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What Were You Thinking?

Author: Laura Round

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Former political advisor Laura Round speaks to politicians, opinion formers and business leaders to find out about the experiences, people and places that have inspired them.

What motivates them? Why did they decide to do what they do? What are the most memorable and surprising situations they have found themselves in? The answer is often unexpected.

What Were You Thinking is in partnership with the Big Tent Ideas Festival, the non-partisan festival of politics, culture, technology and fresh thinking.
21 Episodes
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Laura speaks Caroline Lucas MP, former leader of the Green Party and MP for Brighton Pavilion. Caroline's route into politics was in many was a coincidental one. They talk about her journey into politics and when she started to develop a passion for the environment. What's also fascinating is how she has to operate in the House of Commons as the only MP in her party. It comes with all sorts of challenges. For starters, she does not have a whips office or other support in place that most MPs can count on.  Caroline was chosen for the Patchwork Foundation’s Judge’s Special Recognition Award. You can follow Caroline and Laura on Twitter: @CarolineLucas and @LauraRound ++ In What Were You Thinking former political advisor Laura Round speaks to politicians, opinion formers and business people to find out about the experiences, people and places that have inspired them. What motivates them? Why did they decide to do what they do? What are the most memorable and surprising situations they have found themselves in? The answer is often unexpected. This podcast is in partnership with the Big Tent Ideas Festival, the non-partisan festival of politics, culture technology and fresh thinking. Give them a follow: @BigTentIdeas And if you are looking for more content, become a friend of the Big Tent for only £6 per month. And use code PODCAST for three months for free!
Laura speaks to Dr Karin von Hippel, Director General of RUSI. Prior to this Karin worked in the US State Department for six years in Obama’s Administration, including as the Chief of Staff to General Jon Allen, who was the Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL. She has experience in over two dozen conflict zones and worked for the UN in Somalia and Kosovo. They talk about her time in the State Department and working in conflict zones, as well as the current security threats, geopolitics and Trump (yes, he gets a mention). You can follow Karin  and Laura on Twitter: @kvonhippel and @LauraRound ++ In What Were You Thinking former political advisor Laura Round speaks to politicians, opinion formers and business people to find out about the experiences, people and places that have inspired them. What motivates them? Why did they decide to do what they do? What are the most memorable and surprising situations they have found themselves in? The answer is often unexpected. This podcast is in partnership with the Big Tent Ideas Festival, the non-partisan festival of politics, culture technology and fresh thinking. Give them a follow: @BigTentIdeas And if you are looking for more content, become a friend of the Big Tent for only £6 per month. And use code PODCAST for three months for free!
This week Laura talks to Baroness Sally Morgan, Trustee of the Big Tent Ideas Foundation. She was Tony Blair's press secretary and worked in Downing Street for 8 years, Minister for Women and Equalities, chair of Ofsted, was on the Olympics Delivery Authority, and is now Master of Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge. They talk about the Iraq vote, Sinn Fein coming to Number 10 for Peace talks, the path to civil partnerships and the power of Tessa Jowell in getting the Olympics to the UK. You can follow Baroness Morgan and Laura on Twitter: @BaronessMorgan and @LauraRound  ++ In What Were You Thinking former political advisor Laura Round speaks to politicians, opinion formers and business people to find out about the experiences, people and places that have inspired them. What motivates them? Why did they decide to do what they do? What are the most memorable and surprising situations they have found themselves in? The answer is often unexpected. This podcast is in partnership with the Big Tent Ideas Festival, the non-partisan festival of politics, culture technology and fresh thinking. Give them a follow: @BigTentIdeas And if you are looking for more content, become a friend of the Big Tent for only £6 per month. And use code PODCAST for three months for free!
This week Laura talks with Preet Gill MP, Shadow of State for International Development. Preet shares how her dad and family influenced her, her experience as Shadow Secretary for International Development, Labour's views on the creation of the FCDO, COP26, and the changes in the Labour Party. Preet has been named MP of the Year in the prominent Patchwork Awards. You can follow Preet and Laura on Twitter: @PreetKGillMP and @LauraRound ++ In What Were You Thinking former political advisor Laura Round speaks to politicians, opinion formers and business people to find out about the experiences, people and places that have inspired them. What motivates them? Why did they decide to do what they do? What are the most memorable and surprising situations they have found themselves in? The answer is often unexpected. This podcast is in partnership with the Big Tent Ideas Festival, the non-partisan festival of politics, culture technology and fresh thinking. Give them a follow: @BigTentIdeas And if you are looking for more content, become a friend of the Big Tent for only £6 per month. And use code PODCAST for three months for free!
This week Laura talks with Sir Craig Oliver, former Director of Communications and Politics to the Prime Minister, David Cameron. Craig shares his experience of being 'thrown into the white water rapids' on joining Number 10, his experience of campaigning on two Referendums and the privilege of flying around the world; seeing and hearing world leaders and occasionally eating some very unusual food, plus a surprising anecdote of David Beckham. Parental Advisory. You can follow Craig and Laura on Twitter: @LauraRound and @CraigOliver100 ++ In What Were You Thinking former political advisor Laura Round speaks to politicians, opinion formers and business people to find out about the experiences, people and places that have inspired them. What motivates them? Why did they decide to do what they do? What are the most memorable and surprising situations they have found themselves in? The answer is often unexpected. This podcast is in partnership with the Big Tent Ideas Festival, the non-partisan festival of politics, culture technology and fresh thinking. Give them a follow: @BigTentIdeas And if you are looking for more content, become a friend of the Big Tent for only £6 per month. And use code PODCAST for three months for free!
In this episode, Laura talks to Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP, who is the UK International Champion on Adaptation and Resilience for the COP26 Presidency. Anne-Marie discusses her interest in defence matters, her quick turnaround from Minister for the Armed Forces to Secretary of State for International Development, the importance of COP26 and how her father influenced her life in absentia. You can follow Anne-Marie and Laura on Twitter: @annietrev and @LauraRound. ++ In What Were You Thinking former political advisor Laura Round speaks to politicians, opinion formers and business people to find out about the experiences, people and places that have inspired them. What motivates them? Why did they decide to do what they do? What are the most memorable and surprising situations they have found themselves in? The answer is often unexpected. This podcast is in partnership with the Big Tent Ideas Festival, the non-partisan festival of politics, culture technology and fresh thinking. Give them a follow: @BigTentIdeas And if you are looking for more content, become a friend of the Big Tent for only £6 per month. And use code PODCAST for three months for free!
In this episode, I talk to Anthony Mangnall MP, who was elected as Member of Parliament for Totnes in 2019. Anthony shares his thoughts on the UK and China relationship, working for William Hague, shockingly low vaccination rates in South Devon - and the conspiracy theories he's encountered, his love for constituency work and the importance of a handwritten letter. You can follow Anthony and Laura on Twitter: @AnthonyMangnal1 and @LauraRound. ++ In What Were You Thinking former political advisor Laura Round speaks to politicians, opinion formers and business people to find out about the experiences, people and places that have inspired them. What motivates them? Why did they decide to do what they do? What are the most memorable and surprising situations they have found themselves in? The answer is often unexpected. This podcast is in partnership with the Big Tent Ideas Festival, the non-partisan festival of politics, culture technology and fresh thinking. Give them a follow: @BigTentIdeas And if you are looking for more content, become a friend of the Big Tent for only £6 per month. And use code PODCAST for three months for free!
Laura speaks to Baroness Jenkin who is considered a Fairy godmother by many female Members of Parliament. In 2005 she founded Women2Win with Theresa May and she has campaigned to get more women elected ever since. They also discuss Anne’s hate of all waste, the importance of tackling obesity and what life’s like in the House of Lords. Do you know a woman who would make a great MP? Ask Her To Stand! And if you are interested in standing yourself and want to know what it involves please go to: https://5050parliament.co.uk/signuptostand/ You can follow Baroness Jenkin and Laura on Twitter: @BaronessJenkin and @LauraRound ++ In What Were You Thinking former political advisor Laura Round speaks to politicians, opinion formers and business people to find out about the experiences, people and places that have inspired them. What motivates them? Why did they decide to do what they do? What are the most memorable and surprising situations they have found themselves in? The answer is often unexpected. This podcast is in partnership with the Big Tent Ideas Festival, the non-partisan festival of politics, culture technology and fresh thinking. Give them a follow: @BigTentIdeas And if you are looking for more content, become a friend of the Big Tent for only £6 per month. And use code PODCAST for three months for free!
Laura talks with Alice Albright, CEO of Global Partnership for Education. Alice talks about the importance of education in lower income countries. They also discuss her time working for the Obama Administration and Obama's leadership. Alice is the daughter of Secretary Madeleine Albright and shares what it was like growing up with such a powerful and trailblazing mother.
Laura talks to Matt Forde, Comedian, Podcast Host and Author whose hugely entertaining new book, ‘Politically Homeless’, explores themes such as tribalism, the curse of complacency and why some politicians refuse to speak normally.  In this episode, Matt talks about inequalities in Britain, getting into politics at an early age and working for the Labour Party, and what it's like being the voices of Trump, Boris and Starmer on the new Spitting Image. He also shares anecdotes about Tony Blair’s leaving do. Not to be missed! You can follow Matt and Laura on Twitter: @mattforde and @LauraRound. ++ In What Were You Thinking former political advisor Laura Round speaks to politicians, opinion formers and business people to find out about the experiences, people and places that have inspired them. What motivates them? Why did they decide to do what they do? What are the most memorable and surprising situations they have found themselves in? The answer is often unexpected. This podcast is in partnership with the Big Tent Ideas Festival, the non-partisan festival of politics, culture technology and fresh thinking. Give them a follow: @BigTentIdeas And if you are looking for more content, become a friend of the Big Tent for only £6 per month. And use code PODCAST for three months for free!
In this episode, Laura talks to Iain Dale.  Iain is a well known political commentator and author who has recently written about why we've all become so disrespectful and intolerant. In this episode, they talk about how the media landscape has changed, what it's like interviewing Boris Johnson and what makes a good interview. Laura and Iain also discuss how we can all emerge from tribalism and division and become more respectful to each other and those who govern us. Save the bees! Support the Bee Superhighway by signing this petition: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/441928 You can follow Iain and Laura on Twitter: @IainDale and @LauraRound Iain's book is called Why Can't We All Just Get Along: Shout Less. Listen More. ++ In What Were You Thinking former political advisor Laura Round speaks to politicians, opinion formers and business people to find out about the experiences, people and places that have inspired them. What motivates them? Why did they decide to do what they do? What are the most memorable and surprising situations they have found themselves in? The answer is often unexpected. This podcast is in partnership with the Big Tent Ideas Festival, the non-partisan festival of politics, culture technology and fresh thinking. Give them a follow: @BigTentIdeas And if you are looking for more content, become a friend of the Big Tent for only £6 per month. And use code PODCAST for three months for free!
In this episode  Laura is joined by Ruth Smeeth, Former Labour MP and CEO of Index on Censorship. Ruth talks championing free speech and the rise or "Cancel Culture", her battles with the Labour leadership under Corbyn to combat anti-Semitism within the party and toxicity in politics today. You can follow Ruthand Laura on Twitter: @RuthSmeeth and @LauraRound ++ In What Were You Thinking former political advisor Laura Round speaks to politicians, opinion formers and business people to find out about the experiences, people and places that have inspired them. What motivates them? Why did they decide to do what they do? What are the most memorable and surprising situations they have found themselves in? The answer is often unexpected. This podcast is in partnership with the Big Tent Ideas Festival, the non-partisan festival of politics, culture technology and fresh thinking. Give them a follow: @BigTentIdeas And if you are looking for more content, become a friend of the Big Tent for only £6 per month. And use code PODCAST for three months for free!
Former political adviser Laura is joined by Rory Stewart OBE, best selling author, former Cabinet Minister and Senior Fellow at the Jackson Institute, Yale. They discuss the experiences, places and people that have inspired his thinking. Rory talks about his journey into politics, and in turn his high profile departure from politics; his 6,000 mile walk across Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India and Nepal; his experiences as Africa for Minister and Secretary of State for International Development; and the UK failing prison system.   You can follow Rory and Laura on Twitter: @RoryStewartUK and @LauraRound Edited and Produced by Alex Graham ++ In What Were You Thinking former political advisor Laura Round speaks to politicians, opinion formers and business people to find out about the experiences, people and places that have inspired them. What motivates them? Why did they decide to do what they do? What are the most memorable and surprising situations they have found themselves in? The answer is often unexpected. This podcast is in partnership with the Big Tent Ideas Festival, the non-partisan festival of politics, culture technology and fresh thinking. Give them a follow: @BigTentIdeas And if you are looking for more content, become a friend of the Big Tent for only £6 per month.
In this episode Laura is joined by Nimco Ali OBE, Activist and Co-Founder of the Five Foundation. They discuss Nimco's campaign to eradicate Female Genital Mutilation and finding support in unexpected places. They also cover feminism, the myth of the African superwoman, and much more. You can follow Nimco and Laura on Twitter: @NimkoAli and @LauraRound ++ In What Were You Thinking former political advisor Laura Round speaks to politicians, opinion formers and business people to find out about the experiences, people and places that have inspired them. What motivates them? Why did they decide to do what they do? What are the most memorable and surprising situations they have found themselves in? The answer is often unexpected. This podcast is in partnership with the Big Tent Ideas Festival, the non-partisan festival of politics, culture technology and fresh thinking. Give them a follow: @BigTentIdeas And if you are looking for more content, become a friend of the Big Tent for only £6 per month.
Laura Round is joined by Entrepreneur Dominic McVey. He isn't your average businessman. Dom was recognised by the Queen as a pioneer in entrepreneurship at the age of 18 and was a millionaire by the age of 15. He passionately believes that the private sector has a huge role to play in improving society and he talks in this podcast why it’s important for businesses to have a purpose and do good. His mantra is “doing good is good business”.   Dom is 35 years young and has already set up successful businesses, including in Africa and Asia. He talks to me about how to encourage more entrepreneurs to follow suit in investing in developing countries. You can follow Dom and Laura on Twitter: @DominicMcVey and @LauraRound ++ In What Were You Thinking former political advisor Laura Round speaks to politicians, opinion formers and business people to find out about the experiences, people and places that have inspired them. What motivates them? Why did they decide to do what they do? What are the most memorable and surprising situations they have found themselves in? The answer is often unexpected. This podcast is in partnership with the Big Tent Ideas Festival, the non-partisan festival of politics, culture technology and fresh thinking. Give them a follow: @BigTentIdeas And if you are looking for more content, become a friend of the Big Tent for only £6 per month.
Laura Round is joined by Rt Hon Lord Jack McConnell, Former First Minister of Scotland. They discuss the future of the Union, how English politicians can engage better with Scotland and the future of the House of Lords. He also shares memories of relaxing at the bar at Gleneagles during the G8 summit with world leaders including Chancellor Shroder, President Chirac, Prime Minister Koizumi and President Putin. You can follow Jack and Laura on Twitter: @LordMcConnell and @LauraRound ++ In What Were You Thinking former political advisor Laura Round speaks to politicians, opinion formers and business people to find out about the experiences, people and places that have inspired them. What motivates them? Why did they decide to do what they do? What are the most memorable and surprising situations they have found themselves in? The answer is often unexpected. This podcast is in partnership with the Big Tent Ideas Festival, the non-partisan festival of politics, culture technology and fresh thinking. Give them a follow: @BigTentIdeas And if you are looking for more content, become a friend of the Big Tent for only £6 per month.
Laura Round is joined by Tom Tugendhat MP, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee. They discuss diplomacy, the power of tech and what impact his time serving in Afghanistan and Iraq foreign policy and working as a journalist in the Middle East have had on him and his politics. He also shares his secret to building strong relationships with politicians around the world. You can follow Tom and Laura on Twitter: @TomTugendhat and @LauraRound ++ In What Were You Thinking former political advisor Laura Round speaks to politicians, opinion formers and business people to find out about the experiences, people and places that have inspired them. What motivates them? Why did they decide to do what they do? What are the most memorable and surprising situations they have found themselves in? The answer is often unexpected. This podcast is in partnership with the Big Tent Ideas Festival, the non-partisan festival of politics, culture technology and fresh thinking. Give them a follow: @BigTentIdeas And if you are looking for more content, become a friend of the Big Tent for only £6 per month.
Laura Round is joined by Labour MP Jess Phillips about what has influenced her views and priorities as a politician. It is clear that her time working at Women’s Aid has had a profound impact on her politics, not least now she’s Shadow Minister for Domestic Violence and Safeguarding. We talk about gender equality, the idea of an exchange programme for MPs and how entering parliament changed some of her views whilst she has always stayed loyal to her core principles. We also talk about tribalism and her journey from growing up in a household where her father used to get in fights with Conservatives at election counts to receiving fan mail from conservative voters. You can follow Jess and Laura on Twitter: @JessPhillips and @LauraRound Edited by Alex Graham ++ In What Were You Thinking former political advisor Laura Round speaks to politicians, opinion formers and business people to find out about the experiences, people and places that have inspired them. What motivates them? Why did they decide to do what they do? What are the most memorable and surprising situations they have found themselves in? The answer is often unexpected. This podcast is in partnership with the Big Tent Ideas Festival, the non-partisan festival of politics, culture technology and fresh thinking. Give them a follow: @BigTentIdeas And if you are looking for more content, become a friend of the Big Tent for only £6 per month.
In the first episode of What Were You Thinking, Laura is joined by Nick Timothy who was Joint Chief of Staff to Theresa May in Number 10 and in the Home Office. Nick provides a rare glimpse into what it is really like working in Downing Street. It is a fascinating discussion where he talks about the threats of China, Theresa May's change of heart on Huawei and his concerns around policing. Nick even shares stories from a meeting with President Trump in the Oval Office, which he hasn’t discussed publicly before… It really is quite something! Follow Nick on Twitter here: @NJ_Timothy and check out his new book called Remaking One Nation: Conservatism in an Age of Crisis. And follow Laura on Twitter: @LauraRound In What Were You Thinking former political advisor Laura Round speaks to politicians, opinion formers and business people to find out about the experiences, people and places that have inspired them. What motivates them? Why did they decide to do what they do? What are the most memorable and surprising situations they have found themselves in? The answer is often unexpected. This podcast is in partnership with the Big Tent Ideas Festival, the non-partisan festival of politics, culture technology and fresh thinking. Give them a follow: @BigTentIdeas And if you are looking for more content, become a friend of the Big Tent for only £6 per month. 
Former political advisor Laura Round speaks to politicians, opinion formers and business people to find out about the experiences, people and places that have inspired them.  What motivates them? Why did they decide to do what they do? What are the most memorable and surprising situations they have found themselves in? The answer is often unexpected.   What Were You Thinking is in partnership with the Big Tent Ideas Festival, the non-partisan festival of politics, culture, technology and fresh thinking.
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