Opinion and Editorial from the Policy Exchange team.
Choose A Category
Arts and Culture
Demography, Immigration and Integration
Crime and Justice
Demography, Immigration and Integration
Economics and Social Policy
Environment and Energy
French Presedential Election
Foreign Policy and Security
Government and Politics
Housing and Urban Regeneration
Security and Extremism
Brandon Lewis, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, in the briefest of Commons statements this week, announced a “statute of limitations, to apply equally to all Troubles-related incidents”. To understand how radical this move was, you need only look at his predecessor’s 2014 Stormont House Agreement – and the misguided reaction, yesterday, from Ireland’s foreign minister, Simon Coveney, who wrongly claimed that the announcement was a breach of the UK’s international obligations.
Should a government provide subsides and intervene in the economy? This is an area of focus and some controversy following the recent decision to provide a government subsidy to Nissan and intervention to aid the steel sector.
One could be forgiven for thinking that the biggest criticism of such government intervention was from those arguing to reduce the size of the state. Government spending is, after all, at high levels, and the tax take, in relation to the size of the economy, at an all-time high. In fact, the biggest criticisms appeared to be from those wishing we were still in the EU, or so it seemed. Notwithstanding that, what is the issue?
What should we make of the Batley and Spen by-election, won by Labour with a majority of just 323 votes? The victory, slim though it may be, is a credit to Kim Leadbeater who – with a gutsy campaign – has proved her doubters wrong and done her sister, the late Jo Cox, proud.
This was a good news week for the City and for the UK’s levelling up agenda. Nissan’s announcement of a significant investment in Sunderland was an important moment. Not just in terms of the jobs it will safeguard and create, but also given the specific and numerous warnings made regarding the company’s future during the Referendum. It was a watershed moment, further showing that Project Fear has not materialised and that now is the time to look ahead to recognise the immense policy focus that is needed to ensure strong, sustained growth.
If you were at school in Barnsley in the 1970s, you would have had a sense of sitting on top of one of the most important coalfields in Europe, and one that was helping to power your country. If you were a boy who was not academically gifted, you would have almost certainly walked straight into an apprenticeship and then into a reasonably well-paid skilled or semi-skilled manual job.
Churchill College has made a wise decision in closing down the working group on Churchill, Race and Empire
Is the tide in the so-called culture wars beginning to turn? Recent evidence suggests that at least a mainstream effort to push back against activism by a vocal minority is working. Oriel College, Oxford is not going to remove its Rhodes statue. And yesterday Churchill College, Cambridge announced the disbanding of its Churchill, Race and Empire Working Group, which was established in the wake of the Black Lives Matters protests last year. The news holds particular resonance for us as the authors of a Policy Exchange paper which was published after an event at Churchill College, Cambridge on 11th February this year.
The Conservative Party have lost the Chesham and Amersham by-election: their majority of 16,223 at the 2019 election turned into a Lib Dem majority of 8,028. A cursory glance over the Liberal Democrats’ election literature suggests that they won by highlighting that various Conservatives oppose the Government’s planning reforms. While this might be true, it would be wrong to pronounce planning reform out for the count – the Planning Bill isn’t even published yet. Although early communications around reform may have been over-exuberant, what emerges at the end is likely to involve giving control over development to communities in ways that Amersham and Chesham voters would be much less concerned about.
The global response to the coronavirus pandemic has prompted a series of reflections about the international architecture of global health, both domestically and internationally. Through its Presidency of the G7 summit – which takes place in Cornwall next weekend – the United Kingdom has both an opportune moment and ample scope to take a leading role in reshaping global health governance for good.
Voices in the environment sector have long fired criticisms at Net Zero, the Government’s target for eradicating emissions by the middle of this century. Last year, Greta Thunberg argued that the world should ‘forget’ Net Zero, and an article recently posted by The Conversation argued it is a “dangerous trap”. However, the opposite is true; Net Zero is a practical and a political victory for the decarbonisation agenda, not a dangerous trap worth forgetting.
The Iranian news agency Mehr News has released a short video showing a flag of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) being displayed during a London anti-Israel demonstration on 22 May. The IRGC was designated as a foreign terrorist organisation by the US State Department in 2019. In December 2020, the Foreign Affairs Select Committee called on the British Government to also proscribe the IRGC.