I was delighted to be invited to join the Board of Parrhesia, and I am equally pleased to take on the role of Chair. In the two formal meetings that have taken place so far, by video conference, I have been hugely impressed by the knowledge, skills and experience that my fellow members of the Board can bring to our aim of improving significantly the way in which whistleblowing is dealt with in the United Kingdom.
As a wee boy growing up in South West Scotland, I was inspired by my parents, teachers and many who had completed National Service, to “make a contribution to the society in which you live”. I embraced that approach when I joined the Army as a soldier. I loved my time in the ranks, and adopted the determination to “live to serve”. It is also fair to say that, inspired by my fellow soldiers, I soon began to enjoy and embrace the determination to “serve to lead”. That approach remained with me throughout a 37 year career in the Army, culminating in my final tour of duty as General Officer Commanding the United Kingdom 2nd Division, and Her Majesty’s Governor of Edinburgh Castle.
I retained the same approach when I transferred in to Industry, where I was again inspired by men and women who were equally committed to making an important contribution to our Society. And in more recent years, I have served on a number of charitable organisations, all of which want to support those who work hard to make a contribution, military and civilian.
Throughout this period, I have adopted a set of values and standards that I first witnessed as that wee boy in Scotland, which made it easy for me to embrace them fully when I became a soldier. Courage (both moral and physical), Discipline, Respect for Others, Integrity, Loyalty and Selfless Commitment are values that may be associated with the Armed Forces, but I have been privileged to witness precisely these values far beyond the military community. That is perhaps why, when I see such values being abused, particularly by those in authority, I want to make a contribution to any efforts that will hold these abusers to account, and, perhaps more importantly, support those who have been abused in getting real justice.
So, in living to serve, and in serving to lead, I make my commitment to all who deserve to be treated in a fairer and more honourable manner if they have chosen to speak out against wrongdoing, in any of its forms. We, Parrhesia, seek to serve you.