Ladies  and  gentlemen,

It is with joyful anticipation and some trepidation that I face my first luncheon as chairman. Please forgive me the inevitable mistakes I will make in the coming months (no doubt you will train me along the way!).

We have an interesting agenda for the summer:

This month there will not be a speaker; however, we will be joined by senior members of GNE (Genootschap Nederland-Engeland). During the lunch we plan to debate the recent cessation of BBC World Service in Benelux, and our reaction to it. If you have views on this subject, or would like to meet our GNE visitors, please do make the effort to attend. We will enjoy the culinary and aesthetic delights of the Apollo terrace if it is warm and sunny.

In August, we will up sticks and relocate once again to the Dutch International Cricket Ground, where John Richardson has been kind enough not only to organize a lunch, but also a cricket clinic for those who would like to hone their skills. I’m afraid that in my case it would require a full resuscitation team.

And in September we have the golf trophy challenge cup, courtesy of Inder Singh. This will be held at the Haarlemmermeersche GC in Cruquius on the 16th September at 1230, followed by a dinner at the club at 1800 for both players and non-players alike. Please let me know on if you will attend in either capacity.

Enough of the CADS issues, and on to the wider world. By the time you read this, I expect the dreadful Rebekah Brooks will have resigned in shame and disgrace from the cesspit of News International she has created with Robert Murdoch and his son. Various police officers, including a senior one, will have been charged with corruption, and the practices of the British press will be in the same sewer as UK politicians’ expenses and Iraq’s WMDs. David Cameron will emerge tarnished, but still with a shiny Eton coat, despite the arrest of his chief PR man Andy Coulson on bribery charges. And will limp on for another 3 years before losing the next election.

As the halcyon days of a Dutch summer get underway, we can thank God that there are still some diverse, interesting and fundamentally decent people left in the world, and that we are meeting for a good lunch!