5 Big Questions: ANDY BURNHAM


At what point does politics stop being about names, and more about numbers?

Why should we focus on life-readiness in education and skills?

Is a love of poetry a pre-cursor to good leadership?

And what does his mum think of actors playing him on TV?


In this week’s 5 Big Questions interview we talk to former cabinet minister, campaigner and the first Mayor of Greater Manchester, ANDY BURNHAM



Known for:

  • Mayor – Greater Manchester
  • Former MP for Leigh (Labour)
  • Former Chief Secretary to the Treasury
  • Former Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport
  • Former Secretary of State for Health
  • Former President, Rugby Football League

The 5 Big Questions:

    1. How do you measure the impact of what you do?
    2. How should people/businesses be preparing for the future?
    3. How do we build the workforce we need for that future?
    4. How do you use creativity to solve problems?
    5. How do you collaborate?

Key quotes

“It should all be about names, not numbers, and capturing the real difference that we make for identifiable people in the areas that we live.”

“The idea that you can run everything out of one postcode in Westminster, if it ever was true, well it’s certainly not true now.”

“Life-readiness to me means, yes, technical skills, academic qualifications, but it’s much, more than that.”

“As Health Secretary I could see numbers, not names, as I peered out of the Department of Health with my telescope, looking at the rest of the country. As Mayor of Greater Manchester I can start with names, not numbers, and there is a world of difference between those two starting points.”

“If you build collaboration from the bottom up, that is the way to make more impactful, meaningful change than any top-down government initiative that may come along. And actually, when you then go to government, to say well look, this is what we’re doing and we need help, I think it puts you in a stronger position to secure that help.”

Useful links:

This episode was recorded in January 2022

Interviewer: Richard Freeman for always possible

Editor: CJ Thorpe-Tracey for Lo Fi Arts


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