Big Ideas Report II

bigtent ideas2

This is a record of some of the ideas that emerged from what was a wonderful, sweltering weekend of debate and discussion in Bristol’s Queen Square.

Bristol is a very mixed city, with areas of great affluence alongside some of the poorest and most diverse wards in England.

This is reflected in the diversity of Bristol’s politics: it is in some ways the capital city of new thinking and new ideas. So it was very appropriate to set up there – and to take our places for our leaders’ summit, on
the regeneration of British cities, not just in Bristol, but across the nation.

The hundreds of people who came along to our Big Tent festival the following day were treated to a smorgasbord of policy discussion – without rancour or political hang-ups – led by some of the leading politicians in the UK, like George Freeman, Science Minister and Big Tent founder and COP26 president Alok Sharma, Thangam Debonnaire and Anneliese Dodds, and Ed Davey and Vince Cable.

One of the most extraordinary people I met during the days we spent there was Anika Mistry, Bristol’s youth mayor. She was just 14 but she was bright and articulate – she had something to say and she knew how to say it.

She confessed during the questions for one session that she had never come across –either the phrase – ‘imposter syndrome’ before.

I found that hopeful and rather moving. That, uniquely, Anika had never had to worry that she was out of her depth in public, or having to act a role, fears that beset so many people in public life. And she was only fourteen.

So that, once again, George Freeman and Baroness Morgan’s original vision for the Big Tent came alive in Bristol, despite the way that political ideologies have been driving everyone apart across the world. For two days, ideas and innovations – wherever they came from – ruled.

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