Ed Balls and Ruth Davidson join the John Smith Centre for Public Service

Two leading UK public figures are to join the John Smith Centre for Public Service at the University of Glasgow, it was announced today (26 March 2018).

The Rt Hon Ruth Davidson MSP, Leader of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, and Rt Hon Ed Balls have been appointed to the Centre’s Management Board.

The Centre is a non-partisan hub for exploring ideas about public service, with a particular focus on politics. Through advocacy, debate and insight it aims to help restore trust in politicians and the ideal of public service as a noble vocation.

Promoting Public Service

Catherine Smith, the Chair of the John Smith Centre, said: “We are very pleased to welcome two outstanding people to our Board. Our mission is to work to promote the value of public service at a time when it has never been more important to the well-being of our country and society.

“To be effective we have to be cross partisan and our Board reflects that. Our next task is to recruit a Director for the Centre which will allow us to develop our existing projects and find new ways to excite the belief that public service can be a vital tool in using politics as a powerful force for good.

Ruth Davidson MSP said: “Public service and political representation are not easy jobs for anyone; but they are crucial to the well-being of us all. Restoring respect and value to the vocation is something that transcends party politics.

“It’s important that young people, no matter their background, know that politics and public service is open to them. Imbuing the next generation with the decency and integrity so embodied by John Smith is in the interests of us all. I am therefore delighted to accept this role and look forward to the work ahead.”

Ed Balls added: “It is a privilege for me to work to make good the values that John Smith stood for in a modern setting that needs them more than ever. Politics has the potential to transform people’s lives for the better.

“In times when sceptics often doubt the role of politicians, it’s even more important to support organisations like the John Smith Centre who are there to help promote the value and importance of public service.”

Biographies

Ruth Davidson is the Scottish Conservative MSP for Edinburgh Central and Leader of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party. Ruth was first elected to the Scottish Parliament in 2011, where she represented Glasgow. Following the resignation of predecessor Annabel Goldie, Ruth was elected leader of the party in November 2011. Before entering politics, Ruth worked in journalism for ten years, first in newspapers, before moving to radio and television. The majority of her time was spent at the BBC working in news and current affairs as a presenter, reporter and documentary maker.

Ed Balls, now a broadcaster, academic and football club chairman, held a number of positions in the UK government over a thirteen-year period (1997-2010), including Education Secretary (2007-2010) and the Treasury’s Chief Economic Adviser (1997-2004). He was a Labour Party and Co-operative MP for 10 years (2005-2015) and Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer (2011-2015). Before his time in politics, Ed was a teaching fellow at the Department of Economics at Harvard (1988-90) and a leader writer and columnist at the Financial Times (1990-94). Ed is currently Senior Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, Visiting Professor to the Policy Institute at King’s College London and Chairman of Norwich City Football Club.


John Smith Centre for Public Service

  • The John Smith Centre for Public Service is a non-partisan hub for exploring ideas and creating debate about public service in today’s complex world, with a particular focus on politics.
  • Our mission is to challenge modern perceptions of politicians and to raise the bar for all those elected to public office. Through advocacy, debate and insight we aim to help restore trust in politicians and the ideal of public service as a noble vocation.
  • We have the support of a wide range of organisations and individuals but rely on donations allow us to carry out our timely work and are always looking for new partners.
  • The Centre sits within the School of Social & Political Sciences at the University of Glasgow. Glasgow is one of the UK’s leading research institutions and is ranked in the top 1% of higher education institutions worldwide. Named Scottish University of the Year 2018 by The Times and The Sunday Times Good Universities Guide, the University of Glasgow has an annual research income of more than 180 million and is a member of the prestigious Russell Group, which is chaired by Glasgow Principal, Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli OBE.
  • The Centre’s Board is made up of Catherine Smith (Chair), Professor Anne Anderson OBE, Ed Balls, Dr Matt Carter, The Rt Hon Ruth Davidson MSP, David Muir, Baroness Smith of Gilmorehill and Andrew Wilson.