I had a busy day on Monday. As well as a client meeting in Preston and my nightmare train journeys, I had to be back in London to a deadline in order to make another business meeting.
Following that particular piece of stress (the return train was also delayed), I just had time to whizz across to London's Clubland (that's St James's, not Vauxhall...) to attend a talk being given by Steve Forbes, the Editor-in-Chief of Forbes magazine and two-time candidate for the Republican nominee for president. I went along with Andrew, who has also blogged about it.
Although my primary reason for going was the topic (his argument for the introduction of a flat tax), I must also admit that the chance to hear someone who got pretty close to running for president speak is not something that happens every day.
My mind is not made up on the flat tax and I'm not sure he advanced any arguments I hadn't already heard. However, the evening was still a big success and this was down to his mind-bogglingly large knowledge of economics and politics around the world.
The depth of his knowledge was astounding. He out-argued knowledgeable Brits on subtleties of early-eighties British politics and was able to give wide-ranging answers to questions that compared and contrasted the situations in multiple countries in multiple continents without sounding like he was showing off or trying to make cheap points.
The event itself had an interesting format. The host (from The London Junto) clearly knew a lot of people in the audience (e.g. Eamonn Butler from the ASI) and brought them in from time to time to add their perspective. I didn't warm to that approach at first but, with hindsight, I could see that it added a dimension to the discussion that is lacking when the audience is entirely anonymous.
All in all, an interesting evening.
[EDITED 2006-12-08 09:16. I spelled Eamonn Butler's name incorrectly - now fixed. He has blogged about the event here.