What is this blogsite for?

In brief, my blog posts could be about anything. But I will focus on politics, public policy, government and public administration; organisations and how they work (or don’t); and belief. Sometimes I’ll write commentary about recent events, usually in a shorter format. And sometimes I might write quite personal stuff about things that interest me or move me.

Who am I?

My name is Roger Hutton. I retired from the British Civil Service in 2020 after 32 years, more than half that time spent as a Senior Civil Servant.

Most of my career was spent in the Ministry of Defence, but I also had spells in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the Home Office and the NHS, as well as a year on secondment to the private sector and two-and-a-half years as a househusband.

My final posting in the MOD was as Director International Security; before that, I was Director Chilcot, responsible for learning the lessons of the Iraq Inquiry (Chilcot) Report and implementing consequential change. Among other things, this led to a range of ‘anti-groupthink’ initiatives, including the Guide to Reasonable Challenge and various education and training interventions; and to the publication of a handbook for operational policy professionals called The Good Operation.

My earlier career encompassed defence strategy, strategic planning, transformation, defence reform, operational policy, international security policy, finance, digital, arts policy and corporate governance. Before that, I wrote a PhD on defence acquisition; completed Masters in International Relations and Science Policy respectively; and graduated in Physics, with a European Studies minor (my scientific education is fundamental to how I think) . I speak fluent German. I’m an Honorary Associate Professor at the Strategy and Security Institute of the University of Exeter.

I was senior champion for the non-religious/humanist (NR/H) in UK Defence; and am now President of Defence Humanists, a section of Humanists UK dedicated to supporting NR/H serving armed forces personnel, veterans and their families. I was also MOD LGBT+ champion for a while. Diversity and inclusion are very important to me.

As for personal life, I like spending time with family; walking in the mountains (or failing that the countryside); following Charlton Athletic; skiing; singing; and listening to music, mostly classical, but I’m open-minded. I come from a very ordinary background, growing up in rural Devon, and that’s important in how I see the world and in what I’ll write.

Why the site’s name?

‘This page left intentionally blank’ is my favourite nonsensical and paradoxical bureaucratic phrase. There’s something of the Zen koan in it, like ‘what is the sound of one hand clapping?’ Needless to say, the point of the blog is not to leave pages blank, intentionally or otherwise.

Why ‘rogerxhutton’?

The site’s URL is ‘rogerxhutton.com’, which comes from time in one organisation in which there were two Roger Huttons, so I was required to introduce an ‘x’ into the middle of my email address. I used this in establishing my Twitter feed (@rogerxhutton), so it felt appropriate to maintain that ‘brand’ and use it here as well.


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