I’ve been here since the beginning of 2016. I’m a professor of public policy and the director of the Institute for Policy Research (IPR) which is the University’s institute dedicated to teaching and research on public policy, and engagement with policymakers.
What would you most like to achieve while at the University?
I want the IPR to become recognised nationally and internationally as leading centre of research into public policy and to promote the public good in everything it does.
What piece of advice would you like to give to a student?
The simple advice: enjoy yourself and get the best out of your time at university because it’s a really precious period in your life.
Who was your most influential teacher/educator, and why?
It would be a Berlin-born public intellectual called George Lichtheim who came to Britain in the post-war period and wrote books on continental political theory. I read his A Short History of Socialism and Marxism as a teenager, and they were really influential for me. He was very fluent writer with a great intellectual range and he opened up a number of doors for me.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Originally a pilot, but it became pretty quickly clear that I wasn't going to end up there.
What’s the one thing you know now that you wish you’d known when you were younger?
Probably that a lot of what you take for granted in life and in politics is not as stable or enduring as you thought. And that you must constantly renew the foundations of what you know.
What was your first job?
I was a driver’s mate for a soft drinks company. It was my job to help the driver deliver crates of fizzy drinks to shops across East Anglia and it involved catching crates as they were thrown down at me from the lorry. I had loads of bruises in the first week.
If you could start your own dream business, what would it be?
I’m not sure about running a business, though if someone gave me a vineyard, I wouldn’t say no. If I had been given different skills and abilities in life, I would have chosen architecture as a profession. I greatly admire architects, if not all their works.
What’s your favourite album and why?
Revolver by The Beatles. 1966 was a vintage year for popular music. Revolver is more musically innovative than Sgt Pepper and Lennon and McCartney were at the peak of their songwriting abilities (Harrison’s best stuff came later). It also hangs together very well as an album. I grew up listening to it.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
That’s for me to know and others to find out.
Tell us your favourite joke.
Why was the broom late for school? Because he over-swept. (That was my son’s first joke).
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