There is a small earthquake going on, but we can barely feel it yet – a cloud no bigger than a man’s hand. But it is below the radar of policy-makers.
It suggests that the force that will eventually take our struggling local economies by the scruff of their necks won’t be government grants or outside investment, but their own people.
Now, imagine if you will, that what holds policy-makers back from noticing this slow upsurge of local entrepreneurialism isn’t the Treasury, or legislation or intellectual doubts, or snobbery, or any of the other peculiarities of centralisation – it is a simple lack of stories.
What is needed, therefore, is to give the politicians what they need – a series of narratives, short stories, mini-novels, about what is actually happening on the ground.
So we travelled around the country, interviewed people – saw some of the success stories in action – and wrote them down. Not as formulaic case studies, but with all the gritty reality and the struggle and the problem-solving and the human issues too.
We are holding a seminar about ultra-local economics, story-telling and policy to mark the publication of Prosperity Parade. It is at 9am on Thursday 24 March (yes, over breakfast!). That is the last working day before devo-Manchester goes ahead.
- Aditya Chakrabortty from The Guardian is chairing. Speakers include:
- Professor Richard Sennett, author of The Fall of Public Man and The Craftsman.
- Baroness Kramer, Lib Dem economics spokesperson and a former member of the Banking Commission, set up after the 2008 crash.
- Lord Glasman, Blue Labour peer.
- Ed Mayo, chief executive of Co-ops UK.
- Conrad Parke, of the Right Care Right Here coalition, based around the new hospital in Sandwell, who is at the heart of one of the stories in the book.
The book is funded by Barrow Cadbury Trust and is a different kind of thinktank report, more bestselling novel than economic jargon.
It includes eight narratives and stories about real people doing extraordinary things with their local economy, with local banks, local energy, local purchasing, local food and a good deal else besides – demonstrating just what power the new entrepreneurial revolution might have, if only we recognised it.
The purpose of the book is to provide stories for politicians and policy-makers about ultra-local economic regeneration in action. The purpose of the seminar is to talk about the implications for policy of the emerging entrepreneurial revolution.
Can we turbo-charge it with national policies? How can local government support it? Or does it just have to be left alone to grow or not? These are some of the questions we will be addressing.
If you would like to come to the seminar, we would love to see you! Places are limited, so can you let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org