While, of course, the scale of the challenge is clearly immense – and the window of opportunity to tackle it is closing extremely fast – business leaders, working through my Sustainable Markets Initiative over the past sixteen months, have helped us develop the “Terra Carta” - a Road Map, if you like, offering practical steps on where we need to go and, crucially, how to get there.
As I am afraid I have been trying to say for several decades, unless we can actually unlock private sector resource, innovation and finance, with the public sector setting a framework of incentives and regulation, we just don’t stand a chance of solving the existential crises we have engineered over the years.
If I may say so and to paraphrase the immortal words of Sir Michael Caine – “At least I didn’t blow the bloody doors off!”
I particularly wanted to show my appreciation, as far as the British Asian Trust is concerned, as you have been able to begin a meaningful emergency appeal and actioned to ensure that oxygen concentrators have got to India and have been dispatched to rural areas, where there is a real need. Clearly, you know better than I, there is much more that is needed to be done to provide support and of course, to help build back better.
Whenever I visit this part of the world, I never cease to be profoundly moved by the work that is being done to heal the pain of the past, to bring understanding and reconciliation in the present, and to build hope for the future.
I was so enormously proud of those of you who formed part of the complement during my father’s funeral recently. If I may say so, it was a wonderful credit, not only to the Welsh Guards but also to the Household Division and all those who were on parade that day for what you all did. I know my family and I were deeply moved by the way you all performed your duties.
My wife and I could not be more delighted to be back in Greece, which has long held the most special place in my heart. After all, Greece is the land of my grandfather; and of my father’s birth, nearly one hundred years ago, in the centenary year of Greek Independence.
It has been a great pleasure, if I may say so, to meet those of you in different teams here, but also to have a chance just to hear from you your experiences and how you’ve been able to cope over the last year with this appalling pandemic, which has blighted the lives of so many people in this country.
If ever we needed an example of how to be a good Samaritan we need look no further, if I may say so. You are all playing a really signal role in the great effort that places of worship all over the country have been making at this time in supporting social action projects.