The grit in the machine, not a spanner in the works



When the MetroPolis team first sat down with our Chancellor, Lord Mandelson, we quickly settled on our purpose and the urgency of our task. Britain has voted to leave the European Union, the political centre ground has been vacated and there seems to be a growing global disdain for experts.

It’s not the ideal time to launch a think tank based on research in a modern university in the North of England. Coupled to that is a very real danger that important economic and social challenges will not receive sufficient attention and care from a government rather consumed – overwhelmed – with the challenge of delivering Brexit.

Yet if anything, at a city regional level and in the front line of public service delivery, there are real pockets of innovation and dynamism. And frankly, there has never been a more fertile marketplace for ideas.

We’ve produced MetroPolis magazine to accompany our launch, a platform for colleagues to be persuasive about their own passions for the issues they have devoted their lives to researching. At the core of the proposition is the belief that It’s a forum that will be , but we know where our role begins and ends.

Peter has been hugely supportive of what we are doing with MetroPolis, but he has been careful to encourage us all to keep a very tight focus on the ambition of what we want to achieve. We’re not a political party, or a campaign group. So the magazine isn’t a manifesto or an pamphlet calling for alternative programme of government.

It’s in the spirit of this University that we celebrate fresh thinking and a willingness to take risks. We’re not here to shout slogans, but to project thoughtful solutions and ideas to confront wicked problems. In so doing we want to provide some grit, some challenge, but not to be a spanner in the works.

This is our first magazine, highlighting a good spread of the work that colleagues are doing. More than anything we’re truly open to work with partners who want to find solutions to the problems of the time.


Michael Taylor, editor, MetroPolis magazine