At a cross-party event in Parliament, Policy Exchange launched a new report, The Age of Incivility: Understanding the New Politics, and a new Civility Hub aimed at analysing the worst examples of abuse which coarsen our public discourse. Former EHRC Chairman Trevor Phillips, who co-authored the report, chaired a debate with Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP, Jacob Rees-Mogg MP, FT journalist Sebastian Payne and Labour activist Emily Benn.
Policy Exchange also launched a call for evidence, asking anyone active in public life – from the national to the local level – who feels they have been subjected to uncivil, or extreme forms of abuse to contact us. Please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
“The beauty agenda is the brainchild of Policy Exchange,” reported The Economist, referencing our research paper Building More, Building Beautiful, which argued for design and style to be central to housebuilding. The Economist noted that the Government has “taken up the idea with vigour”, and quotes Tom Tugendhat MP’s remark that it is “the biggest idea in housing policy since the sale of council houses under Margaret Thatcher”.
It followed Sir Roger Scruton’s inaugural Colin Amery Memorial Lecture – part of Policy Exchange’s Building Beautiful Month. Sir Roger argued that the failure of much modern architecture “lies in the absence of any reliable patterns or types which can be used by ordinary builders so as to harmonise with the existing urban décor, while respecting the street and the façade as the defining contours of a shared space.” Watch his lecture.
Britain can become an “invisible chain that links the world’s democracies” after Brexit, Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP said in his first UK keynote address as Foreign Secretary, at Policy Exchange. Noting that the rise of China will mean that for the first time the world’s largest economy will not be a democracy, he warned against a return to a principle of ‘might is right’ and announced an international conference on media freedom to be hosted by the UK next year. Watch the full speech here.
Peers have again backed Policy Exchange’s proposal to update the Law of Treason. Former Justice Minister Lord Faulks QC, backed by Lord Bethell and Lord Hodgson, proposed an amendment to the Counter Terrorism and Border Security Bill, which would follow proposals set out in Aiding the Enemy. Baroness Williams, Minister of State for Countering Extremism, commended Policy Exchange’s paper as a “useful contribution to the debate” and said treason offences may be considered as part of an ongoing Home Office review of all legislation applicable to hostile state activity.
Speaking at Policy Exchange’s annual reception at Conservative Party Conference, the Home Secretary said: “If I think about the policies regarding all the different roles I’ve had in Government – in every different role I’ve had there’s always been something from Policy Exchange that has helped us shape policy and have a real impact.
“Even now for me the work you are doing on counter-extremism, the work that’s been done on immigration, especially post-Windrush on what lessons we can learn, but also more broadly in politics the work you’ve done on being more civil in politics – you’re raising the tone of politics which I think is hugely important.” Watch the video of that event and more here.
Policy Exchange wins prize as best UK think on Energy and Environment issues
At the prestigious annual Prospect Think Tank of the Year Awards, Policy Exchange has won best UK think tank in the Energy and Environment category.
The unit’s research has ranged from the role of future nuclear modular reactors to cleaning up vehicle emissions in Britain’s cities. The judges recognised that our work paid “particular attention to the economic drivers behind environmental policy”. Just this week the Unit published a major new report setting how the UK can reduce carbon emissions and make UK heavy industry more competitive through an economy-wide carbon tax.
The work and convening power of Policy Exchange’s Britain in the World unit was also recognised at the awards, with the visit by US Defense Secretary James Mattis thought particularly notable.
London needs to build 66,000 new homes a year. But with the population projected to grow by 70,000 a year up to 10.5 million by 2041, London also needs schools, shops, amenities and space for tens of thousands of new jobs. To prepare for and accommodate such levels of growth we must make the very best use of land in the capital. Yet despite the Mayoral drive to increase densities in London, too much space is wasted across the city on sites currently occupied by single-storey big box retail and industrial sheds. In this report we argue for the redevelopment of “Boxland” into genuinely mixed use neighbourhoods where people want to live.
The Irish border is not the insoluble obstacle to Brexit negotiations that it has been made out to be and the UK can leave the single market and customs union while preserving a frictionless border in Ireland. This can be achieved by the use of new technology and in the context of a Free Trade Agreement between the UK and EU, in an arrangement that goes beyond the Customs Partnership and in no way threatens the Good Friday Agreement.
Can the UK lead the world in the development and production of batteries for electric cars? This is the stated aim of the government’s support programme for the battery sector. Yet, in the light of the current state of the UK battery sector and the strength of international competition, world leadership in car batteries is almost certainly unattainable. If the demand for electric cars grows as fast as many forecasters expect, investment in battery production should be financed by the private sector, argues Sir Geoffrey Owen, Policy Exchange’s Head of Industrial Policy and a former editor of the Financial Times, in a new paper Batteries for Electric Cars: A case study in industrial strategy.
Policy Exchange’s senior defence fellow, Gabriel Elefteriu, reflects on the Government’s decision to build a spaceport in Scotland. He argues the decision is an important step on on the UK’s journey to become a leader in space industry.
In the first of a series by Policy Exchange experts reflecting on the Chequers Agreement and Brexit White Paper, our Chief Economic Adviser Dr Graham Gudgin reflects on their implications for the Irish border. Dr Gudgin, a former Special Adviser to the Northern Irish First Minister and leading expert on issues around the border, concludes that if the White Paper’s recommendations are implemented, the Northern Irish border ‘problem’ is largely solved.
Prisons must be safe before rehabilitation can take place – Policy Exchange’s Director of Research and Strategy looks at the Justice Secretary’s latest place for prison reform.
Policy Exchange was delighted to welcome Hon James Mattis, US Secretary of Defense, to our offices. Secretary Mattis discussed the current global situation, a situation which includes the threats posed by North Korea and a Russia seeking to challenge the territorial integrity of its neighbours. He also spoke of the enduring importance of the UK–US Alliance and of Britain’s continued moral voice on the world stage, as Policy Exchange argued for in The Cost of Doing Nothing. He also praised Policy Exchange’s record of thought leadership in making the case for a Global Britain’s continued commitment to NATO.
Writing for the Evening Standard, Policy Exchange’s Co-Head of Security and Extremism Hannah Stuart challenges suggestions by new terrorism watchdog Max Hill QC that IS fighters returning from Syria are “naive” and should be “reintegrated”. Are they really “disillusioned”, she asks — or, as the caliphate crumbles, are these IS fighters merely running out of options?” Stuart argues that we have the legal armoury we need to deal these fighters, but that we need to use it more effectively. She also warns Max Hill QC against meeting Islamist groups who crave the legitimacy such meetings bestow.
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