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The smartest guys in the room?

McKinsey & Company is an enormously successful 100-year-old brand which is a trusted adviser to the world’s largest companies, several of which are run by McKinsey alumni. But reputation, as someone once said, eats brand for lunch. For the last

Boris and Business: An unbridgeable chasm?

This week’s muddled launch of the Build Back Better Business Council as well as the flopped reception of Rishi Sunak’s “Big Bang 2” is just the latest episode in this Conservative government’s dysfunctional relationship with business that stems from a

The paradox of free speech

In The Open Society and its Enemies, Karl Popper argued that unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. Intolerant groups will use their platform to dominate public discourse and institutions to destroy tolerance. Thus free speech can only

Knowing your limits

Smart campaigning through the pandemic intertwines the fate of our pubs with that of the nation For at least 250 years, we have been warned about the dangers of excess drink. Periodic panic over the morals of a nation pickled showed

Covid Vaccines – A dose of reality

It was a moment to rival the climax of the Cuban missile crisis.  Or perhaps the declaration of victory in Europe in 1945.  In Hollywood’s hands, world leaders would have been waiting anxiously by silent telephones, and crowds would have

The Shining City Upon A Hill

Magical realism and the US election In 1630, upon reaching the shores of New England, the Puritan John Winthrop delivered a sermon which became known as “A Modell of Christian Charity”. Like other idealistic religious devotees, Winthrop crossed the Atlantic with

A weak hand

The UK gambling sector has been on a dismal losing streak.  Seemingly mired in perpetual tabloid scandal, the sector has become a byword for consumer exploitation.  Lurid headlines about children gambling, addictive products, suicides, and the appropriation of sport for

Showing your metal

For the financial services sector, which has done a middling job since the crisis in demonstrating how it has become a better corporate citizen, sustainability is an especially arduous challenge. As intermediaries, market structure providers need to persuade that their

Locked Down, Plugged In

On a Thursday in March, as I watched the UK government’s ‘Herd Immunity’ press conference, I wondered how my day-to-day might be impacted by these inexorable events. I didn’t have to wait too long to find out. That same day, my university

The Price of Freedom

Jean Paul-Sartre famously remarked that humanity is “condemned” to be free because freedom comes at the cost of being responsible for all the actions one takes. These words have might have echoed in the boardrooms of Facebook over the last

This time it’s different?

Chief executives shoring up battered finances take a new interest in retail investors The surge of retail investors into stock markets as prices tanked is one of the more unexpected results of worldwide lockdowns. From India to the US, Australiato the

F*** The Corporate

Could the anti-racist protests demonstrate a new normal that companies need to prepare for? On a call with a client this week, I witnessed a black member of the corporate communications team’s raw anger at the way her company had responded

False Idols

For an administration that once derided experts, the Government’s reliance on scientific advice through the C-19 crisis has marked a stunning revision.  Whether it’s Boris Johnson’s supplication to be ‘guided by the science’ or the flanking of ministers by the

Covid-1984

Has society been infantilised by the state’s actions during the pandemic? In his essay On Liberty, John Stuart Mill argued that the only reason state power can be rightfully exercised over another member of society against their will is to “prevent

Supermarket Sweep

In face of extraordinary operational pressures following the onslaught of Covid-19, most of the UK supermarkets have been sticking to the go-to maxim for brands in a national crisis:  “if you haven’t got anything supportive to say, don’t say it.” As