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Opinion CHAMBER


The official publication of Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce


LINK Cannock Chase


Chamber of Commerce


Editor’s View


By John Lamb


Championing region’s youth I


can’t remember at which stage of the lockdown it was. But I was in the office virtually on my own and our local coffee


shop was open. After ordering my drink and waiting at the


Sutton Coldfield


Chamber of Commerce


Greater Birmingham


Commonwealth Chamber of Commerce


correct social distance a customer came in with his little boy. The youngster kept looking at me but turned shyly away when I smiled and said hello. Eventually he pulled on his dad’s sleeve and


Greater Birmingham


Transatlantic Chamber of Commerce


whispered: “Daddy, is that Boris Johnson?” Now I do have fairish hair and at that time it


Front cover: Stepping up: Henrietta Brealey See page 6


Editor John Lamb 0121 274 3237, 0797 1144064 j.lamb@birmingham-chamber.com


Deputy Editor Dan Harrison 0121 274 3239, 0797 1144052 d.harrison@birmingham-chamber.com


Reporter Jessica Brookes 0750 8317356 j.brookes@birmingham-chamber.com


You can now read the latest issue of CHAMBERLINK and view back issues online at: www.greaterbirminghamchambers.com


was a long time since I’d been to the barber and it was probably a bit unruly from walking across the road. But the Prime Minister? Never surely… I said I was glad I was not him and we had a


good laugh. But I’ve remembered the incident several times as I’ve watched Mr Johnson on television and asked myself: “Who would be the PM?” Over the years, many leaders of our country


have distinguished themselves at the height of crises and others have failed miserably. Cometh the hour, cometh the man (or woman, of course)… But I can’t help feeling that Boris has been


dealt a rough deal as a man who apparently has a libertarian spirit rather than one suitable for imposing austere Covid-19 measures. I’ve never met the man, so I don’t know. Other


Published by


leaders I have met or whose company I have enjoyed have always impressed me, no matter their political colours. I was impressed with Tony Blair when he was


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Managing Editor Laura Blake Designer Lloyd Hollingworth


Advertising 0121 765 4144 jon.jones@kempspublishing.co.uk


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CHAMBERLINK is produced on behalf of Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce by Kemps Publishing Ltd and is distributed to members without charge. The Chambers and the publisher are committed to achieving the highest quality standards. While every care has been taken to ensure that the information it contains is accurate, neither the Chambers nor the publisher can accept any responsibility for any omission or inaccuracies that might arise. Views expressed in the magazine are not necessarily those of the Chambers. This publication (or any part thereof) may not be reproduced, transmitted or stored in print or electronic format without prior written permission of Kemps Publishing Ltd.


4 CHAMBERLINKApril 2021


a guest at a Chamber lunch when he was PM. But I always felt the best Prime Minster we never had was William Hague (now Baron Hague of Richmond). Some of you may remember that he was lionised by the then PM Margaret Thatcher


as the 16-year-old Hague spoke against the evils of socialism at the 1977 Tory Party conference in Blackpool. But thereafter, the Iron Lady dismissed


pressure to give Hague ministerial office as a 21- year-old MP as a gimmick. And he didn’t reach high ministerial level until he served as Foreign Secretary in David Cameron’s cabinet. I met Hague when he was resting between


political engagements and writing a biography on William Pitt the Younger. At the age of 36, Hague had become the youngest leader of the Conservative Party since Pitt. He had been hosting a Birmingham Law


Society awards evening at the ICC and myself, and another regional journalist, enjoyed a long session at the bar with him afterwards. Remember those days? This brings me to the theme of this piece –


youth. Like Hague and Pitt before him, what a joy it is to see young people stepping up to take on critical roles. Birmingham, as the youngest city in Europe, now has the youngest leader of the historic Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce in Henrietta Brealey. As they say, if you’re good enough you’re old


enough. We wish her well as she steps into the shoes of Paul Faulkner, who has had a large impact on the city region over the past six years. Business generally has a long way to go, but thankfully personnel at board and managerial in the private and even public sectors are gradually getting younger and you only have to look at the amazing array of talent in our own Future Faces division. Having said that, some of us hope that there


might still be room for a little experience for a few more years…


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