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.
It is the EU’s Brexit position which most threatens the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.
Scotland and North East England offer the best opportunities for successful hydrogen production hubs, while investment in cost-effective hydrogen production technologies – such as electrolysis – would open up export opportunities and address both the Industrial and Clean Growth strategies, according to the new report from Policy Exchange’s award-winning energy team, with a Foreword from the first elected Tees Valley Mayor, Ben Houchen.
Brexit and the ending of free movement, the persistent problem of illegal immigration and the need to avoid any repeat of the Windrush scandal, have combined to put some kind of national identity system right back on the political agenda. One option would be to roll out the ID management system now being developed for the 3.6m EU citizens to everyone. The border should also be a higher priority for future public investment, according to a new report by Policy Exchange’s Head of Demography, Immigration and Integration David Goodhart, The Border Audit: A post-Windrush review.
Policy Exchange’s Warwick Lightfoot – a former Special Adviser to three Chancellors – says the Prime Minister’s announcement that ‘austerity’ is ending is good politics. But increased public spending doesn’t always mean better public sector productivity, he warns.
Policy Exchange’s Jack Airey looks at Government’s council housing policy and sets out the challenges ahead for building a new generation of council homes.
Japan would welcome Britain to the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal “with open arms”, Prime Minister Shinzō Abe told the Financial Times. His remarks confirm Policy Exchange’s recent findings in Trading Tigers, which argued that “UK membership would be attractive to Japan in view of the substantial Japanese investment flows to the UK and the addition of a sizeable market.”
Policy Exchange hosted four events in the Politics tent at the Big Ideas Festival, looking at some of today’s most contentious issues. A top range of speakers debated how to raise the tone of public discourse; building a new national consensus; beating NIMBYism by building beautiful homes; and using great thinkers and leaders of the past to solve today’s problems.
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