The present recession of course is causing pain and difficulty throughout the community, and has affected the highly skilled almost as much as those without qualifications. It has been particularly demoralising I am sure for those who have raised their sights and been successful in Further and Higher Education, only to find that employment opportunities are still depressingly scarce.
For some reason this evening, I feel a little bit older than I actually am and also deeply honoured and extremely touched that any of you should even consider electing me, and I shan't ask whether it was unanimously or not, to the position of President of the British Medical Association. I can't thank you enough.
Economists have started (at long last!) to grapple with the concept of sustainability, to question the way in which our national accounts are assessed, in order to value our natural resources, and to contemplate new market instruments to encourage changes in human behaviour.
I would like the students to appreciate that there are certain timeless values which we can learn from the past, and apply to the future.
It is a great privilege that you have granted us the use of the Villa Lante, and I am enormously grateful to the President, the Prime Minister, and the Italian Government, for their generosity.
Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to end by suggesting that any vision of a better future for people who are afflicted by mental illness must have its roots in a better understanding of mind and body, and in values that go far beyond the material. We will build a better future for the mentally ill because we know what 'better' means, and it means radical change in society's assumptions.
Here in Britain, we seem to get it wrong almost before we have begun. In France, Italy and Belgium, every child under five receives nursery education from the state. Here, less than half of our children have that right.
Sustainability and stewardship are not new objectives in farming; they are thoroughly traditional objectives, and well tried and tested in the process. We can still attain them today, but only if they are made absolutely central to farming policy. Bolt-on extras, whether for greenery, food quality or other social responsibilities simply won't work.
Nationally and internationally, this really is a time of great challenges for your industry and I do look forward, ladies and gentlemen, to keeping in touch with your activities as much as possible, through the Institution and by making further visits to see some of the many interesting and worthwhile things you are all doing.
Now it is not often that you can get the professors, the press, and the mandarins to agree. So I was surprised as I was delighted to find that they all agreed on the practical success of the pilot projects, and suggested new ideas for taking the initiative forward.