Involve staff in layoff plan to ease feelings

In the last few months I have come across numerous examples of employees who, as a result of a planned restructuring of the organisation in which they work, feel they will be losing out.

They expect to suffer from woes such as diminished seniority, influence, control and prestige — even redundancy, while more practically also worrying about reduced earnings and cramped career prospects.

Why does restructuring occur? It can be because of new market circumstances or technology requirements, and so the need for different skills and attitudes; it can flow from mergers and acquisitions, or just from new leaders with different preferences (hopefully not simply wanting to make their presence felt or to fill key positions with loyalists).

These upheavals can result in a wider or narrower geographical presence, increased or reduced staff numbers, and many other consequences too, all tumbling around together. Then, the larger an organisation becomes the greater the need for multiple reporting relationships within intricate matrix structures; and also for temporary work groups that can respond with agility to new opportunities and challenges.

Inevitably, salary structures and incentive schemes must be revised to align with these changes.

So much volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity: the VUCA thing! No wonder it leaves many perplexed and frustrated. While the fear of impending loss may be misplaced, either way how the people feel is real, and for some the loss may indeed be significant. So like with the loss of loved ones, they will journey through the well-defined stages of grieving: from denial to acceptance to mourning… and hopefully to eventual healing.

People react differently when dealing with loss. Demoralised and demotivated, some may withdraw, perhaps sulk, but not always obviously. The angry and aggressive will resist the new situation, fight back, protest, perhaps sabotage it and disrupt those around them, suppliers and others. Others will rise to the occasion, go with the flow and become reluctant heroes to their bosses and others.

So how can one overcome people’s feelings of loss? How can they be helped to come to terms with it, sacrificing their immediate wellbeing? And how can their bosses and colleagues work with them to mitigate the consequences of these losses? Do they show sympathy? Offer support?

The first requirement from their superiors is to recognise that in any reshuffle there are likely to be losers. Identify who they are, and accept the reality of how they feel. Then find ways of comforting and compensating them.

One company with which I am familiar is planning a restructuring thanks to the ongoing growth of its branch network, and is doing so in a highly participative way. As part of a strategy review meeting of the board and top management, those leading the teams whose jobs will be affected were tasked with proposing how the new structure may look. Brainstorming followed at the meeting, in which the pros and cons of the alternatives were assessed and consensus built around one.

In another organisation I have also been impressed by the leaders, who inspired many of their people to make short-term sacrifices in order to strengthen their personal longer-term prospects while building a more robust future for the whole entity.

The “losers” who perform most nobly today will be duly rewarded in the rosier times ahead, while graceless grumblers will either drop out or be asked to leave.

Much of the stress that accompanies restructuring is caused by a transfer of sales prospects from one part of a company to another. For example, larger projects may be moved to specialised head-office functions, with those in branch offices losing out. So can the branch people still play a role, benefiting from at least a share of such revenues and of the accompanying bonuses?

So my plea is simple. Not because a leader should be “nice”, but in order to keep the workforce together as a cohesive and motivated team, do consider ways of reaching an adequacy of win-win – particularly for those who would otherwise become unhappy and thus less productive losers.

Leadership character can be used positively to empower others

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to be a panelist on NTV’s am Live Friday morning Leadership Forum, and when anchor Debarl Inea told me the theme would be “Leadership Character” I began thinking about how to fill the few minutes I would be given within the programme to present on the subject.

My mind immediately went to the World Cup football match between Colombia and England I had watched a few days before, in which the Colombian players behaved with uninhibited aggression against their opponents, not least when English players looked like striking at goal.

Yellow card followed yellow card, and then a penalty was awarded against the spoilers, showing them that their inability to hold back from manhandling the English players did not pay.

Thanks to the presence of the referee, and hence to bad character being penalised, the more restrained English carried the day. Then, as I drove to Nation Centre for the early morning show, even at that pre-dawn hour I encountered numerous examples of rude driving, and not just by matatus. Gratuitously ignoring priority, lane discipline or any kind of courtesy, wherever such road-hogs saw the opportunity to jump ahead of others they took it, with no second thought.

So finding the strength to hold back from doing the wrong thing became the mantra for my slot about what it takes to be of good character. The next examples I talked about that morning were positive ones, first about the faculty at KCA University.

Just the day before, as chairman of its University Council, I had told the Commission for University Education committee carrying out their five-year audit about how our staff have launched numerous initiatives to become really lean, making great sacrifices in time and money, taking more courses with no extra pay, understanding it was to build a stronger future for the university and for themselves.

They showed great character, as did the university leadership in leading the way and inspiring them to such mature behaviour.

Next I went back to my time as general manager of a British IT multinational in the late seventies, when my mzungu bosses expected me to be the feared macho manager, the Big Man who gave instructions and whose word was law. Somehow, I found the strength to defy them by trusting my people, empowering and supporting them, against the inclinations of my superiors… who therefore saw me as “weak and indecisive”.

Rising to the national level I hammered the kind of win-lose leadership character embraced by the likes of Trump and Turkey’s Erdogan, leaders who lack the strength to hold back from stirring up their bases against “the other”… an approach likely to end up in lose-lose.

I contrasted these disrupters to win-win consensus-builders such as Obama, Trudeau and Macron, who bring their people together around a higher purpose and shared uplifting values. I also praised our local “Handshake” duo, while condemning all our politicians who take the easy way to electoral victory by appealing to ethnic loyalties and treating their supporters “generously”. These supporters meanwhile are fully aware of who would make the better leader, the one who would bring development and improve services. But most lack the strength to hold back from casting their vote for an ethnic posturer, and a cash-spreading one at that.

I concluded by reading the quotation by Henry Ford from the back page of the day’s Business Daily that ‘Quality means doing it right when no one is looking’. (As, by coincidence, was previewed earlier by my fellow panelist Gituro Wainaina.) I and my fellow panelists agreed that it is the leaders above all who must find the strength to hold back from doing the wrong thing, and it is they who must inspire others to do so – ensuring there are rewards for behaving with good character and penalties for falling short.

Around the time I was writing this article I watched a CNN programme on Washington DC in which this quote from Abraham Lincoln featured: ‘Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.’ Including testing their power to hold back from doing the wrong thing.

Monitoring, evaluating… and then what?

This is an article I wrote for ‘UN Special’, a magazine published by the UN for civil servants.

Click here (link will open in a new window).

Book review: NEW TOME: A journey through Ethiopian churches

And here’s a link to one of my book reviews which was recently published in the East African:

Click here (link will open in a new window).

Write more like you talk to get the message across

When I came to Kenya in the late seventies I was struck by how very differently people here wrote from the way I had been used to in the UK. It was as though I had journeyed back in time to the Edwardian or even Victorian eras of stiffness and formality.

As I wondered why the way I had been brought up to write was so much more relaxed, I same across how “Commercial English” was taught in schools and colleges.

Just as at occasions where formal speeches are delivered, everything was (and to a large extent still is) about being “proper” and observing “protocol”. Never mind among lawyers in court, with their horse-hair wigs and their white bands instead of ties.

No wonder bolder speech-givers, not wishing to waste time, now open with the “All protocols observed” short cut… except that too many still only do so after already having recognised a long list of dignitaries present. (At my cheekiest I have taken this further by launching speeches with “No protocols observed”.)

The formalised writing style is perhaps at its most stultified in minute-writing, as those taking them too often prize convoluted elegance over meaningful, punchy reports.

I experienced a classic case of such “proper” minutes following a recent council committee meeting of a state body of which I have been a council member.

The minutes were presented at the full council that followed, with all the statutory requirements fulfilled but with nothing of the robust brainstorming that had dominated the proceedings included: all that was important had been ignored, leaving only empty expressions of compliance.

In a session on effective written communication I ran a few weeks ago at the Aga Khan University Graduate School of Media and Communications I asked the participants how alive their writing was. “How different is the way you write from the way you talk?” I posed, and not surprisingly the reactions were overwhelmingly that their writing was indeed very different, requiring so much more effort.

I then introduced my central message, urging them to write much more like how they talked, to think about dictating what they would otherwise have said: to write conversationally, as though it were a transcript. And for this to happen it was essential that they unlearned what they had been taught in school and college about what was “proper” English.

Here I quoted novelist Elmore Leonard, who claimed: “If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.” And a further thought came from another novelist, Ray Bradbury: “Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way.” Tell a story, I suggested in my last column, which means have your narrative flow, with a good beginning, middle and end.

Next I turned to my experience as an editor, where (particularly for those with “at least a Master’s degree”) I help them simplify their language, using short words in short sentences in short paragraphs. Another quote helped me on my way, from Churchill: “Short words are best.”

I couldn’t have put it more clearly! I talked about using verbs more interesting than “have” and “get”, about keeping to the active rather than passive forms, and I encouraged them to occasionally pose questions that they then answer. Oh, and to sort out the difference between colons and semi-colons.

Not just here, too many people merely aim for adequacy in their writing – more so in this age of texting and tweeting. It’s just to get the basics of a message across, with no thought of quality.

Others, though, feel disrespected if they receive scruffy writing that hasn’t been Spellchecked or proof-read. So as we rush out our texts, whether on our laptops or our phones, it pays to pause and read through what you have written – and not just once. I don’t know about you, but I am frequently surprised by some typo or other issue that had escaped by notice till that extra perusal.

My concluding advice for those at my session was to “Write, write write; keep getting better; and be proud of what you have created.”

Greek philosopher Epictetus put it well: “If you want to be a writer, write.”

Marking a milestone by gleaning lessons from art of storytelling

In my last column I wrote about a storytelling event I co-hosted, and today I hold on to that theme in this my 300th Business Daily article. For as I looked back over the 11 years my column has been running, it occurred to me that what I have actually been doing each fortnight is telling a story.

However old storytelling may be, it is receiving new focus as a powerful but much neglected element of leadership. For instance, in the “Voice of Leadership” programme I conducted with Martin Oduor for the Aga Khan University Graduate School of Media and Communication (in partnership with the Harvard Kennedy School) we included a half-day on the subject, and it was also the theme of one of our webinars.

During that webinar I talked about the President’s Round Table with the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (Kepsa) I attended in May. The President, Cabinet Secretaries, PSs and other senior government officials were in the room, plus 40 private sector leaders, and it lasted from noon till after six in the evening with no break.

I described how the various speakers told their stories: from the private sector, they advocated for government initiatives that would create a more enabling environment for business, and in return they committed to creating more jobs, exports and the like; and from the government side they explained what was and was not possible.

Guided for much of the day by the President, consensus was then built around agreed actions and outcomes.

My questions to those tuned in to the webinar were “How would you have performed?” and “How would you have prepared in advance?” But they were not there. So how, I asked, will they prepare and perform at the next high level meeting at which they will be presenting, responding or chairing?

Will they, like some did at State House, talk too fast? Be reading their script so they will hardly make eye contact with those they are addressing? Will they hold the microphone too near to or too far from their mouths, or will they allow their voices to project clearly? Will they go on for too long, with too much detail and making too many points, some off target?

Will they make too many requests, insufficiently accompanied by persuasive offers? Or will what they seek be reasonable, and balanced by powerful, credible offers, thus ensuring win-win business cases? Will they show emotional intelligence in how they engage? Or come across as whiners and moaners, as defensive and bureaucratic, crumbling when challenged to strengthen their case?

Will their visual aids strengthen their case, or act as visual distractions? Will their story align with those of their colleagues, as part of an integrated team offering practical proposals and solutions? If the need arises will they protect a subordinate, support a superior? And if they are chairing a session, will they drive the priority agenda, building consensus, summarising succinctly and managing time?

In my State House story, I praised the man whose great leadership inspired and motivated us all: the President. He raised us to a higher level, around a common national vision and healthy values; he allocated work to his own people and to us in the private sector; he called a spade a spade, stimulating the needed difficult conversations and building consensus around agreed stretch targets; and by differentiating between technical and non-technical issues he guided the conversations appropriately.

Many, on both sides, learned important lessons that day, and next time all will be better prepared. They will, I hope, rehearse and role play, so making the best use of the precious time available.

As part of my preparation for helping others to be powerful storytellers – and hence influential leaders – I read The Storyteller’s Secret by Carmine Gallo, author of Talk Like TED. If you are a leader at any level, do yourself a favour and read it too. Also watch Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu present with impact. You may not agree with everything he says, but he certainly tells his stories with supreme mastery.

Meanwhile, I look forward to telling more of my stories in this column, and I wish you well as you tell yours.

The necessary evil that is compliance

My colleague Frank Kretzschmar and I have been hosting our story-telling Leaders Circles for 12 years. The theme for our most recent event was “The Necessary Evil of Compliance”, a topic increasingly in the forefront of our minds.

Yes, we did include “necessary” before “evil”, acknowledging that, as former Deputy US Attorney-General Paul McNulty put it, “If you think compliance is expensive, try non-compliance”.

We began by sharing what the theme meant to us, noting that where there is high trust we can be more flexible with compliance.

Everyone must comply with national laws and regulations, we readily agreed, but within organisations with healthy cultures there is scope for making judgements, while keeping a balance between trust and compliance among broader stakeholders.

These days much more work must be done on compliance and integrity matters. It’s like a fashion, said one participant, with audits sometimes carried out in a spirit of suspicion, as “investigations” that assume something is wrong.

It can make you defensive, lead to feelings of bitterness, and an erosion of trust. You know you didn’t do anything wrong, but did you miss something? Life becomes impossible when “Compliance Jihadists” are on the job, “dangerous purists”, we heard.

On the other hand though, one must certainly not be too trusting, and pain can come from relaxing emphasis on compliance, as others related.

One participant, having introduced a regime of strict submission of weekly management accounts, so trusted his people that he relaxed the discipline, later to discover that substantial fraud was taking place.

So compliance is indeed a necessary evil where there is no prevailing culture of integrity. As another of our leaders was once told, “If your audits are not revealing problems they’re probably not doing their jobs properly.”

But compliance can lead to lost opportunities too. In his legitimate efforts to reduce his debtors, a manager in one of the organisations represented so tightened credit that he began losing business.

Here we were reminded of Peter Drucker’s experience, that “people who don’t take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year, while those who do make a similar number.”

What still must be handled is impunity: why do we need so many speed bumps here — why not just put up speed limit signs, as happens elsewhere? We know the answer to that: because they would be ignored.

Two of our leaders went to the UK to study, and there they learned about a different code of conduct, making them ethical and complaint in entirely new ways, some that were hard to practice back here.

I talked about the over-specification of procurement Terms of Reference that make comparisons between competitors more straightforward but reduce bidders to commodity providers who compete merely on price.

It precludes the possibility of offering alternatives that may be better or more innovative, risking compliance becoming the enemy of excellence.

And another said there were too many examples of opportunities lost as a result of having had to comply with some conformity. It’s what turns the dynamic to the stale, breeding timidity unless someone has the guts to raise the red flag. Such situations can arise within the family too, he added, and also in religions, leading to fundamentalism.

Then, we must beware of seeing board members as people who merely provide oversight and ensure compliance. Not enough to add value through offering strategic and innovative thinking, inspiring and motivating, acting as champions and ambassadors.

As a result, CEOs too feel the pressure to comply. One such, we were told, had done a great job in the UK of developing learning, growing leaders, helping them accept that sometimes they had to be non-compliant in order to deliver the best product, is no longer in such a position… and is really glad he is no longer there.

We did however acknowledge that we have seen significant benefits of many compliance initiatives, not least through the introduction of technology — as with fairer tax collection, through PINs, the iTax and the e-Citizen system.

Our conclusion? Have enough but not too much compliance. Above all though, do the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not.

It’s futile to stand in the way of new technology

Ah, new technology: it threatens and disrupts. It always has and it always will. In 19th century England a group of textile workers known as Luddites destroyed weaving machines to protest against their “fraudulent and deceitful” use that was designed, they alleged, to get round the then labour practices.

Luddites feared that the time spent learning the skills of their craft would go to waste as machines would replace them, and over time the term Luddites has come to mean being opposed to new technologies in general.

Another example of “Luddism” comes back to me from my early days in the IT industry in the 1960s and ’70s, when trade unions in many countries aggressively opposed the introduction of computers because they were going to destroy large numbers of jobs – in this case white collar ones.

In 1980s Kenya this was manifested through the imposition of a combined import duty and sales tax of 143 per cent on computers, as they were branded “labour-saving devices”.

The longstanding battle between the unions representing workers in the local tea industry and the tea companies who employ them over the introduction of tea-plucking machines is a further example of the inconvenient meeting the inevitable.

What led me to think about these examples of resisting new technologies is reading The Upstarts by Brad Stone, about how companies like Uber and Airbnb are changing the world.

Stone, the author of The Everything Store – an earlier book on the rise of Amazon – describes in gripping detail how a few extraordinary individuals, filled with creativity and vision, energy and ambition, defiance and obstinacy, have redefined the transport and hospitality industries. Do get hold of The Upstarts (available at the Yaya Centre Bookstop) and follow the roller-coaster ride of the movers and shakers of Uber and of airbnb as breakthrough after breakthrough was followed by setback after setback, in city after city around the world, to the point where now their presence has become accepted as the new normal.

In Kenya our cab drivers launched protests against the Uber phenomenon, and as everywhere else we worried about fairness and about compliance with regulations (now quaintly outdated). We pondered over how the benefits of the mobile-based app should be spread between Uber, its drivers, its passengers and KRA. As we did regarding airbnb and the players in their ecosystem.

In among these weighty issues lies the leadership challenge of how to help the victims of new technology, in whichever century, to deal with and overcome loss, even as others enjoy the benefits of the new paradigm.

So while I love just pressing a few keys on my mobile phone to have a super-friendly low-cost Uber driver pick me up in just a few minutes, I mourn for the old-style cab drivers whose hitherto secure income streams have all but dried up.

No wonder Yellow Cab drivers in New York have been committing suicide, and no wonder hotel owners are pulling their hair out in frustration. In this era of the most rapid, transformative and unpredictable change we have ever witnessed, the underlying long-term leadership challenge is to prepare those they lead to be flexible and agile, able to let go of existing paradigms and to competently and confidently leap into new ones.

This of course must start at the earliest age possible, and it must never fade. It’s good that Kenya’s leaders have got the message, resulting in such strategic initiatives as our new Curriculum Framework, the boosting of technical and vocational training, the dramatic review of the role of universities and the major emphasis on acquiring and using digital skills.

In Kenya, thanks to unusually high levels of energy and curiosity, more of us are able to deal with the challenges of disruption than happens in many other countries. However, very much including in the Western world, far too many are left behind as they lack the skills and attitudes necessary for filling the emerging jobs available in the modern world.

So as we focus on the government’s “Big Four” in the context of our Vision 2030, we must support those who are already fit for purpose and also help those who are not to be so.

NCIC does more work than what comes to surface

A month ago I was privileged to attend the launch of Alice Wairimu Nderitu’s book on national cohesion and integration, Kenya, Bridging Ethnic Divides. Ms Nderitu was a founding Commissioner of the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC), and before and since she has enjoyed a distinguished career promoting the cause of cohesion and integration, in Kenya, Nigeria and elsewhere.

The chief guest at the launch was Dr Fred Matiang’i, the Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Interior, and in his remarks he said that if he were still at the Ministry of Education he would have ensured the book was made standard reading at all the teacher training colleges, adding that he would recommend to his colleague that this be so.

Let me go further: in my view every Kenyan owes it to themselves to read this book. Not just Kenyans, but all those who seek a richer understanding of how ethnic tensions come about and sometimes get out of hand, and how thoughtful, purposeful people like Ms Nderitu, her colleagues in the NCIC and others set about identifying the root causes of the problem and seeing how to build a more cohesive and integrated society in which everyone can grow and prosper.

The NCIC is largely known for going after those who utter hate speech. But this is just the visible tip of their cohesion nurturing iceberg – the one the media relishes, as it is usually prominent politicians who are put on the spot by the commission.

Being taken behind the scenes by this former NCIC commissioner is therefore particularly valuable, as it reveals the almost unknown mass of the NCIC iceberg.

She writes eloquently about Kenya’s two-steps-forward, two-steps-backward history of ethnic relations (a great summary of the country’s past, from colonial and even pre-colonial times onward); about the build-up to the formation of this, the only permanent independent commission to have been formed following the 2008 post-election violence; about how they dug into their subject, consulting widely and evolving strategies to move Kenya forward on a more sustainable basis; and about how they have been engaging at all levels in our society and in all corners of the republic to move us forward.

At the launch Ms Nderitu told us that when she was a commissioner with NCIC what drove her was to make a difference. She talked about the establishment of the District Peace Committees, designed to provide early warnings of unrest, leading to swift responses. “We knew violence was coming,” she remembers being told, “but we didn’t know whom to tell.”

She recognised what a painful topic ethnicism is, and drew attention to the need to develop facilitators who can bring people together – from the youngest age.

During her time with NCIC I supported the commission in various ways, so I know from personal experience how serious she and her colleagues were, and how many quiet initiatives they undertook. It is indeed in the nature of such work that to be effective much of it must take place behind the scenes, and so to read about it now is the more necessary. Their successors too, the current team, are equally assumed by many to be little more than “The Hate Commission”, and it is an equally unjustified jibe.

Rev. Dr. Samuel Kobia was the opening speaker at the launch, and he commented that “writing is a spiritual discipline that clarifies the mind and processes confusing emotions,” adding that “a difficult day can be redeemed by writing about it.”

Reading too can serve such a purpose, although probably more mildly. So I conclude by urging everyone to indulge in the spiritual discipline of reading every page of Kenya, Bridging Ethnic Divides, and through doing so to process your confusing emotions.

But however necessary, that remains insufficient. To reach the necessary readers must not only conclude that Kenya’s ethnic divides have so sadly held Kenya back from fulfilling its potential.

We must not only decide to reach out to “the other” in and beyond our communities. We must influence others to do so. Not least our politicians, so they can seek votes and enjoy power through different paradigms.

My selection of speeches that shaped history

The Penguin Book of Modern Speeches (available at Text Book Centre and maybe elsewhere locally) reproduces a fascinating collection of speeches that have influenced history, and today I write about two among them.

The first, delivered in 1960 to the South African Parliament by then British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, was about the “winds of change” that were blowing through Africa, spelling out Britain’s intended withdrawal as a colonial power in Africa and seeking to sway white South Africans towards abandoning apartheid.

Before he delivered the speech, Mr Macmillan went on a six-week African tour that ended in South Africa. There he met with Prime Minister Verwoerd and tried to explain the need for change brought about by the two world wars.

Some saw the policy outlined in Macmillan’s speech – which he knew his audience would find unacceptably inconvenient – as an abdication by Britain of Africa and the abandonment of the white settlers. Even among the black nationalists there was an ambiguous reaction.

They had been prevented from meeting Mr Macmillan and at first were skeptical about his speech. But even at the time Nelson Mandela thought it was positive, and when he spoke to the British parliament in 1996 he referred to the address.

Albert Luthuli agreed with Mr Mandela, stating that Mr Macmillan had given Africans inspiration and hope.

When Mr Macmillan ended his speech a shocked Mr Verwoerd immediately responded, saying that “there must not only be justice to the black man in Africa, but also to the white man”.He said the Europeans there had no real other home, and that they provided a strong defence against Communism.

British Conservatives also felt betrayed by Mr Macmillan’s speech and Lord Kilmuir, a member of Mr Macmillan’s Cabinet, complained that “few utterances in recent history have had more grievous consequences,” adding that “in Kenya the settlers spoke bitterly of a betrayal”.

And hardline imperialist Lord Salisbury felt that European settlers in Kenya, alongside the African population, “would prefer to be under imperial rule regardless”.

The second speech I have selected was given in Birmingham in 1968, exactly 50 years ago, by British MP Enoch Powell, who forecast a terrible future for Britain thanks to what he saw as the excessive immigration into the country – including of Asians from Kenya.

Mr Powell’s became known as the “Rivers of Blood” speech, an allusion to a line from Virgil’s Aeneid that he quoted: “As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding; like the Roman, I seem to see the River Tiber foaming with much blood.

”It caused a political storm, and led to his dismissal from the Shadow Cabinet by Conservative Party leader Edward Heath, who said it was “racialist in tone and liable to exacerbate racial tensions”.In the speech Mr Powell recounted a conversation with one of his constituents, who said to Mr Powell: “In this country in 15 or 20 years’ time the black man will have the whip hand over the white man.”

In 1960, Mr Macmillan was trying to help the white South Africans – as well as the many conservative supremacists among his own people in Britain – to come to terms with letting go of what they had previously enjoyed and taken for granted.

The situation was no longer tenable, and to reach a longer term sustainability it was clear they would need to accept significant shorter term losses.

Then in 1968, Mr Powell previewed the fears being expressed by Donald Trump today. Mr Powell’s language was infinitely more elegant than that of America’s President, but they both play to the same fear of loss.

The difference is that while Mr Macmillan was confronting the fears of the elite, Mr Powell and Mr Trump capitalised on those of people much lower down the social and economic ladders.

Even today the issues raised in the two speeches are far from fully resolved. Ever since, leaders like Mr Macmillan have sought to uplift those they sought to influence by adopting higher principles that lead to inclusive societies where citizens can rise from a state of dependence to one of full participation in society, while others like Mr Powell allow people to dream of holding on to untenable pasts.

For sure we must support and strengthen the former, and condemn the latter.