I hosted an event this week at the Digital World Centre opposite the Lowry in Salford Quays. I interviewed Rod Aldridge on stage, a very intriguing character. There's a lot of underlying anger with him, he's perfectly pleasant and warm and funny and I certainly think we had a decent rapport. But his missionary zeal for doing things for young people through his foundation runs deep with him; he says he's "angry" about how he came so close to wasting his life. We talked for a good hour, and took some excellent questions - we covered a fair amount of ground; the Labour party, the Conservatives, his background, Capita, entrepreneurship, public service reforms, the civil service, dance, the arts, the BBC, education and social breakdown. But through it all is a strong sense of purpose. He's a straight up bloke who's done well for himself, but wants to put something back on his terms.
I'll post a link on here when I write it up a bit more in a wider piece I'm putting together on what this "big society" might look like. Is is it a gimmick, or the radical alternative to bloated state?
In the meantime, there's some good things about him here.