Story telling might lead to economic revolution

It is extraordinary how compartmentalised everything is – especially when we are campaigning in local elections.

We, few of us, who know a little about the way public responsibilities are demarcated between different layers of government, have a kind of sense of corrosive superiority as we expect campaigners to demand the right reform from the right level.

But partly this is just a function of sclerotic centralisation. The Treasury has a crushing monopoly on economic policy because, well – it always has.

Partly because of that, and because there is almost no local economic data collected about where money flows (the exception is bank lending to postal district level, forced on the banks by Lib Dem peers in 2012) – Whitehall doesn’t see the economic innovations at local level.

And in particular, they don’t see the emergence of a new generation of local entrepreneurs who are no longer prepared to wait patiently for the Chinese to invest or the government to give them a grant – and are trying to transform their local economies a bite at a time.

One reason policy-makers don’t see this emerging local revolution – in local banking, local energy, local enterprise, local food – is that they collect no data. Another reason is that there are so few stories doing the rounds.

Stories are the stock-in-trade among national politicians. Without them, they don’t see things. So my colleagues and I went to meet the new entrepreneurs to tell their stories – of big ideas and hurdles and re-thought plans and frustration and success and the difference it can make.

Not as dry thinktank case studies, but to tell their stories in depth. The result is a book of eight stories, Prosperity Parade, funded by the Barrow Cadbury Trust, and a showcase to what is really going on at the front line of economic innovation.

I hope that politicians, local and national, will not just read them – that they’ll go on to tell them too.

* David Boyle is a former Lib Dem parliamentary candidate and the author of Tickbox (Little, Brown). You can buy the book from Hive or Amazon.

Read more by or more about , or .
This entry was posted in News.
Advert

One Comment

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • Joe Bourke
    We should not use the term cultural genocide lightly without recognising that once confirmed there is a responsibility to protect. Raphael Lemkin, who first coi...
  • Helen Dudden
    I believe local councils should be able to have some influence over local affairs like housing and planning. In Bath, the situation in student housing now over...
  • Helen Dudden
    John Marriott. Of course, not telling the truth matters. To lie or not tell the truth, not state the situation, as it should be told....
  • Brad Barrows
    I’m sure others will disagree with me but, to me, real sporting bravery is when a professional footballer misses a penalty and yet is able to give 100% commit...
  • John Marriott
    As someone who was involved in first class sport, albeit in the largely amateur 1960s, I know what pressure sportspeople can be under, especially in the profess...