Three principles for public engagement

Martin Kettle promotes three Ts for public engagement – truth, transparency and trust – in his incisive article on how new ideas challenge institutional rigidities (Lo que sucedió en la BBC y la policía del Met muestra los peligros del pensamiento grupal, 24 junio).

A three-legged stool provides stability and the Christian trinity is core to faith. Let me add my favourite threesome gained from long experience as an engineering teacher and researcher in several British universities: creativity, tenacity and generosity (CTG).

New ideas appear in our universities all the time. They result in great novelties and innovations. They reveal past, current and future realities, new ways of thinking and of wellbeing. Arguably, our universities are the jewels in the British crown.

I learned about engineering in a vocational setting, and such settings do need to be far more strongly supported. But politicians should allow British universities to be properly financed, remain core to our culture and be largely unfettered. The country and the world need independent thinkers, doers and risk takers. The market is a poor guide to the future.

The three Ts – yes of course – but CTG allows one to go with the flow of life as it evolves, removing rigidities and allowing one to engage with complexities. Institutions and organisations – please respond with CTG.
Barry Jones
Emeritus professor, Brunel University London

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