As Home Secretary David was in charge of security, immigration and policing. Outside government he’s continuing to exert an influence, reviewing Labour’s education policy and helping coordinate initiatives for young long-term unemployed. In speeches David also explores the disjunction between the activities of some global companies, governments and society. Consumers can vote with their feet, but he sees a case for changes in the regulatory environment.
As Home Secretary at the time of 9/11, David Blunkett served through the most testing times. The turbulence was not confined to his political life; few senior politicians have experienced quite so many ups and downs, and none have achieved high office having been blind since birth.
After leading Sheffield City Council (described by a local Tory as ‘The People’s Republic of South Yorkshire’), David entered Parliament and held shadow portfolios in health, education and employment. Then as Labour Party Chair he became a key player in the development of New Labour – distancing himself once and for all from the ‘loony left.’
When Tony Blair came to power David was appointed Secretary of State for Education and Employment – where he launched the Learning & Skills Councils, created Job Centre Plus and oversaw the Equal Opportunities Commission and The Commission for Racial Equality, and established the Disability Rights Commission. Later as Home Secretary he took responsibility for security, immigration and policing. He also attracted controversy by introducing a raft of measures to combat the threat of terrorism.
As well as giving an insider’s view on the political landscape, David talks with authority on managing change, social responsibility and the benefits of diversity. His own story is one of overcoming considerable adversity. He is also an entertaining and surprisingly revealing after dinner speaker, with a fund of anecdotes about Labour’s years in power.
Since leaving the front bench David has continued to inform policy-making on social mobility, affordable credit and cyber security. He also devotes energy to his Future For Work Foundation, whose aim is to provide volunteering and work experience. David has published The Blunkett Tapes (sub-titled My Life in the Bear Pit), written a Sun column and appeared on Mastermind – where he chose Harry Potter as his specialist subject.
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Whatever your own political persuasion, when you listen to David you realise his conviction is utterly genuine. Add the fact that he's been blind since birth, and his achievements begin to hit home. But what might really surprise you is the warmth, the wealth of anecdotes and a delightful sense of humour. JLA Agent Jeremy Frewer
JLA Speakers Breakfast