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How Britain has changed in my lifetime - a talk at Dean Trust Ardwick School

My home city Manchester, and the rest of the UK, have been transformed for the better in the last 70 years.


Presented 17 February 2023. Posted 25 August 2023

I regularly speak to schools on behalf of the charity Speakers for Schools.

In February I gave a talk to Dean Trust Ardwick School which is within walking distance of where I grew up in the 1950's. They asked me to repeat a talk I have given at other schools which I updated for data from the 2021 census.

You can watch it below. After the talk, the pupils had some very wide-ranging questions on my journey through life.


Presentation outline

  1. History / Your lifetime
  2. Measurable things - Seven sets of numbers
    1. Economic change
    2. Education levels
    3. Technology
    4. Television
    5. Travel
    6. Ethnic diversity
    7. Religious diversity
  3. What the numbers mean
  4. Q&A


How the presentation was recorded

My first presentation recording was done on the spur of the moment, just putting my iPhone 6 on the table and relying on its built in microphone. See my page Lecture: One Muslim’s Perspective on Religious Freedom.

Once I found recording presentations worthwhile, I purchased a high quality Sennheiser digital lapel microphone which plugs into the lightning port of my iPhone. That produces a much better recording.

The slides

I am happy to share the original PowerPoint slide presentation.

As you will see when watching the video, slide 11 at time 5:36 mentions my website article "Richer than Pharaoh."

During slide 13 at time 17:17, I mention less well educated old people voting for Brexit in 2016. I covered the differences between "Leave" and "Remain" voters in the 2016 EU Referendum in some detail in my talk at Manchester Cathedral "Brexit and the rise of the far-right."

The question and answer session

The question and answer session was also recorded. However, I am not publishing the full audio recording for two main reasons:

  1. While the sound quality of my responses is very clear, the questioners were some distance from the microphone. Accordingly, in many cases their questions are almost inaudible.
  2. I respect the privacy of those asking the questions. I do not have their written consent to publish their recordings. In many cases, I do not even know who they were, so cannot seek permission.

Instead, I have listened to the Q&A session and, where I regard a question as worth sharing, have written down a condensed version of the question. I have then published the audio of my answer.
As you will see, none of the questions directly related to the subject of my talk. Instead the students were more interested in what they could learn from my life story.

1. Have you ever done an IQ test? What would your score be?

Recording of my 3-minute answer

2. Have you ever experienced any discrimination in your life and how did you deal with it?

Recording of my 1½-minute answer

3. What kind of work in the community did you do to merit an MBE? How did you feel when you were honoured by the Queen?

Recording of my 1-minute answer

4. Out of all your life events, which has been the most memorable and which has been the most significant to you?

Recording of my 2-minute answer

5. Who has inspired you the most and who is your biggest supporter?

Recording of my 1½-minute answer

6. What advice would you give to those who want to follow in your footsteps?

Recording of my 1½-minute answer

My reply mentions the 1977 Wimbledon Semi-final match Bjorn Borg v Vitas Gerulaitis.

7. Do you recommend investing?

During my answer, I explained why I gave up gambling at the age of 16!

Recording of my 1½-minute answer

8. Do you recommend investing in Bitcoin?

During my answer, I mention my article "My views on cryptocurrency."

Recording of my 20-second answer

9. With the background that you started from, how have you become so smart?

Recording of my 1½-minute answer

10. Do you prefer Manchester as it was when you were growing up, or Manchester as it is now?

Recording of my 1-minute answer

11. As there were so few Muslims in the UK or in Manchester, what chance did you have to learn about your religion when growing up?

In my response I mentioned how I missed the opportunity to see Malcolm X when he visited my mosque.

Recording of my 1-minute answer

12. Since you have lived here since 1952, what other countries have you visited?

Recording of my 1-minute answer

13. If you hadn’t pursued the career that you did, what else would you have been interested in doing?

Recording of my 1-minute answer

14. Do you think that higher education is a good idea?

Recording of my 1½-minute answer


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