Prime Ministers should stay in office for no more than ten years or eight years if the Fixed Term Parliament Act is changed from five to four years, according to former Foreign Secretary Lord David Owen. He believes limitation would curb the hubristic behaviour of Prime Ministers who become intoxicated with power. Speaking at a conference on Leadership: Stress & Hubris on 17 November, hosted by the Daedalus Trust and the Division of Occupational Psychology of the British Psychological Society, Lord Owen outlined his Private Member’s Bill, introduced in the House of Lords on 11 November, to provide for a maximum limitation related to the period during which a Prime Minister can hold office of two terms of Parliament under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011. For a full copy of the Bill and the Explanatory Notes please click links below..
Speech (with video) by Lord Owen at SOL Global Forum, May 2014, Paris
How to curb the hubris or narcissism of leaders, without them losing other essential characteristics of leadership has exercised many minds over the last few centuries. It is not just a subject that fascinated the Greeks. John Adams, one of the famous Founding Fathers of America, who helped draft the Independence Constitution, in A Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law, written in August 1765, wrote about “a general knowledge among the people” which he believed meant “they have a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefensible divine right to the most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge. I mean the character and conduct of their leaders”…
To read more and view the video please click here
Speech by Lord Owen in The House of Lords, 16 October 2014
My Lords, I have been involved in business in Russia since 1995—mainly with a steel firm in Stary Oskol, some 600 kilometres south of Moscow—because I believed then and believe now that through business relations we will best establish good relations between the United Kingdom and Russia. I have also been a very strong believer in the Budapest memorandum, which relates to the subject of this debate, feeling it absolutely essential that countries which give up nuclear weapons should be strongly supported and feel that they have some form of military guarantee. It is of course nowhere near as strong as an Article 5 NATO agreement. I agree with what the noble Baroness, Lady Williams, said just now: it is a great mistake to expand NATO to either Georgia or Ukraine. We were advised about this many years ago by George Kennan; he was completely correct…
To read the full speech please click here
Lord Owen in an interview with CNN on 1 September states the need to work with moderate Muslims in efforts to defeat ISIS; endorses Obama’s handling of the crisis and need for assembling an international coalition involving the surrounding countries as was done in the first Gulf war under President Bush Snr..
To listen to the full interview please click here
Leading public health experts have launched a consultation on a new Bill which aims to reverse the failings of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 and fully restore the National Health Service (NHS) in England as an accountable public service.
The Bill proposes to abolish competition and the purchaser- provider split, re-establish public bodies and public accountability, and restrict the role of commercial companies. It draws on some of the best examples of NHS administration over its history, retains some features of the reforms laid out in the Health and Social Care Act 2012 and would be implemented on a timescale determined by the Secretary of State.
To read the full consultation please click here
Interview with Lord Owen, GP Magazine 30 August 2014
Whatever ministers knew about the impact on practices when they decided to withdraw MPIG funding, they could not have known the direct effect on one of parliament’s most vocal and respected opponents of government health policy.
Up the road from the Jubilee Street Practice in Tower Hamlets, east London, which has spearheaded the campaign against MPIG cuts, is the famous Limehouse residence of David Owen.
Lord Owen of the City of Plymouth – former neurological and psychiatric registrar, Labour health secretary and foreign secretary, and leader of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) – has been a patient at Jubilee Street Practice since 1965…
To read the full interview please click here
Article by Lord Owen, published in The Guardian 26 August 2014
If the presidents of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine meet as planned in Minsk tomorrow, it will inevitably recall the time leaders of those same republics met to dissolve the USSR at the Belavezha hunting lodge in Belarus on 8 December 1991.
Then, the key figure was the president of the Russian Federation, Boris Yeltsin. Now it is Vladimir Putin. In 1991, George HW Bush was still striving to keep the Soviet Union together, and he was not sure which way Yeltsin would move. Today, Obama will be hoping for a settlement, but is very unsure of the outcome…
To read the full article please click here
Article by Lord Owen published in The Huffington Post, 1 August 2014
LONDON – Ceasefires come and go between the Israelis and Palestinians while the death toll mounts. Only the United Nations General Assembly can mobilize world opinion. Nothing else seems likely to break the deadlock. The Security Council is un- able to move because of an implicit American veto hanging over its proceedings.
The important development over Gaza is that the Americans are no longer relying on the Egyptians or Saudi Arabia to help broker a settlement, but have turned to Turkey and Qatar in despair to mediate with Hamas, the Palestinian leaders within Gaza. What can Turkey and Qatar do? They can and should urgently liaise between Fatah and Hamas on a brief outline settlement with the objective of putting its terms to the UN General Assembly where it cannot be vetoed as in the Security Council…
To read the full article please click here