30 Jan 2020 Gina Miller, Political Activist & Business Woman, Delivers A Speech To Newham Collegiate Sixth Form Centre (The NCS) Students
We were recently delighted to welcome Gina Miller to The NCS as part of our Lecture Programme. You can see the entire lecture below, read our report, and the student view.
During her 20 minute speech, Gina Miller spoke about her career, her actions against the City after the 2008 financial crisis, and her decision to take the Government and Prime Minister to the highest court in the land on two occasions. In October 2017, Powerlist named Ms Miller as the “UK’s most influential black person” which recognises those of African and African Caribbean heritage. She was also named number 26 on the list of most influential British Asians by GG2 Power List.
“I’ve been a campaigner for thirty years. You have to stand up when you see something wrong. It’s not about being courageous. It’s not about being brave. It’s actually knowing that when you feel in the pit of your stomach that something is not right, that somebody is being hurt, that somebody is being wronged; you have the power to do something about that … That is a power that each one of you has.”
Before coming to national prominence, Ms Miller worked in financial services, marketing and investment fund management, establishing the True and Fair Foundation in 2009. The foundation encouraged philanthropy and the later associated campaign called for wider transparency in hidden banking fees and product mis-selling.
“I have no problem with people being successful. But you give back to the society that makes you successful. You do it in a fair and honest way.”
Ms Miller spoke about how this earned her a reputation amongst her peers and the press, reactions included disparaging nicknames and comments both in person and print.
“I discovered that in a world of deceit … the most revolutionary thing you can do is to speak the truth. It frightens people.”
She commented on how this era of big business and their unfair practices sowed the seeds of division in our society. Still, she continued to campaign in the face of this resistance citing common decency as something that was rooted in her being.
“Wherever you are … if you see somebody that’s fallen down or is crying on a bench, you have the responsibility to stop and ask them, ‘How are you?’ Those could be the most powerful words you utter to that person. Because it shows that somebody cares, that they’re not alone.”
After being involved in the EU referendum campaign – arguing for remain and reform – Ms Miller ensured that our nation’s politicians played fairly. Her 2016 High and Supreme Court cases challenged the Government’s authority to Invoke Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union using prerogative powers, a case which she won.
“We won, not because I was doing anything radical, or because I was saying anything political. I won because it was the simplest case of constitutional law.”
This ruling set a precedent which mandated a role for Parliament in the UK’s exit from the European Union. The case brought her to national prominence. Again she found resistance, this time from wider factions of society, she spoke of how this has changed life for her and her family.
Continuing, she talked about “Miller 2” which saw her take further legal action against Boris Johnson’s government for their extended prorogation of parliament in August 2019, citing it as unconstitutional. Along with other parties, this case was again won, changing the course of the nation. Ms Miller reinforced why she took these actions and why our students should all be active participants in politics.
“Politics is about policy. And policy is about people. It is not something remote. It is something you should not be interested in. It is the very thing you should be interested in. Because if you are not, other people decide how your life will be led.”
After finishing her speech, Ms Miller spent just over half an hour taking questions from our student body. Not only did NCS students learn first hand about this important and defining era in our country’s history but they also found inspiration to stand up and speak truth to power. Everyone at The NCS thanks Ms Miller for her time and generosity in engaging with our students.
“You can change things. It’s not about how big you are, or how successful you are. It’s about how passionate you are to do the right thing. You all have the ability to do that.”
Video - watch the full lecture
The Student View
“Gina Miller was a true inspiration and it was wonderful for her to come and share her work regarding the two Supreme Court victories which held the Government to account. Her work shows that regardless of their background, anyone can take an active part in legislation.”
“The Gina Miller visit was a great insight and development of our understanding of modern politics and allowed us to really understand in great depth and detail the importance of the events that had unfolded during the Supreme Court case.”
“After having met Gina Miller it has helped me to understand that I will be able to combine my interests of Politics and Law in the future which was something I was not previously aware of. It has inspired me to use my career as a lawyer to pursue a greater cause like attempting to uphold democracy through the letter of the law.”
“I found the talk by Gina Miller incredibly insightful, and was honoured to meet her. We learnt about the importance of whistle blowers and revelations about the events in Downing Street, during an important period in political history. It has inspired confidence in me to stand up for what I believe in.”