, in which the political and social arrangements that people have become used to are being overturned, as people alternately embrace and resist change.”

His lecture was followed by a series of questions on wide-ranging topics from members of the audience. A full recording is available on SoundCloud here

The event was chaired by the Chair of Trustees at Cumberland Lodge, Sir Stephen Wall.

Cumberland Lodge Lecture

The Cumberland Lodge Lecture series is part of our programme of charitable work to inspire leaders and influencers in society to work towards more peaceful, open and inclusive societies.

An invited audience of between 60-80 senior and public figures, including parliamentarians, academics and chief executives, and the PhD Scholars that Cumberland Lodge supports, gather to hear from a renowned speaker on a topic of national or international social importance.

On special occasions an additional lecture has been held to mark an event or anniversary of national importance, such as the Diamond Jubilee Lecture given by HRH The Princess Royal in 2012, shortly after the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Other recent speakers have included: Lord Hoffmann (former Lord of Appeal Ordinary), Professor Sir Malcolm Grant CBE (Chair of NHS England), Dame Suzi Leather (former Chair of the Charity Commission), Matthew Parris (columnist, broadcaster and former MP) and Shami Chakrabarti (now the Shadow Attorney General).