Opinion and Editorial from the Policy Exchange team.
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Britain in the World Research Fellow Gabriel Elefteriu discusses further implications of the North Korea crisis, noting that there is “no historical precedent for the present crisis, and attempting to apply ‘lessons’ from the past is extremely dangerous in these circumstances.” War “could be catastrophic in material and geopolitical terms, with incalculable evolutions and consequences” but the crisis is likely to force the US to devote even more resources to the Pacific, with consequences for its strategic posture in other parts of the world.
Matt Rooney, Policy Exchange’s Energy and Environment Research Fellow – argues that marrying the visions for CCS and hydrogen manufacture could bring multiple benefits to the UK.
Ray Bassett – Policy Exchange’s Senior Fellow on EU Affairs – argues that the economic interests of Ireland are more closely aligned with the UK than the EU. As such Ireland should consider leaving the EU too.
Richard Ekins, Head of Policy Exchange’s Judicial Power Project, addresses the way in which Lord Neuberger — the outgoing President of the Supreme Court — has called for Parliament to tell our judges very clearly how rulings of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) are to be dealt with after Brexit.
John Blake — Policy Exchange’s Head of Education and Social Reform — enters the ongoing discussion about the ‘ever-vexed’ topic of university access. He argues that, regardless of the rising number of young people going on to higher education, ‘an 18-year-old from a disadvantaged background, indeed from any background, should face a choice beyond either a university place they may not really want (even on the generous loan terms we have) and nothing’.
Alistair Burt, the Foreign Office Minister, has been engaging with political Islamists during his recent tour of the Middle East. Sir John Jenkins — former British Ambassador to Saudi Arabia and co-author of the Government’s Muslim Brotherhood Review of 2015 — looks at the lamentable historical record of such attempts at outreach, what to expect from them and how they could be improved.
Policy Exchange Chief Economist – and former Special Adviser to the Northern Ireland First Minister – Graham Gudgin responds to Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s proposals for the Irish Border to be moved to the Irish Sea after Brexit. Gudgin states that this new tough line from Dublin on the Irish Border is an unhelpful change of direction on an already complex issue — and that Varadkar’s decision to cease work on a potential electronic Border is particularly unwelcome. Moreover, his call in Belfast for the UK to negotiate a bespoke customs unions deal with the EU would require a special dispensation from the EU to allow the UK to agree new trade deals with third countries. This would be a major departure from EU practice — and is unlikely to be agreed.
Michael Taylor — Policy Exchange’s Economics Research Fellow — considers whether it’s right to assume that migration has a positive effect on productivity and living standards. He assesses the UK’s recent experience in terms of population expansion and the growth rate of GDP per head, before concluding that what ultimately matters is living standards, and that the UK’s performance has been ‘disappointing in recent years’.
Warwick Lightfoot — Policy Exchange’s Director of Research and Head of Economics and Social Policy — reflects on the latest reports from the United States, which show that its economy continues to expand steadily while unemployment continues to fall and the number of jobs increases. He contends that on the estimates given, the American economy ‘is at full employment and policy makers should be considering removing sources of stimulus from aggregate monetary demand, rather than looking to increase demand’.
Former leading Irish Ambassador Ray Bassett — now Policy Exchange’s Senior Fellow for EU Affairs — examines the state of play in Brexit negotiations so far. Dr. Bassett notes that little progress has been made on key three issues that are holding up the negotiations – reciprocal rights of EU and UK citizens, the Brexit Divorce Bill and the Irish border. However, he suggests that there is less unanimity in the EU27 position than appears on surface and that the new Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, may dissent from the official EU position on the need to establish a customs border. Ultimately, as negotiations continue, the power of decision will shift from Brussels to Berlin, suggesting that pragmatism and self-interest may prevail, with a good trading relationship prioritised over the desire to punish the UK for leaving.