More About David Howell

The Rt Hon Lord Howell of Guildford acted as policy adviser to Edward Heath in the 1960s and was Director of the Conservative Political Centre. In the late 1970s he became head of Margaret Thatcher's speech-writing team. He served as Minister of State in Northern Ireland, under William Whitelaw, from 1972 to 1974, at the height of the troubles, before going on to serve as Secretary of State for Energy & Secretary of State for Transport in the first Thatcher Cabinet. In 2010 he was enrolled as Minister of State at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office with special responsibilities for the Commonwealth and for international energy issues. This made him not only the only person to have served in the three administrations of Heath, Thatcher and Cameron, but also the only Minister on record to have ‘come back’ after a 27-year break. Until 2002 he was Chairman of the UK-Japan 21st Century Group (the high level bilateral forum between leading UK & Japanese politicians, industrialists & academics), which was first set up by Margaret Thatcher & Yasuhiro Nakasone in 1984. Along with a multitude of other roles, he is currently President of the Royal Commonwealth Society, Chairman of the Windsor Energy Group and most recently, chairman of the newly set-up House of Lords Committee for International Relations.

David Howell has something of a track record in forecasting developments long in advance, and helping to pioneer thinking on the major issues of our times. Thus, in the Heath era he was the first to call for a ‘New Style of Government’, which would begin to unwind the UK’s swollen state activities and liberalise the corporatist state. In the emerging Thatcher era he introduced the privatisation concept to the UK political scene (as chronicled by both the late Lord Howe and by Lord Lawson in their memoirs). In the later 1990s and early 21st century he one of the first to draw political attention to what he called ‘Easternisation’ and the fast-rising role of Asia, as well as to importance to the UK of the new Commonwealth network. He has all along championed the importance of the UK-Japan relationship. In 2013 he chaired the ground-breaking Lords Report on soft power, called Persuasion And Power In The Modern World, seeking a new mindset amongst the UK’s foreign policymakers. He is now persistently drawing attention to tomorrow’s central significance in international affairs of platform, blockchain and big date technologies and their huge implications for the UK’s whole future. He is the author of numerous political pamphlets and books with notable impact, on energy, politics, The Commonwealth, innovation and the Internet:

  • Freedom & Capital (Blackwell 1982)

  • Blind Victory (Hamish Hamilton 1986)

  • The Edge of Now (Macmillan 2001)

  • Out of the Energy Labyrinth - co-written with Carole Nakhle - (I B Tauris 2008)

  • Old Links & New Ties: Power & Persuasion in an Age of Networks (I B Tauris 2014)

  •  Empires in Collision: (The Green Versus Black Struggle For Our Energy Future) (Gilgamesh 2016)

  • The Commonwealth Transformed (2018).

  • The Mother of all Networks: (Britain and the Commonwealth in the 21st Century) (Gilgamesh 2018)

Born in 1936 David Howell was educated at Eton and King's College, Cambridge


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