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LIVE24SEVEN // Business THOUGHT S FOR S E P T EMB E R 2 0 1 7 Digby Lord


So here I am Dear Reader, on a late July Saturday afternoon, 35,000 feet somewhere over the Arabian Desert on a flight from Singapore to LHR


Penning a few bon mots for your and (never forgetting the inherent selfishness of the writer, whatever the liberal elite might protest) my delectation.


I left Blighty a week ago and made first Asian landfall in Singapore. I chair an amazing heart stemcell research company, Celixir plc and we've just chosen Lee Kwan Yu's legacy as our 21st century Asian hub; safe, personally and financially secure, reliant on the Rule of Law, in many ways the Switzerland of the East.


Two days there and I was off to Perth in Western Australia – a shorter flight than that from Perth to Sydney). I am Chairman of the fabulous British brand, Triumph Motorcycles and whilst we export to over 100 countries, Australia (especially Perth) is a huge market for us, so I spent a couple of days banging the drum there.


Jones


I reflected on the unchanging fact that what sells (wherever you are and whatever you do) is quality, brand and innovation, not membership of any club or kow-towing to a specific group of countries. It has forever been thus.


During my Perth visit I met up with Joseph, a poor kid from the wrong side of the tracks in Western Australia who won The Thomas Edington Scholarship to study at the University of Western Australia. He insightfully told me that poverty is double-headed: obviously the dosh, but also an overwhelming, debilitating poverty of ambition and self-respect – from the mouths of babes! So bright is he that he has won a scholarship to do his post-grad at the Ivy League Princeton University in the USA. He's been studying Agricultural Science.


Another young person from a very challenged background will be helped through UWA now Joseph is finishing his three years; she starts later this year. William Gladstone said, all those decades, indeed centuries ago, that you will never set the poor free by giving them money, since you'll be forever giving them money, you will set them free by giving them an education. Some 150 years on and his words are just as true now as they were then.


Thomas Edington was my great-uncle, a Bradford mill-boy who ran away at the age of 14 (eat your collective hearts out, millennials...you haven't even got to the start line of risk, hardship & effort!). He rocked up in 1913 as a navvie on the Fremantle-Geraldton railway in Oz. He did rather well for himself, became a charge hand, married a local girl, had a couple of kids, then signed up in 1915 to serve in the 24th Western Australia Regiment and went back to "save" the Old Country and died in a trench in Baupaume in France in the summer of 1917. His name is on the Menin Gate in Ypres, the King's Park War Memorial in Perth and on the National War Memorial in Canberra.


Arrogant, pompous arses like me can only ever keep our collective feet on the deck if we hold, front and centre, stories such as those of Great-Uncle Thomas; the biggest problem in our day-to-day lives is a breeze, believe me!


So, in 2014, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War I gave a few bob to endow a Scholarship in memory of a guy I never met, who died some 40 years before I was born, but whose example, simply by living and going for it, will live with me and drive me on all my life. Hopefully it will change people's lives for the better in the city Thomas Edington called home, thousands of miles from Bradford, but welcoming and full of opportunity if you were prepared to go for it! "Making a difference" is what we're here for, I reckon.


Then onto Melbourne; I am privileged to chair Thatchers Cider (available at a store or pub near you right now). We sell a million litres of the golden stuff in Oz each year through a fabulous partner, Coopers Brewery. As Chairman I want to know why it isn't three million! A quality UK export that doesn't need the EU to succeed...eat your heart out, Remoaners!


And now it's the long haul back to Blighty. I should be back in the verdant embrace home and my lovely, long-suffering Pat by tea time Saturday...although when you throw into the pot my baggage, my head, the meal times, my ...er...bodily functions and also the light/dark change outside the aircraft window, I am tempted to ask which tea time, or indeed, which Saturday?!


Having enjoyed an excellent Mersault over lunch...er...breakfast...er dinner...followed by an even better Margaux (notice I'm not recounting the food...an irrelevance and quite forgettable!) I want to share with you an aspect of modernity which is worrying me to death and which my journey


/ 78


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