Who and Why

My name is Paddy. I’m old enough to have lived and worked a bit, in the UK and overseas, and I’m young enough to have a good chunk of life and work left in me, fingers crossed. I am a husband and a father.

I’d like to think that I’m relatively well-informed about the world. I read, watch, listen, engage. I’ll take a view without, I hope, being overly opinionated or dogmatic. I’m aware enough to know that we face a whole host of complex and difficult challenges, nationally, as organisations, and as communities and individuals, and that how we address these challenges will have a big impact on our success and well-being going forward. I also know there are some amazing people out there, doing some amazing things to meet these challenges. As a natural optimist, that feels good.

But I’m also worried. I worry that information and knowledge are becoming a matter of choice or opinion rather than a matter of fact or evidence. I worry that an aggressive, partisan, ‘my way or the highway’ approach risks becoming common currency, squeezing out respectful, informed dialogue and debate. I worry about the quality of the decisions that are made in this context and the risk of a lack of legitimacy and support for those decisions. I worry about the negative influence all this is likely to have on the younger generations, our future leaders and decision-makers. Ultimately, I worry that we are losing trust both in the ‘system’ and in the people that operate within it, those that make and influence the decisions that affect us all.

And trust is vital to the health of our society, democracy and economy. To be successful over the long-term (is there an alternative timeframe?) there needs to be a positive, trusting relationship across all aspects of society, not least between those that influence and make decisions, our public leaders, and those impacted on by those decisions as citizens. We don’t necessarily have to agree with a decision, but for society to be healthy we do need to be able to trust and respect the process and the people involved. Do we currently? The evidence suggests not. And if loss of trust is a lagging indicator of societal health, then I fear things are likely to get worse.

That is not something that I am prepared to sit on the side-lines and risk happening. Which is why I’ve started ‘The Campaign’. At its heart, The Campaign has an ambition to ‘systemically and deliberately build trustworthiness and trust in and between our public leaders, institutions and citizens’. It’s a big ambition. Is it achievable? I don’t know, but it’s important enough to try.

And, if we can build that trust, I believe that we have the collective capability, knowledge, experience and ambition to find the best, most brilliant 21st century solutions to deal with our 21st century problems, at the level of community, organisation, region and nation. That’s surely something worth striving for.

If you’ve read this far you must be at least a little bit interested. Thank you. I hope you’ve registered your support on The Campaign website - please do so if you haven't. If you would like to engage with The Campaign at a deeper level, you can email me at paddy@thecampaign.org.uk. I’ve no idea what sort of response I might get, but I’ll try to get back to you within a reasonable timeframe. You can also find out more about me and my background here: www.linkedin.com/in/paddyradcliffe.

Paddy Radcliffe