As an economic researcher and policy-maker for the 30+ years of my working life, I’m interested in how economies work, how jobs are created and who those jobs go to. Especially why some places have more good jobs than others, or why some people have no work (or badly-paid work) when others earn loads. And in how we can get to improve the chances of the people and places that are currently not doing so well.
This trip is a chance for me to look at countries in the rest of the EU to see how their industries and job markets work – and where they’re more successful than in the UK, what are the are lessons that we can learn from our European friends.
I’ll also be looking at how they are coping with some of the big trends that are common to a lot of countries, especially since the 2008 recession, and at what is being lost and gained by the decline of older industries and the rise of new, more flexible – and often more precarious – forms of work.
Why ‘uncomplicated’? Well, many of the subjects I write about depend on the analysis of a lot of numbers, which I know that some people find pretty dull or confusing. And a lot of economic writing uses jargon to try to impress or confuse the reader. I always try to avoid jargon, and I’ll do my best to make the numbers as straightforward and interesting as possible (I promise!)
I’m also interested in music, politics, football and the fact that I’ll be spending large parts of the next 365 days driving, sleeping in and generally hanging around in our motorhome – so some or all of these things are also likely to crop up from time to time!