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Review: Robert Winston, King's Lyn Festival




One of the songs that has stayed with me from my youth is D’Ream’s Things Can Only Get Better.

It may have been tainted in some eyes by its association with Tony Blair and New Labour, but its title was the only expression that seemed appropriate after the opening of Robert Winston’s Guildhall talk last night.

To go to an event and be told by its main speaker that you really shouldn’t be there because the subject matter is pretty depressing surely means the only way is up.

Lord Robert Winston keynote speech at Ely Cathedral as part of its Science Festival . Picture: Keith Heppell. (14269603)
Lord Robert Winston keynote speech at Ely Cathedral as part of its Science Festival . Picture: Keith Heppell. (14269603)

But the warning was well intentioned and merited. Some of the issues discussed were, frankly, horrifying and ought to be beyond the pale of any decent-minded individual.

Yet amidst the doom and horror, and after overcoming a few initial sound issues, there was a powerful, and hopeful, message.

The idea that things can be changed for the better if we, as citizens, are more deeply engaged with the issues of the day is something that has gone out of fashion in recent times, largely because of the erosion of trust in public institutions.

But, in so many ways, the evidence of its truth is demonstrated in the problems we see around us.

Given that his talk coincided with the handing over of political power, I couldn’t help thinking that it was our speaker who really should have been moving into Downing Street.

Allister Webb



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