Series Six, Episode Three: Looking back at legislative change and facing forward into the digital universe

Posted on October 16, 2019

From time to time we like to seek insight and opinion and expertise beyond our world of financial services. Recorded at the House of Lords, Lord Hayward of Cumnor and Trevor Phillips OBE discuss the pivotal legislative changes which paved the way for the Equality Act 2010. Looking beyond the Act and the Protected Characteristics, they discuss Artificial Intelligence, data, the significance of the digital universe and automatic decision making.

 

Lord Hayward

Lord Hayward was the Member of Parliament for Kingswood from 1983 to 1992, and was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his services to friends and families of hostages prior to the Gulf War in 1991 Iraq War, when he established and ran, with others, the Gulf Support Group for civilians who were held in Iraq after the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq. After parliament he was CEO of the Beer and Pub Association and is currently Deputy Chairman, and Chairman of the Investment Committee, of Central YMCA, board member of Dignity in Dying and adviser to the board of Terence Higgins Trust.

Hayward has been a prominent spokesman on gay and lesbian issues and was one of the founding members, and first Chairman, of the Kings Cross Steelers who successfully competed as the first Gay Rugby Union team in the world. He is currently a Vice-President of the club.

In August 2015 it was announced in the Dissolution Honours List that Hayward would be awarded a life peerage. He was created Baron Hayward, of Cumnor in the County of Oxfordshire, on 28 September 2015.

 

Trevor Phillips

Trevor Phillips is a writer and television producer. He is the co-founder of the diversity analytics consultancy Webber Phillips, and Chairman of Green Park Interim and Executive Search.

He is the Chairman of the global freedom of expression campaign charity Index on Censorship, a director of the Barbican Arts Centre, and a Vice-President of the Royal Television Society.

He was the President of the John Lewis Partnership Council until 2018, and founding chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

You can follow Trevor on Twitter @TrevorPTweets.

 

Series Six, Episode Three Transcript

Julia: Hello, my name is Julia Streets and welcome to Divercity Podcast, talking about equality, inclusion and diversity in financial services. On the podcast, we seek to shine a light on positive progress, call out areas requiring further focus, and offer lots of ideas to help drive change.

In our podcast series, from time to time we like to look beyond our usual world of financial services and the city to seek opinion, insight, experience, and expertise from elsewhere. Today it’s a great honour to be recording this episode from the House of Lords, where I’m joined by our host Lord Hayward of Cumnor and Trevor Phillips, OBE.

Lord Robert Hayward has enjoyed a prestigious political career that has taken many interesting directions. In the 1980’s and the early ’90s he served as an MP for Kingswood and he established and ran the Gulf Support Group for civilians who were held in Iraq after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, for which he was awarded an OBE.

He went on to take the helm of the Beer and Pub Association as CEO, still the Deputy Chairman today, and is Chairman of the Investment Committee of Central YMCA. A Board Member of Dignity in Dying and he is indeed an advisor to the Board of the Terrence Higgins Trust.

Lord Hayward has been a prominent spokesman on gay and lesbian issues, and was one of the founding members and indeed the first Chairman of the Kings Cross Steelers, that competed as the first gay rugby union team in the world, and today remains a Vice President of the club.

In 2015 Lord Hayward has awarded a life peerage, today Baron Hayward of Cumnor in the County of Oxfordshire, thank you for your kind hospitality today and indeed for joining us on the show.

Lord Hayward: Thank you. It’s great to be here with you and I’m looking forward to the discussion.

Julia: Trevor Phillips OBE, is a well-known writer and television producer. Keen to understand the data behind diversity, Trevor is the Co-Founder of the diversity analytics consultancy, Webber Phillips, and he’s also the Chairman of Green Park Interim and Executive Search. His board tenures take his interests way beyond into other vital areas and have included President of the John Lewis Partnership Council, Founding Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission and Director of the Barbican Art Centre.

Today he is the Chairman of the Index on Censorship, the global freedom of expression campaign charity, is a Senior Fellow at the Policy Exchange, the think tank, and a Vice President of the Royal Television Society.

Trevor, welcome to the show. It’s great to have you here.

Trevor: Thank you. It’s a pleasure. I’m looking forward to it.

Julia: As always, at the start of the show we invite each guest to talk about what they’re up to at the moment. Robert, let’s start with you. What are you focused on at the moment?

Lord Hayward: In this particular field, I’m heavily involved in dealing with the whole question of sexual equality. I’ve spent the last few months, in fact, it seems a lot longer, pursuing same sex marriage in Northern Ireland where we have a position where a part of the United Kingdom operates equality laws differently from the rest of the country and a matter of which we should be greatly embarrassed. I hope that at some stage in the near future we might actually achieve a change in that law.

Julia: The question around LGBT rights is something we’re going to be talking about on the show today. We’ll certainly come back to that for sure.

Trevor, how about you, what are you focused on at the moment?

Trevor: I’m very fortunate to be semi-retired, but I am a Chair of a headhunter of an executive recruitment firm called Green Park, and though we really do all sorts of things with all sorts of companies, in the last three or four years we have focused on trying to do something practical about diversity. The telling thing about that, it’s not where we thought we would get to, but it has been an enormous business boost. We had about 20-25 people on our headcount four years ago, this year we’ll be at about a 100, and part of what we offer is help for companies on that front.

I only make that point really not just to say how fantastic we are, but how significant an issue diversity has become for corporate Britain. In my spare time myself and a colleague, Professor Richard Webber, do data analytics, some of which focuses on the issue of diversity.

If I’m thinking about where we’re going at the moment, I probably have two priorities. One is to try and help the corporate world divest itself of its absolute terror of some aspects of diversity. The most difficult of which is race, to some extent religion, but it is something that you can see the panic on their faces and boredom when it comes up.

The second is something which we’re only just beginning to get to grips with, and that is the significance of the digital universe, AI and machine learning systems and automated decision making in the growth I think, the increase, of discrimination within both the workplace and amongst consumers.

Julia: That absolutely chimes with many of the conversations we’ve had on the podcast where we’ve been talking about technology and some of the biases that inherently can exist in technology, but then also some of the cultural changes that need to happen to the very top of an organisation and thinking about their recruitment practises. It’s fascinating you talk to that.

We’ll explore that for sure on the show today, but I like to start with, as we sit here in the House of Lords thinking about legislation and change over the last two decades perhaps. Robert, let me bring you in here and think about, as you reflect on legislation, of what are you most proud? Where do you think we should be focused next?

Lord Hayward: It’s not so much of what I’m most proud, but I think if one looks at legislation in terms of diversity and really you have to start with the seminal pieces of legislation, the Race Relations Act, the Disability Discrimination Act. Those sorts of pieces of legislation, not because they set a base below which people could not operate, but because they were the pieces of legislation that set about changing frames of mind.

All the other pieces of legislation that have come on, whether they’re in the field of sexual equality or colour, or disability were based on those seminal pieces of legislation. More recently we’ve had the likes of the Equalities Act. I referred in my opening comments to the question of same sex marriage, all those changes I’m pleased about. I can’t claim credit for them, but I’m pleased to see them and I want to see further change in a number of different fields. Many of the changes, this certainly applies in terms of The City and in employment in general, are actually attitudinal as much as they are legislative.

Julia: I wonder whether that comes down to a question of leadership and a question of culture as well. Thinking about your opening comments about Northern Ireland as well particularly, do we need to take legislative change further in that regard and are there some other areas where policy needs to focus?

Lord Hayward: I think there is obviously a need in the case of Northern Ireland on same sex marriage, there are other fields where there needs to be a debate. Have we got the protected characteristics right in terms of the equalities legislation? Should they be extended? Should they be adjusted in one form or another? The question of cast for example, comes up on many occasions.

So we need to look at them. We need to address the issue and come to conclusions. Some people would want to go further in terms of legislation, other people, and I include myself in this, would like to see much more progress in terms of personal reactions, personal views and therefore what I described earlier as attitudinal change.

Julia: Thinking then about organisational impact on attitude or change, just bringing it back into the workplace as well. Trevor, let me bring you in here, where we think about your board positions and also your recruitment at your business, plus the data as well. Where do you see there’s been the greatest impact over time as you reflect on your career and your world as well? I guess the same question to you about where should we really be focusing next?

Trevor: I agree with Robert actually that in this area the most important thing is culture change. Can you create a set of attitudes and a set of reflexes, which I think is the most important thing, that lead society in one direction rather than another? I think there’s often a slightly peculiar idea that what you really have to do is to spend a lot of time preaching at people and getting them to be good and then something will happen. I personally think that’s a complete waste of time. I think what happens is you change people’s behaviour and generally speaking, what then happens is that they think, “Oh, it’s not so difficult or as dangerous as I thought it was going to be.” And probably the best single example of that would be Section 28.

I suspect that during the 80’s and 90’s the battle over that, coupled with the threat frankly of HIV, AIDS, in itself concentrated people’s minds, but that wasn’t enough. Changing the law allowed that attitudinal change, that cultural change to take a public form. And once the law got changed, and it was, by the way exactly the same thing with civil rights back in the 1960’s in the United States, you talk to people in the South, what they say is everybody hated it, there was all this fighting and all the rest of it. The law changed and suddenly everybody went, “Oh, it’s not as terrible as we thought it was.”

The law does have a role, but its role in my view is not to put people in a cage, but to get people over the hump of cultural change. I think that, that said, the 2010 the Equality Act, of course I would say this, having been deeply involved in penning it, the real authors were probably Harriet Harman, a lady called Melanie Field, who’s now at the Equality and Human Rights Commission, John Wadham, who worked with me there and myself, I think its comprehensiveness made a huge difference.

We introduced a couple of things that were important. One being what we call the tie-break. Prior to 2010 you couldn’t say, “I’ve got three equally qualified candidates, but I have no men, if I’m a primary school teacher, I’ve got no men on my staff, so I’m going to use gender, as it were, a tie breaker.” And I think that has made a difference.

Even more importantly, personally, I would say the most important thing that’s happened possibly since the 1970 Equal Pay Act has been gender pay transparency. I think that will make, and is already making, possibly the most dramatic change in corporate and organisational attitudes towards diversity in my lifetime.

Julia: It’s fascinating because at the moment that’s a topic we talk about a lot on the podcast series and think about. It’s really shying into sharp relief for organisations, not only they need to look at the gap, understand the gap, do something about the gap, but also the reputational impact of it, and the ability to attract talent.

One of the things we’re always thinking about is, I love the way you refer to it as a reflex, and at certain moments it will create reflexes, is as we’re looking for new terms, and actually Trevor, you were talking there about artificial intelligence and new skills that we need in the industry and indeed, all industries at the moment around artificial intelligence and data scientists etc, is finding talents in new pools. I’m really fascinated in your views on corporate change and culture, and the impact it can have. The positive impact it can have on really reaching out to pools of talent you wouldn’t necessarily have found.

In preparation for the show, Robert, we were talking about your pathways for the rugby club, which I thought was a really interesting example of how that’s widened the pool.

Lord Hayward: Get on to my favourite subject of rugby. What is fascinating is when we first founded the Kings Cross Steelers, it was a rugby club with the intention of providing the opportunity for people who didn’t feel comfortable in a rugby club to join with others who happened to be gay.

What we’ve discovered in recent years is that we created a thing called “Pathway to Rugby” and these are people who’ve never played rugby before. They’ve never felt comfortable playing rugby. They may have gone to schools which played, but then they drop out.

Julia: That’s not a particularly gay lens, that’s anybody who would like to go to rugby?

Lord Hayward: It’s any, but it is particularly gay oriented within our club, and we’re the first to follow this route substantially within any English rugby club, and we have a waiting list, which is months long, of people who want to start playing rugby.

These are essentially gay people, but they may not be, they may just be people who’ve been blocked mentally from playing rugby, and we’ve suddenly identified there’s this huge pool with an eight month waiting list to join our system. We can’t cope. We don’t have enough pitches. We don’t have enough coaches.

But then you have to say to yourself, “Well, if we have discovered that there is this pool of people who’ve been put off playing rugby, then the corollary to that is, are there similar pools of people who have been put off playing football, or playing netball, or alternatively are put off going into the city because they regard it as a white, male elite?

You go through each of the different groups and you have to ask yourself the same questions, we’ve tapped into one particular group, but I believe very strongly that there are similar problems in all sorts of other organisations where people are put off because of their disability, or whatever it may happen to be.

Julia: From a recruitment perspective does that chime with your experience, do people connect with particular roles and people connect with a particular potential, and the relationship of organisations to project that are indeed institutions that welcome people in, so you’ve got a meeting of minds that’s in some way shifting?

Trevor: I think there are two separate things here. First of all, one of the things that we’re now learning because we have access to big data and therefore we understand, or we have the capacity to understand people’s behaviour in a way we never had before, one of the things that we’re learning is that if we ask people, “What do you prefer?” they will tell you something.

For example, in television, people will always tell you they love watching documentaries. Then when you look at what they actually do, they’re watching Love Island. One of the things that our work has been showing is that whereas people might tell you something, what is possibly more important is that we can now use a whole series of techniques.

We can use what we would call exhaust data, transactional data, to understand what they actually really do, and that has been immensely useful here. It relates to this particular question because one of the things we now know is that some of the differentials that we see aren’t just down to discrimination. They are down to choice by different identity groups.

I think that’s quite a tricky thing for people who are interested in diversity and equality, because we always premised everything on the basis that in a good world, we’ll have 50% women at the table, we’ll have, 40% people of colour, and so on and so forth. But actually what we’re now discovering these different groups might not want to be there in those proportions.

That’s becoming quite a big issue for us when we’re thinking about recruitment. Can we present lists that are arithmetically right? But we have to take into account the candidates’ preferences. The other thing, which I think has become really interesting and is actually perhaps more material for leaders in corporate and public life is this. There’s been a presumption that people from underrepresented groups are not there because they need to be given the skills, they need to learn how the ropes work, and all of that stuff. Well, one of the things that we discovered, much to the chagrin of Oxford University, was that after the kerfuffle about why aren’t there more black students at Oxford University? We actually looked at what the situation was, and there are plenty of black students who are adequately qualified, in fact over qualified.

There is no particular evidence of discrimination by admissions people at Oxford University. But what we have begun to understand is that people go up to their open day at Oxford University, and nobody’s unpleasant to them. But as an institution it broadcasts a series of subtle signals that say, “You really won’t be happy here if you’re this sort of person. There are things that people here are really interested in, and the things that you are interested in, maybe you won’t find them here.”

Actually what we’re now beginning to focus on much more in corporate life is, is your culture one that is truly welcoming to women, or minorities, or lesbian, gay people? I think that’s a much bigger challenge for most institutions.

Julia: Yes. One of the questions we’re asking ourselves a lot, particularly this year is, in this appetite, and I think a growing appreciation, I don’t want to talk for the institutions, but there’s a growing appreciation of the need to project slightly differently. For example, I think about Pride…

Trevor: You’re so polite. That’s a polite way of putting it!

Julia: Well, in Pride Month for example, in many regards it’s such a wonderful thing to walk around the square mile and see so much rainbow signage, and even steps have been coloured, and sandwiches have been branded, and buildings have been festooned. Some people have been saying, “Well actually, is that marketing or is that real?” Is that as you say, Trevor, that’s organisations saying, “We’re going to project a different message, which is saying, ‘You’re very welcome'”?

Robert, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

Lord Hayward: I think it is actually ticking the box saying, “We’ve done it,” and moving on. There isn’t a frame of mind, picking up on what Trevor said about recruitment, you ask anybody who’s doing recruitment, is there any sort of person you want? And they’ll say, “Oh no, we’re completely open to everybody.” They don’t actually mean that, because in the vast majority of circumstances what they want to do is recruit somebody with whom they are comfortable.

When I was at the top of organisations, and prior to that Personnel Director, I’d say to Managers, to Directors, “Recruit people you’re not comfortable with because otherwise you’re going to get all the same answers all the time.” I think that is the sort of mentality which you need to adopt, because otherwise you are going to remain a male, white, possibly public school educated elite.

People do respond to different circumstances in different ways as Trevor says, going up to Oxford or Cambridge. I’ve chaired a fair number of Conservative selections in safe Conservative seats, and I’m pleased to say that actually the rate of female and ethnic minority success under my Chairmanship is higher than under anybody else’s.

All I’ve done is slightly flexed the rigid rules, which the Conservative Party operates in terms of selection. Although we haven’t subjected the events to a specific academic analysis, I think it confirms what other analysis has shown, is that different groups respond to different things in different ways. If you make the process just slightly different.

Julia: Can you give us an example of how it’s flexed?

Lord Hayward: One of the things that you have in our process is, is you are supposed to make your opening comments by three minutes, and the rules say three minutes. Now all I’ve done is just changed it and said, “You’re going to get your 30 minutes, you aren’t going to get a second longer, and you’re not going to get a second to less. But it’s up to you how you handle that 30 minutes.”

What I’m quite struck by is that it seems, no specific proof, but it seems that certain groups, particularly women, respond better than men to that flexibility. I think actually that’s probably what we would think anyway, but it’s just changing that rule very slightly and therefore people, different people are comfortable with those changed circumstances.

Trevor: By the way, what you put in a shop window, it’s really important because it sends very, very subtle, but really massively significant signals, sometimes that people who are watching don’t necessarily realise are there.

I’ll give you two examples. One of the interesting things that’s happened in the House of Commons, is that over the past, I think probably three elections, the proportion or the number of minority members of parliament from the Conservative Party has escalated quite dramatically. Not only have they escalated dramatically, I think they’re roughly now equal numbers on Labour and Conservative side.

But one of the interesting things about the Conservative minority MPs, is that by and large they do not represent constituencies where there are large numbers of minorities. It’s a very different picture. Now who cares? Well actually quite a lot of people will care, and people from minority backgrounds will notice that. It tells you something very different about these parties.

The other thing, which I think is, I’m afraid it’s a test I apply for myself, and I always do it quietly, but what the hell, we’re speaking just between us, I know when I go into government departments, and indeed when I came in here, and when I go into big corporates, I look at who meets me at the door. I look at who takes me up. Typically I’ll be going to meet the CEO or somebody in the C-suite, or the Chairman, and it is almost invariably the case that in this country, any organisation that has more than 500 people working for it, the people who will meet you at the door will be male and African.

The receptionists will be some variety of Asian, not white British female. Anybody can take you further up, but as you go up through the building or into the building to the sanctum sanctorum, it just becomes whiter and ‘maler’, and everybody should apply this test.

What I’d love to hear people do is when they get to the chairman’s office, say, “By the way, I notice you’ve got a kind of gradient here, haven’t you? Have you noticed that?” Because actually the truth is almost nobody in any of those offices will have noticed that because it’s part of their landscape.

Julia: I love it. A very practical thing that organisations could think about right there.

Let’s take a moment to bring in Robert and Cynthia, who have some research to support today’s discussion.

Robert: Section 28 was the highly controversial clause brought in under Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government as part of the Local Government Act 1988. The clause banned the promotion of homosexuality by local authorities and in Britain’s schools. In practise, this meant that teachers were prohibited from discussing even the possibility of same sex relationships with students. Councils were forbidden from stocking libraries with literature or films that contained gay or lesbian themes.

Cynthia: The law was met with uproar from LGBT+ activists at a time when 75% of the population believed homosexuality was always or mostly wrong. According to a contemporary British Social Attitude Survey, Section 28 played a huge role in legitimising homophobia. It was repealed in Scotland in 2001 and in the rest of the UK in 2003.

Robert: In 2009, the then Prime Minister, David Cameron apologised for Section 28, calling it “A mistake.”

Julia: Thanks, Cynthia and Robert. The links to the research can be found on our website, divercitypodcast.com. That’s where you can find all our episodes and sign up for early notifications of future recordings. Please do follow us on Twitter @divercitypod, and DiverCity Podcast is available on BrightTALK and all good podcast channels. We’d love a rating because it all helps to promote the show.

Robert, one of the things I gather you were focused on was the red tape review of the 2010 Equalities Act. What did you particularly focus on?

Lord Hayward: We were actually asked to look at in terms of all the protected characteristics, whether in fact taking the legislation, which Trevor’s identified and he’s had a key role in and saying, “Has it actually produced excessive amounts of red tape? If so, where? And if so, why?”

I’m not convinced that we achieved what we wanted to in terms of an overall review, but what was striking as I talked to different groups, not only of those from protected characteristics, but from the top and bottom of organisations, whether they be government or private sector, was that in fact if one looked at employment, what Trevor referred to earlier on, that there was one group that I felt seriously concerned about.

Society is changing in attitudes, in relation to race, sexuality and like, but I felt that we were the furthest away from achieving real equality for seriously disabled people, whether they’re blind, whether they’re in a wheelchair, or whatever categories. Now I know some people will disagree with me and say that other groups still face major difficulties, and that’s true, but as a group I just came to the conclusion, it wasn’t supposed to be part of my report, so there’s no reference to it. But it was a conclusion that I felt fairly strongly about the difficulties faced by disabled people.

Julia: We are beginning to see, because we do talk about disability on the podcast as well. We’re beginning to see an attitudinal shift, if you like, from corporates as well. Trevor, I know you think a lot about attitudes to employment particularly, and the way in which organisations are addressing driving change and any final thoughts from you?

Trevor: I’m very supportive of what Robert just said. I said earlier on that I thought that race was the hardest dimension to talk about. Actually I’d probably add to that, and I’m going to be direct about this. Madness. Nobody wants to talk about mental health.

People will now talk about stress a bit, and all of that, but nobody wants to talk about the person who is.. They’re functional, they can do the job, but they find it difficult to do the job in the context of lots of other people, companies accepted behaviours, and so on. We at the moment don’t really have a good way of dealing with that. Of course, I think this is a much more serious issue than people tend to think it is. So I would agree, this is still a big question. The first place we’ve got to deal with it is to come up with ways of making what in America now they call, the “Courageous Conversation,” about race or about mental health, normal inside companies.

I think that there is a very, very big issue on the horizon, which again is being revealed by what we see in the data, and we see through the use of AI and machine learning, and that is how do we reconcile our desire to get equality of outcomes with the emerging clarity that different categories of people, and that might be by ethnicity, it might be by sexual orientation, certainly by gender, want to live their lives slightly differently.

It is just not the case. As I think we sometimes pretend to ourselves that these factors of identity are basically  irrelevant, and in a good world we’ll all be the same. Actually, I think a lesbian or gay person today wants people to know that, “My sexual orientation does make me have some different preferences from a straight person, and the world has got to get used to that.”

The same would be true about somebody from an ethnic background. I think the diversity and inclusion world hasn’t yet quite caught up with this. So we constantly get wrong-footed by the fact that the people that we want to protect or defend, don’t necessarily want to be protected or defended in the way that we think they should be. I think that’s a big issue for the future.

Julia: And also just taking that, if I may, one step further, which is about the reality of your consumer, because it’s very easy to make assumptions along the way about how they wish to be communicated with when actually their behaviours are shifting quite considerably too

Trevor: I’ll give you a simple example, and it’s one of the things that we do. We started this, the data analytics company as a sort of hobby, but it’s become what my professorial partner calls, “distressingly commercial.” One of the things that we have done, for example, we run the record of bookers for big art centres. So you’ll run a half a million records and we can segment them according to ethnic backgrounds.

One of the things you discover is most white people will book one or two seats, because for them going to a concert is going to a concert to experience the music, or the speech, or whatever it is. South Asians however, typically will book four or six or eight, because for them going out for that evening is a family event, which happens to be at a concert.

Now, it may sound like a small thing, but actually what then follows about how you present your event, how you welcome people, how you address them, is humongous. It’s part of the explanation for why some groups of people don’t patronise some kinds of events because actually we haven’t taken into account the fact that for them this is a different kind of evening out than for the average person.

Now, we’re just beginning to learn about all of this, and I think it will turn what we do and say upside down, but it does come back to your point that making sure that you’ve got a range of people on your staff will at least give you a clue about where to look in order to serve your clients or your customers, or your citizens, in the best way possible.

Julia: As a final thought, I can’t help think that there is a role of sport. I talk to a lot of sporting people who have come into the city actually, fascinating individuals who have been at the peak of their sporting career and they walk in. very similar to what Trevor said, they walk in and go, “Well, actually your corporate experience and what you’re trying to do in terms of communicating to the outside world is a world away from the reality, which is shifting all the time.” I can’t help but think that sport actually plays a part in shifting perception as well.

Robert, final thoughts?

Lord Hayward: My experience with the Kings Trust Steelers is enormous in terms of our role within Essex Rugby Union. Nobody would have ever suggested that a gay rugby club should choose to play in Essex as a first location. And yet we are now a matter of pride for Essex RFU. We’re their club. But if one looks beyond my beloved rugby and goes to the game of cricket, 2019 my sporting hero Joe Root, to be abused in terms of sexuality, and then just to turn round and say…

Julia: This was mid match, wasn’t it?

Lord Hayward: It was mid match, in a game. He just turned around and said, in the West Indies, he just said, “There is nothing wrong in being gay.” And to me and to huge numbers of people that just conveyed such a message from somebody who just did it spontaneously. Hero, Joe Root.

Julia: What a wonderfully inspiring way to end the show.

Trevor: If I may just say, Robert isn’t emphasising the context enough, this is said in a place where you know, my family comes from the Caribbean, and most Caribbean countries, homosexuality is still illegal, and in some cases it’s effectively punishment beating territory. So Root’s reaction wasn’t just nice, it was incredibly heroic, because he would have known, he would have known how a crowd would react to that in the Caribbean. I’m with Robert on this.

Julia: Truly inspiring. Gentlemen, thank you so much for your time. It’s been such a pleasure to have this episode recorded at the House of Lords. Thank you both.

Lord Hayward: Thank you.

Trevor: My pleasure.

Kieron: This episode of the DiverCity Podcast was produced by me, Kieron Yates, on behalf of Julia Streets Productions. Thanks to Cynthia Akinsanya and Robert Pinto-Fernandes for their insights. You can find out more about the guests on this week’s show on our website, divercitypodcast.com. Whilst you are there, you can also sign up to our newsletter for all our latest updates.

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