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Centre for Geopolitics

Providing historically grounded approaches to enduring geopolitical problems

From Covid-19 to the fall of Kabul, the last few years have seen the British government forced to respond to a number of major crises that required a co-ordinated response, bringing together different government departments and areas of expertise. In our current times of increasingly geopolitical tension, the number of these crises is only going to increase, with issues in every region, from Eastern Europe to the Middle East to the Indo-Pacific. It is therefore vital that we understand a numbr of key questions: how does the UK government marshal expertise in times of crisis, and make decisions that span government departments, both national and devolved? How do politicians gain access to the information they need, and how can they feel confident in their decisions? What do we do now, and what could we do better?

Following this term’s Geopolitical simulation, which will look at the potential impact of a nuclear accident in the Baltic Sea Region, this panel will bring together participants in the simulation with experience working at the highest levels of government to explore these questions. It will explore the official structures of emergency decision-making in the UK, how they work in practice, and where there is room for improvement. Particular areas of focus include the relationship between those with foreign policy-focused and domestic responsibilities, and the role of scientific expertise in government decision-making. As we move towards the next UK general election, it is all the more important to ask: what does the UK government do well in its response to crises, and what could it do better?


  • Douglas Alexander (former cabinet minister)
  • Air Vice-Marshal (Ret'd) Mike Hart (Senior Associate Fellow, RUSI)
  • Suzanne Raine (Centre for Geopolitics, University of Cambridge)
  • Dr Hugo Bromley (Centre for Geopolitics, University of Cambridge)

This event will be followed by a drinks reception.

Register to attend via EventBrite

Please note that this event is being photographed and videoed, and both may be published on the Centre's website and YouTube channel. We may also use the photos and videos for the purpose of promoting the Centre’s activities to the media, within publications and online. If you do not wish to appear in either, please speak to a member of the Centre for Geopolitics team present on the day.

Monday, 11 December, 2023 - 17:00
Event location: 
The Keynes Library, Cambridge Union, 9A Bridge St, Cambridge CB2 1UB