UCL Policy Lab


Ordinary Hope: UCL-led coalition of leading voices outlines a plan for Britain’s national renewal

26 February 2024

A new publication from the UCL Policy Lab’s collaboration with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) sets out how politics can tackle Britain’s biggest challenges by drawing on the untapped strengths of communities right across the country.


Ordinary Hope: A New Way of Changing Our Country Together features work by a number of very prominent figures, including leading political advisors Claire Ainsley, Tom Baldwin and Luke Tryl; a former senior civil servant, Paul Kissack; a former cabinet minister, James Purnell; leaders of new campaign organisations and social enterprises, Emily Bolton and Chrisann Jarrett; and UCL academics, Marc Stears and Wendy Carlin.
As the lead author for the publication, Marc Stears said, “This inspiring group has come together to offer an alternative to the failed visions of grand political projects of recent years. Their work is radical and innovative, but also builds on the long history of bottom-up politics and organising that has often led to major change in the past.” 
In her interview in the publication, economics professor Wendy Carlin explains how an overly narrow focus on the power of the state and the private market has for too long distracted economists from fully appreciating the role that ordinary people can play in transforming the country’s economic fortunes. Carlin writes that by looking at the role of “civil society” in economic renewal, economists can learn to “recognise motivations of dignity, fairness and sustainability and help uncover drivers of growth and prosperity that lie beyond the confines of the restrictive state-market continuum.”
The project from which the publication comes is a partnership with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), whose mission is to help Britain overcome poverty. 
Graeme Cooke, Director of Policy at JRF, writes in the Foreword of the publication that the Foundation welcomes the innovative way in which UCL and JRF have brought together a diverse set of talents and expertise, which has been central to the success of the publication and provides a template for how we can convene across differences. 
The publication was launched at a special gathering of leaders from academia, philanthropy, media, community campaigning and business. Celebrated playwright, screenwriter with UCL Policy Lab Honorary Professor, James Graham as the guest speaker.
The full-list of contributors to the publication are Claire Ainsley, James Baggaley, Tom Baldwin, Nigel Ball, Emily Bolton, Wendy Carlin, Anoosh Chakelian, Graeme Cooke, Nick Hanauer, Yasmin Ibison, Chrisann Jarrett, Paul Kissack, Maff Potts, James Purnell, Marc Stears, Jon Stokes, Ian Taylor and Luke Tryl. Original photography was by Jørn Tomter.