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During his sixty-minute China Exchange interview, The Rt Hon Sir John Major KG CH discussed his experience, and the challenges he faced as the former Foreign Secretary and Prime Minister. He referred to his background, and what inspired and motivated him to become a politician.

Sir John said that when it came to policy negotiations, it is all formalities and almost all real negotiations happen outside of meetings. He specifically mentioned the ‘Social Chapter’ in the 1993 treaty where he successfully negotiated to opt out due to its “job destroying effect to the country”. He said, “the essence of negotiations is that both sides must try and meet.”

He talked about his brief 94 day period as Foreign Secretary, and said he regretted stepping down “because the world is an extraordinary place.” He added, “the world looks very different from the other side of the world than it does from sitting in your own country.”

Sir John said that being a Chancellor had been his dream since he was 13 years old. At the age of 7, his father lost his sight and was in debt. In order to pay off their debts, his family had to sell the bungalow they lived in and move in a multi occupied house in Brixton with two rooms between five of them. Reflecting on his past, Sir John said it might not have been an inspiration, but experiences like that are “certainly a motivation for what one does.”

When asked about his opinion on the impacts of social media in public policy formulation, Sir John expressed his worries and concerns. He believes the advent of social media has given modern politicians less time to think, “and it is a very great loss” in “constructive, worthwhile policy making.” Sir John finished by observing that the world is a very complex place “and you need to consider almost everything you do has implications in a whole series of different directions.”