Many in the Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces found his level of ambition to be intimidating. For others, his leadership style was a breath of fresh air in an otherwise stale department. Nevertheless it was this ambition, and his leadership abilities, that brought him to the very top of his profession.
It was enormously rewarding to be able to bring the British Council to work in partnership with the Society to bring the honoured Awardees to London to share their experiences with the UK and receive their awards. The British Council's mission is to build trust and understanding between the UK and the rest of the world through the sharing of knowledge, creativity and art.
Syria - the death toll reaches 93,000, the US administration says it has firm evidence of nerve gas use by the Syrian government and further says it will supply arms to the opposition. Things are moving - but towards what? The debate is focused on the arguments for and against armed intervention. I think that may well be very misleading.
Soldiers may fight wars, but it is politicians who not only start them, the politicians getting around a table and talking also finish them. In a dirty and nasty war which has cost over 35,000 people's lives, the only real way to come out with a solution to the annual cycle of fighting is to discuss it.
It is a sign of political degradation when a former national leader cannot write a piece in a Sunday newspaper, about an issue with which he is intimately involved, without attracting a huge amount of venom, by people who have either not even read the article in question, and just attack Blair for being Blair.