Lord Heseltine urged the new Heseltine Institute of Public Policy and Practice (HIPPP) to ensure “truth is the top priority, however uncomfortable” at last night’s launch event.
Speaking to invited guests at the Camp and Furnace in Liverpool’s Baltic Quarter, the former Deputy Prime Minister praised the city and said that, while leadership had played a role, its resurgence was “built on the talent of Liverpudlians”.
He spoke of his “deep personal emotion” for the region, and the “quixotic nature” of events that led to his involvement and continuing place in the city’s history.
Lord Heseltine said: “When I look back now, I think the idea of cementing the partnership between the public and private sector was game changing. At that time, they hated each other, they were on the top of mountains shouting abuse across the valleys, but when you made them work together it completely changed. It was the beginning of one of the most significant transformations in an urban environment since Victorian days.”
When the riots occurred in 1981, Lord Heseltine said he “felt a personal responsibility” and wanted to show that “not everything in Liverpool would go down”.
Encouraging those assembled to “back enterprise”, he clarified that this was “not just about the private sector, but about personal attainment, personal satisfaction and the methods and attitudes with which to secure those goals”. He spoke of the headteacher who takes on a failing school, or the social worker that goes beyond the call of duty, as examples.
Referring to the Institute launched in his name, he said: “Pushing for more improvements is not popular, so I hope popularity will be at the bottom of its priorities. Truth should be at the top, however uncomfortable, however much you are resented, however much pressure is brought to bear. I hope that you are starting out on a journey of ambition, and I shall watch on from afar with great affection.”
The launch was followed by the last in the current series of HIPPP’s Policy Provocations debates. Asking Should we loosen our green belts? the panel featured discussion between Friends of the Earth’s Naomi Luhde-Thompson; Professor Ian Wray of the Town and Country Planning Association; Dave Rudlin, Director, URBED (Urbanism Environment and Design) Trust and James Heartfield, Director of the think-tank Audacity.org.
To read a storify of the debate, live tweeted throughout by @livuniheseltine, visit: http://bit.ly/1e5iHbT