Dr Michael Kirby delivers this year's Richard Larkins Oration

L-R President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Margaret Gardner, Dr Michael Kirby, Professor Richard Larkins and Mrs Caroline Larkins.

Monash University’s annual Richard Larkins Oration in Melbourne was at the Myer Mural Hall on Wednesday, 4 October 2017. 

Representatives of business, government, industry, alumni and University supporters attended this prestigious event to hear the Honourable Dr Michael Kirby AC CMG deliver his oration.

This annual event is named in recognition of former Monash University Vice-Chancellor, Emeritus Professor Larkins, and honours his achievements as an educator, researcher and esteemed community leader.

During his time as Vice-Chancellor, Professor Larkins was the pioneer of Monash University’s culture of advancing knowledge, fostering creativity and applying the University’s work in communities around the world and locally.

This culture has been embraced and expanded by the current Vice-Chancellor to ensure Monash University can supply scholarships and financial support to indigenous Australians, refugees and asylum seekers as well as residential scholarships for rural and remote students.

The Richard Larkins Oration provides an opportunity for a distinguished member of the international community to speak about the great challenges of our time and how we might address them. This year, Dr Kirby provided a detailed understanding of the North Korea of today and urged caution not to repeat the mistakes of the past when it comes to North Korea. Here is the full transcript of Dr Kirby’s speech:

Professor Margaret Gardner: It’s my very great honour to introduce the Jurist Educator and former Justice of the High Court of Australia, the Honourable Dr Michael Kirby. Dr Kirby, as is well known to this audience, has a very extensive record of service, not only to the Australian but to the international community.

Prior to his 1996 appointment to the High Court of Australia where he served as Justice until 2009, his record of judicial service includes being Chairman of the Australian Law Reform Commission; which is such an important role. 

That ability to think about what is next in the world of justice. He was a judge of the Federal Court of Australia, President of the NSW Court of Appeals and President of the Court of Appeals of the Solomon Islands. Throughout his career Dr Kirby has been a tireless champion of human rights; including as the UN Special Representative for Human Rights in Cambodia, a member of the UNESCO International Bioethics Committee of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Judicial Reference Group, and a member of the UN AIDS Reference Group on HIV and Human Rights. 

For his contribution to human rights, Dr Kirby was awarded the Australian Human Rights Medal in 1990 and was named Laureate of the UNESCO Prize for Human Rights Education in 1998.

In 2010 he was named co-winner of the Group Justice Prize and he received the inaugural Australian Privacy Medal in 2011. It’s actually extremely difficult to summaries Michael Kirby's very very distinguished career, and there are so many elements of it. Since stepping down from the High Court he has been a member of the eminent persons group on the future of Commonwealth Nations, Commissioner of the UNDP Global Commission on HIV and the Law, member of the UN Secretary-General’s high-level panel on access to essential healthcare.

One of the most prominent of Dr Kirby’s many contributions in recent years was the work he undertook as Chair from 2013-14 on a three-person Commission of Enquiry of the UN Human Right’s Council into human rights violations in North Korea.

The main findings of this report, which unlike much North Korea, is obtainable online, make interesting reading. Not easy reading but interesting reading. When the report was released before the general assembly in 2014 it attracted international attention.

The Washington Post subsequently reported that the North Korean government was particularly shocked that the Commission's explicitly called for the UN to ensure that those most responsible inside the DPRK for the crimes against humanity be held accountable.

In recognition of this work of human rights in North Korea, Japan this year conferred on Dr Kirby the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star. It is on the actions that have been undertaken and developments that have been emerged since the release of the Commission of Enquiries report that Dr Kirby will be speaking this evening.

I think it is a rare pleasure to hear such a distinguished person talk about something that they have undertaken to make a difference in such an important area of human rights. Please join me in welcoming the Honourable Dr Michael Kirby.

Dr Kirby: Vice-Chancellor, Deputy Chancellor, Richard Larkins and Mrs Larkins, and fellow citizens. It is a great pleasure for me to be in this hall. You know, I thought I had done every venue in this nation. From one side of the continent to the other shining sea on the other side. But I’ve never been in this Hall of Mural. And it is such a wonderful Melbourne place. I was so impressed by it, I dragged myself away from the very interesting conversation we were having at the table and went up there onto the balcony and I took a photograph so you’re all in the photo and I’ll be looking at you and thinking of you here tonight, this very Melbourne night. 

It is only in Melbourne, Australia that you would be asked to rise at 8:50 (10 to 9), to give the main address of the occasion. I mean this doesn't come as a surprise to me. You've been doing this to me since 1975. I once accepted an invitation to speak in Melbourne and what I didn't know is they also invited Geoffrey Blainey, and we both accepted, and Geoffrey Blainey gave a most interesting lecture on the history of the Southern Cross from the perspective of the early explorers of Australia, and I think I gave a lecture on the history of Law Reform from the Statute of Mortmain up until 1975. But the Melbourne audience, saintly and patient, they sat there through both of them, they gave both of us a standing ovation, and I’m expecting that from you at the end of this.

It’s wonderful that Richard is honoured in this way and it’s wonderful that his term as Vice-Chancellor of Monash University is honour in an intellectual way, and I have had the pleasure of sitting with him and conversing with him, and he is a very great Australian and I am proud that I have joined magnificent company to come here to give this lecture. So I honour him and pay tribute to him. 

And I also honour Sir John Monash after whom Monash University was named. It’s very unusual to name a university after a soldier. There is in Turkey, a university named after Ataturk, who was our nemesis in Gallipoli, but it’s very rare. I taxed Richard tonight on whether Charles Latrobe had been a military person because you would have thought there was a good chance of that, but he would have none of it. He is about to launch a biography of Latrobe and he says no he was never military so Monash has that uniquely in Australia and I think in most of the world. I mean it's a very rare thing. Universities learn the art of peace; but Monash was a very very unusual soldier, as we all know. And he was a civilian who turned to war when he was called to that vocation and perilous time. And I thought I would start by placing us tonight in the position that Monash was in exactly 100 years ago tonight.

He was actually, not far from the Belgian town of Passchendaele; which we call ‘Passchendaele’. And that town in Belgium was the key to driving the Germans from the English Channel where they were doing terrible damage by their access to the Channel, and to U-boats, and the fleet of the allies. And Monash was preparing for the end of the Third Battle of Ypres and the beginning of the First Battle of Passchendaele. It was a battle which Lloyd George bitterly opposed.

He said “We should wait until the Americans come. We’ve lost enough blood. We shouldn't lose any more unnecessarily”; but the Generals who were profligate with life insisted that the Battle for Passchendaele should go forward. And they thought it would be the big breakthrough, but it wasn’t and a quarter of a million Germans and about a quarter of a million of the allied died in Passchendaele in the two Battles of Passchendaele.

So that’s where Major General Monash was this night, this very time a hundred years ago. And he was pondering about how he came to be there and how it happened. How did it happen, that the events that unfolded in Sarajevo has led him to be there in Passchendaele or near Passchendaele. Unfortunately for the allies, rain broke early and it began to rain heavily and the rain impeded the movement which was the plan of battle. And the result of that was that the mud was full of corpses and the stench was unbearable and Monash thought “There’s got to be a better way than this”. 

And of course he put that into practice in the following year in 1918 when he was one of the chief architects of the great breakthrough that led on to the end of the First World War. So that is where the person after whom Monash University was named, and what he was doing and thinking about exactly 100 years tonight.

An excellent book has been written on the beginning on the First World War by Sir Christopher Clarke, who’s a professor at Cambridge, and he’s an Australian. And the book is called Sleepwalkers - you’ve probably heard of it. And it’s a book that analyses how the world stumbled into the First World War, and how easily it might’ve been stopped.

It all goes back to Mayerling of course, to the joint suicide of Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria-Hungary in Mayerling with his lover. And when he died, his brother Karl Ludwig became the heir to the throne, but then unfortunately within a decade he suffered typhoid fever and he died, leaving his brother Franz Ferdinand as the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary. But there was what often happens in royal houses, there was a little problem. 

And the little problem was that Franz Ferdinand’s wife Sophie was not of the blood royal. And so their marriage has been a morganatic marriage, and she was desperate and he who loved her deeply was desperate that she should be accepted by the royal house of Austria-Hungary. And so though they were warned repeatedly not to go to Serbia, and not to go to Sarajevo, their visit there, which was well received by the local Serbians, was designed to secure acceptance of the Duchess Sophie. She was not, mind you, an Archduchess. She had been denied that royal title. She was just a Duchess.

They hoped perhaps with good relations with the outlying parts of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, she might be accepted. It’s a little bit like the removal of the Royal Highness title of Princess Diana. It was just one of those little things which in history, and that in the big picture didn't really matter much but which rankled with the Crown Prince. And so Gavrilo Princip murdered Franz Ferdinand and the wheels of war began to move. And those wheels of war came so close to being resolved. 

The Austro-Hungarian Empire sent a message to the Kingdom of Serbia, which was within the crown of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, demanding a Commission of Enquiry be established. And the Commission of Enquiry was one of eight conditions that were laid down for avoiding war. And the Serbians agreed to seven of them. But the sticking point was - who would appoint the commissioners of the Commission of Enquiry? 

Not an unimportant matter for those who have worked in courts or courts or commissions of enquiry. And the Austrians said “This is the murder to the heir-apparent to our throne, we will choose the commissioners”, and the Serbians said “There must be a solution. We will not accept your nominations”. And on that eighth of the eight conditions. The other seven were agreed by Serbia. The war hung in the balance.

The Kaiser, the German Kaiser, had gone on a yachting trip in the Baltic and it was awkward to have a war with him out of Berlin. But the train timetables, the plans, it all went ahead within an inexorability. I’d ask you to keep that thought and memory in your minds when you think of the issues of North Korea, how easily it might have been avoided. How the mind of man didn’t conjure with the awful, dreadful consequences of going ahead. How pride got in the way of rational solutions. And how four mighty empires and their future rested on the decisions made in those few days and how they were demolished as a result of what was happening in Vienna and in Serbia.

So, the partition of Korea was not something that was decided by the Korean people. It’s important to say this because the Korean people never decided, they never wanted to be divided. They had been united for a millennium under a system of government, and they were kept united when the Japanese invaded in 1911 to make the Empire of Korea a part of the Japanese Empire. And that was how it remained during the Second World War at the time of the Conference in Cairo in 1943, late ‘43, attended by Churchill, Stalin, Roosevelt. 

And at that conference, Roosevelt proposed somewhat to the surprise of Stalin - as we now know, that after the war, Korea as a colony of Japan, like Austria and like Germany should be divided between the victorious allies and it was agreed that that was what would happen. And in the case of Korea, there would be a Soviet sphere of influence in the North and an American sphere influence in the South. And the task of drawing the division devolved upon a middle-ranking official of the State Department by name Dean Rusk. He was later to be Secretary of State for President Kennedy. And he just drew a line across the middle of the map. He knew nothing about Korea.

He just took the map and drew the line at what was roughly halfway down the Peninsula. And so two rather unpleasant autocracies were then born. In the South, the Americans supported autocracy of Syngman Rhee. And in the north the Soviets supported autocracy of Kim Il-Sung. And those two autocrats, equal in their oppression, built up their societies around mythologies that concerned them. 

And by 2013, the reports were coming into the Human Rights Council of the United Nations, the chief guardian in the organisation of human rights, concerning the terrible affronts to human rights that were happening in North Korea. And there didn't seem to be much doubt about it, and so a decision was made to establish a Commission of Enquiry. Just like the Austro-Hungarian Empire proposed, this was a Commission of Enquiry and the appointment process was in the gift to the President of the Human Rights Council. 

And I was at a conference of statisticians in England when I was called and asked would I serve; and I said that I would, and so I was appointed. And I was then summoned to New York to meet Ban Ki-Moon, the Secretary-General of the United Nations. When you meet the Secretary-General, you don’t go directly to Floor 34 where his office is. You go to Floor 33 and then you go through various security procedures, and then into his general office, and then into his private office, and then there is a procedure whereby you stand with the banner of the United Nations, that I first saw as a young schoolboy in 1949 when I got my copy of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with the symbol of the United Nations. 

And so Ban Ki-Moon congratulated me and the Commission. Our job was to look at the human rights issues and I was joined in my task by two excellent commissioners. One of them Marzuki Darusman had been the Prosecutor-General of Indonesia, and he later became the Attorney-General of Indonesia. He had trodden the boards of courtrooms, he was tough and he wasn’t going to be messed around by anybody, least of all North Korea. And the other was Sonja Biserko. 

She had been an expert from Serbia and she was an expert in the law of genocide, and that we thought might be very helpful to us given the information that was coming in about the situation in North Korea. And anyway she was appointed. So we three became the commissioners, and when we met we resolved that we would do our enquiry differently from all other UN enquiries. We would do it in the manner of a Royal Commission in the Anglo-American tradition. We would have public hearings, we would have testimony, in the modern way we would film the testimony if it was safe to the witnesses to do so, we would put their testimonies with their consent online, and we would have media present. 

We would offer North Korea the opportunity to have a representative, and we would offer them without consent to ask questions; all of which they refused. They would have nothing to do with us. And so we entered upon our investigation and the investigation took us into the strange world of North Korea. A world of adulation and propaganda. Of propaganda designed to reinforce the power and dignity of the Supreme Leader. The statues are the statues of Kim Il-sung and his son Kim Jong-il, the father of Kim Jong-un, the current Supreme Leader. 

Many of the witnesses that came to our enquiry said to us “It all started to go wrong when Kim Jong-il came to power”. It's not all that different from Australian politics. People can say when things started to go wrong. Well, many of them who had every reason to hate the regime, loved and admired Kim Il-sung. By all accounts he was a genuine charismatic war leader against the Japanese and then against the Americans in the Korean War and he was a person whom they admired. 

And, so we’d learned of the animosity which can only be described as hatred against the United States of America. The story that North Korea puts forward is a story of an invasion by South Korea of North Korea. They’re adamant to this day that it happened that way. But there’s a problem for that story because there is now access to the Soviet archives. It’s available online. It’s in Russian but you can have access to it at that time. And it shows Kim il-Sung was constantly badgering Stalin to agree to North Korea attacking South Korea. And eventually Stalin agreed but said “We’ll send no troops, you’re on your own”. 

And as you know, they had triumphant victories for the first days, and then General MacArthur, in charge of the United Nations Force, landed in the most brilliant amphibious landing at Incheon, where the international airport is now in Seoul, and came behind the North Korean forces and rendered them helpless as they fled north to get out of the trap. And then chased them up to the border and when MacArthur wouldn’t take the command to President Truman, two terrible things happened. 

First, the Chinese volunteers entered the peninsula, rushing down to rid the nation of the Americans, and MacArthur was dismissed because of his failure to comply with the orders of the President. So, you’ve got to understand the burden of the Korean War to understand where the North Koreans are coming from today in the here and now. They look back on that time as a time of conquest of their people and of terrible suffering, and they build animosity against the United States. Here you’ll see a Korean baby being trampled on by on the one hand an American scientist, and on the other hand an American priest. 

And this is the propaganda that is fed to the people of North Korea consistently all their lives, and they don't have access to international media, and they don't have access to the Internet, and they do have access constantly to their country’s story as told by the broadcasters in charge of information. So hatred is the shield against the terrible things that happen in North Korea. We had a mandate with a series of ten points in the mandate, and they required us to look at and report on ten aspects of the conduct of the regime.

  • The control of the minds of the people
  • The self-reliance on the songbun system - the classification of everybody into classes from which it was virtually impossible to escape
  • The food shortages which in the famine of the mid-1990’s were dreadful with bodies piled up at railway stations to be removed overnight
  • The suppression of any religious beliefs
  • The inability to move about the country without permission of officials and the virtual impossibility of moving legally overseas
  • The abduction of many abductees from foreign countries; large numbers from Japan
  • And the destruction of political enemies by public executions and particularly enemies within the family like Jang Song-thaek, the uncle of the Supreme Leader, or Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of the Supreme Leader murdered at the Kuala Lumpur airport.

The new Supreme Leader is the son of Kim Jong...Kim Jong..is the grandson of Kim Il-sung and the son of Kim Jong-il. And here he is a man of the moment in North Korea who is on everybody’s lips and is the centre of all attention. When the report of the Commission of Enquiry was delivered, it created a sensation in Geneva because of the fact that it revealed in, a very powerful way, as we do naturally through the voices of the people who had suffered. We didn’t give a...a warmed up version of it. 

These were the actual voices of the people who had suffered. And those voices spoke to power, and they were the more powerful because they had an authenticity. At this stage, the United Nations Human Rights Council voted with a huge majority to support the findings of the Commission of Inquiry and send the matter off to the General Assembly of the United Nations, with a view to the General Assembly in turn sending it to the Security Council, something that very rarely is done. 

Only once before been done on Myanmar/ Burma. Because of the gravity of the matters revealed in our report. It duly went to the General Assembly. North Korea then turned from completely ignoring the enquiry to a charm offensive for the purpose of trying to delay the matter being dealt with in the General Assembly, but the General Assembly would have none of it. And with only 19 votes against the General Assembly agreed to send the matter to the Security Council, and agreed to recommend that the Security Council refer the matter to the International Criminal Court for the purpose of having those guilty of the crimes against humanity, found by the Commission of Enquiry, brought to accountability. 

It was at about this time that the security situation in North Korea began to get much more difficult, and as you know, over the period of the last 6 years, the Security Council has become extremely dangerous. Nuclear weapons tests were conducted - the first one, the first in this century, on the 9th October 2006. But then came a nuclear weapons test on the 25th May 2009. Another on the 12th February 2013; another on the 6th January 2016; the 9th September 2016; and the most recent on the 3rd September 2017 - just a month ago. 

The most recent nuclear test appears to have been a fusion bomb. You’ll remember the problem with the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was their size. It was difficult to get them down to a size that could be easily delivered. And that’s why the two bombs were called “The Big One”, they were very big. The mechanism, that they were fusion bombs; they blew out. The more powerful hydrogen bomb is a fusion bomb that blows in, and it’s the compacting of the power that causes the extra dimension of damage.

Dr Michael Kirby

Our task had been a human rights task. I am not trained in, or competent in issues of military operations; but there’s one rule of human rights that’s very clear, and it was agreed by the international community after the Second World War, that crimes against humanity will not be ignored - that the international community will address itself and give accountability for crimes against humanity. In the Republic of Korea, in South Korea, there has been a debate over the period of 20 years as to how to handle the situation of human rights and peace and security in the North. 

There’s an ambivalence in the Republic of Korea. In 1998, Kim Dae-jung, a great democrat, was elected the President; and he determined that a new sunshine policy would be attempted. He thought that something better than continually threatening North Korea and conducting military tests was necessary, and there must be engagement. Depending on the point of view of your political alignment, his opponents said he was duped and North Korea used the time and the money to develop its nuclear weapons and its arsenal. 

On the other hand, his supporters have said that going down the track of further military encounters hasn’t been terribly successful so far, and is becoming increasingly dangerous as North Korea secures a military nuclear arsenal. It was thought that it has 20 nuclear weapons, but it is now believed to be more like 60 nuclear weapons. Trivial by comparison to the 30,000 nuclear weapons of the United States, and the 7,000 nuclear weapons of the Russian Federation, but still a very dangerous nuclear arsenal indeed. 

And so, last year the President of the Republic of Korea, President Park Geun-hye, a member of the conservative side of politics in South Korea, was impeached and removed by order..by unanimous order of the Supreme Court of South Korea, and an election was ordered. And that election led to the election of President Moon Jae-in. And he comes from the side of politics which is akin to the side of Kim Dae-jung. He believes in engagement, and he believes in trying to find a way of talking through the problems of North Korea, and if necessary considering whether the annual military tests, which so concern and alarm North Korea, are truly necessary or whether something better could be done to avoid sleepwalking into disaster. President Moon made many offers for engagement. 

He offered to go to North Korea no conditions and to talk. His offers have all been slapped back and the response has been the nuclear test and the missile test. The missile tests have increased in number, and they’ve increased in their sophistication and they are truly amazing technological developments in a very short time. And they have been addressed to the problem of the “Big One”. They’ve been addressed to developing missiles that will be capable of carrying a nuclear weapon which is of a size that can deliver a nuclear impact. 

And this is...the numbers of these missile tests has increased enormously since President Trump became the President. There have been five such tests and the more dangerous and worrying feature is that the tests include tests of submarine launches of missiles which of course adds to the span and dimension of the delivery power of North Korea. 

So, this year in May I was invited to go to Seoul and to visit the National Assembly. And in the visit, I was asked to meet Shim Jae-kwon. This is Dr Shim. Dr Shim is a graduate of Monash University. Dr Shim fled from South Korea during the military dictatorship and he came to sunny Melbourne. And he got assistance and he entered Monash University, and he studied for a PhD here in Melbourne at Monash. 

And he is now, following the election of President Moon Jae-in, he is the Chairman of the National Assembly Committee, which is the committee for reunification of the Koreas. And he’s there for a very important player in the South Korean political establishment. And he was very proud of his links to Monash, I’ve been briefed on them by the Australian Embassy in Seoul, and very proud of his PhD thesis. So, with the assistance of the Vice-Chancellor’s office, David Copolov, I asked: “Can you get me a copy of the PhD thesis of Dr Sim Jae-kwon?” And low and behold, with the usual efficiency of Monash University, here it is. 

The thesis of the man who is now a key player in South Korea in the government of President Moon. And this was written in 1994, but there are just a couple of little passages that I think are worth reading of how this man, now so influential, was thinking at that time. The title of the thesis is “Towards peace in the Korean Peninsula: nuclear deterrence and alternative security approaches”. So that’s what he was thinking about in 1994. 

And in his conclusions he wrote: “Nuclear deterrence assumes that both the deterrer and the deterred will weigh and assess rationally potential gains and costs. However, the history of war has witnessed many irrational political decision-makers and that may happen again. On the practical level, even for the enhancement of the credibility of the nuclear deterrence, even for the sake of more effective operation of nuclear deterrence itself, possibilities of nuclear warfighting and war-winning, including possibilities of various limited nuclear exchanges, have been stressed. 

Nuclear weapons have to be more usable. Nuclear war has to be more thinkable, and if possible, winnable. And not surprisingly, in that the massive destruction of one’s own society can never be allowed; and in that, in some sense, is meaningless to retaliate against an enemy’s military targets after the nuclear weapons located there have already been launched”. The strategic requirement of the pre-emptive strike has always been emphasised. And he went on to say “Human survival now requires a new thinking of security beyond the realist ideology. 

The strategy of nuclear deterrence should be given up, and nuclear weapons should be abolished. Instead, for the common prosperity of all human beings, a comprehensive security system should be provided”. And he went on “It appears that the US nuclear deterrence strategy in Korea has been a powerful stimulus to both South and North Korea to look into the possibility of nuclear...nuclear proliferation. 

Given the nuclear weapon free world, or a creation of a comprehensive security system still remains a distant prospect, in reality, ideas for nuclear-free zones appear to be more promising avenues of nuclear disengagement at the present time. And that is essential - what he said we should do.

One final thought has to be reported. On the seventh of the seventh 2017, in the General Assembly in New York, 122 nations of the world indicated their intention to ratify a new treaty. This new treaty, which you won't see much reported in our media, this new treaty is designed to make the position, use, and threat of use of nuclear weapons unlawful in international law. The nuclear powers and all of them have opposed this new treaty. Australia took no part in the discussion about the new treaty.

But 122 nations obviously concerned that waiting for the nuclear powers to do anything to dismantle the huge nuclear stockpiles that exist; just a few of which could do devastating damage to humanity, and to the planet, and to the biosphere, and to the survival of the species, leaving only in the words of Dr Shim “a world of insects and grass”.

122 nations have said we should begin the process to insist upon an end to this terrible peril; just in case we walk blindfolded or sleepwalking into a nuclear disaster. Our government has said we are locked at the rib with the United States of America. But when one sometimes reads the 2 am missives of the President of the United States of America, one sometimes thinks perhaps a little more circumspection and maybe a little more critical perspective is required for the sake of preserving the planet and defending the species.

And so this is the case of North Korea and South Korea. This is the National Assembly of South Korea. What a contrast between that country where they impeached, charged and removed a President from office, and conducted within two months a completely fair election and changed their administration, and brought in a new regime with a different philosophy. 

This week, President Moon had to give out the prize for the part of the Armed Forces on Armed Forces Day that was worthy of the prize as the most admirable portion of the Armed Forces. And he gave it to a part of the Navy. And the photos of him didn't show him in company with the Admirals, it showed him in the bows of the ships with the midshipmen, just mixing with them. It’s a very different message than the message that was given previously. And some will say “Don’t deal with them because they will abuse any leeway you give”. But others will say “Remember Sarajevo”.

Remember the First World War, Remember how easily pride got in the way; how it led to the mud of Gallipoli and of the Somme and of Passchendaele”. And somehow between those two approaches must be found a place for the human species and the planet, and the defence of all the beauties of the world: the music of J.S. Bach, and the wonder of Rembrandt, the magnificence of our poetry, the variety of humanity. Somehow we have to defend the species, and just "going on as usual" is not, I think, an option. 

And we’ve got to think about what happens next because in my judgement this is a very dangerous moment in human history. I’m sorry that that is a rather grim message, but you’ve come along, you’re here at quarter past nine, you wanted to have a speaker and you’ve got it. And I can’t give you a tweet or a message of happiness that everything’s going to get great again.

This is a very serious moment, and we have to react as a species and make sure that we adopt our critical faculty, and ensure that we don’t make the mistakes of the past.