The Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House kindly hosted the Security Forward Risk & Intelligence Forum’s quarterly meeting on 10 October - giving us all an opportunity to rib Keith Holland about the Chatham House Rule(s). After roundtable introductions each participant identified issues of concern, which highlighted China and cyber security, as well as supply chain integrity. Our ‘Speaker in Residence’, Lt Col Crispin Black MBE MPhil, gave a talk entitled “Will the Mob Storm the Barricades? How Will Economic Turbulence Change the Atmosphere in the Country”. Drawing on wonderful parallels from the French Revolution and President Jackson, Crispin asked, “where is authority rooted and what is the contract with the people?” He succeeded in linking continuing British obsession with class to US economic evolution and the decline of political parties. Naturally, his thought-provoking presentation initiated a lively discussion. Some participants thought not much would tip the UK into chaos, while others felt the traditions of Great Britain were more resilient.
Our second speaker was John Deverell CBE MPhil, formerly Head of Global Security at Invensys and now Chief Executive of Keyhaven, who gave a talk entitled “Risk, Crisis and Reputation” with his colleague Stuart Leasor. Their presentation highlighted the need to know your stakeholders, both investors and employees, and to anticipate where risks will arise. Their key point was that good leadership and an agile mind can often turn things around, but preparation is better. Again, discussion was vibrant, drawing upon the wide experience of participants. Security Forward continued with its customary cocktail before dinner. The relevant cocktail seemed to be a Cuba Libre, paying homage to Crispin’s revolutionary tendencies. Conversation over dinner went on to the conclusion, and beyond. Naturally, the Chatham House Rule prevents us telling more.