Policy Exchange hosted a major conference considering the future of the Union, with keynote speeches from Ruth Davidson, Michael Gove, Arlene Foster, Brandon Lewis, Alistair Darling, Jim Murphy and Theresa Villiers. In bringing together speakers from different parties, different nations and opposite sides of the Brexit debate, we demonstrated that unionism can be the bridge between the different elements in our divided society. We also published The State of the Union, a new paper by Professor Arthur Aughey of Ulster University, in which he says that the United Kingdom is a remarkably enduring constitutional arrangement and a surprisingly cohesive national state.
The Evening Standard strongly urged the Mayor of London to read Policy Exchange’s latest report Better Brownfield, for ideas to tackle London’s housing crisis. 1,220 sites across London covering 43 Hyde Parks can between them accommodate between 250,000 and 300,000 new homes alongside workplaces, according to new analysis carried out by Create Streets for Policy Exchange. The Evening Standard strongly endorsed the report, saying “What’s smart about the report, published by think-tank Policy Exchange, is that it tries to defuse the battle over planning that makes building new homes so hard. It’s good to see a centre-Right body face the challenge of shaping London, as the Manhattan Institute does in New York.” The editorial concluded: “London’s Mayor, Sadiq Khan, likes to say that he’s making housing a priority. But we’re still waiting for action. He should read this report and get going.”
Policy Exchange has launched a major new unit dedicated to London and Londoners – to be headed by Liam Booth-Smith, who joins the Policy Exchange team. Liveable London will champion new ideas to make London a better place to live and work. Accompanying the launch, Policy Exchange released a major new report – endorsed by the Evening Standard – setting out how 250,000 new homes could be built in the capital.
As the Government deals with the Russian threat, former Prime Minister David Cameron reminds us of another: Islamism
Speaking at a Policy Exchange conference in Washington DC, former Prime Minister David Cameron warned of the continuing threat to the West posed by Islamism. Paul Goodman observed on ConservativeHome that no other UK think tank has ‘the reach to bring together 50 or so experts, wonks, and diplomats in America’s capital for an event like this’.
The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP, set out his vision for a liberal Brexit in a speech given at Policy Exchange. Mr Johnson urged Remainers and Leavers to unite behind the opportunities that leaving the EU affords. He said that there is a case for future regulatory divergence from the EU: “We would be mad to go through this process of extrication from the EU, and not to take advantage of the economic freedoms it will bring.” In many areas, however, such as security co-operation and cultural exchange, there would continue to be high levels of engagement.
With 9 million people reporting that they are always or often lonely, as a society have we structured loneliness into our lives? Loneliness can be triggered by moments of transition that can happen to us all: the birth of a child, retirement, relationship breakdown, being a newcomer to this country, returning from serving in our armed forces, starting university, moving home, bereavement. The places where we came together – like churches, pubs and the workplace – have changed out of all recognition. Many of our connections have been turned into transactions. Rachel Reeves MP, Co-Chair of the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness, set out what the Commission has learned and gave her thoughts on how we can create a less lonely world. Neil O’Brien OBE MP responded, with the discussion chaired by Daily Mirror Columnist Ros Wynne-Jones.
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.
As Putin celebrates another election victory, today’s Labour party should remember that there can be no coherent response to the Russian provocation without an appreciation of how our collective security is underscored by NATO and the role Labour played in its creation. In a new essay, In Defence of Collective Security, Professor John Bew, Head of Policy Exchange’s Britain in the World project and an award winning biographer of Clement Attlee, argues that our current system of Western security, based on NATO, was painstakingly put in place by Attlee and Ernest Bevin and that the current Labour leadership betrays that legacy.
Policy Exchange’s Economics, Science and Tech Research Fellow, Jos Henson, argues that to ensure the UK makes the most of its thriving tech sector, we must invest in digital education and skills.
The unexpected defeat of Malaysia’s governing coalition in the general election has been greeted with a mixture of surprise and delight by the Western media – but are they right?
Hydrogen is making headlines again, but is the excitement justified? Josh Burke examines if we are really on the cusp of a ‘hydrogen economy’ and why the Government is right to target investment at lowering the high cost of producing large volumes of low carbon hydrogen.
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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- Wednesday, 28 March, 2018
18:00 - 19:30
Policy Exchange was delighted to host the keynote valedictory speech of Hon Alexander Downer as High Commissioner of Australia. Mr Downer praised British leadership in responding to Russia, saying “Not only did the British Government react robustly to the chemical weapons attack in Salisbury but it has brought to bear the power of Britain to corral the great network of Western allies at long last to stand up to Russian intransigence”. He also reflected on the opportunities for free trade after Brexit. Mr Downer is Policy Exchange’s incoming Chairman.
- Monday, 5 March, 2018
10:15 - 12:45
Policy Exchange’s Making Good on Global Britain conference culminated in a discussion between General David H Petraeus (Ret.), former Commander of United States Central Command and former Director of the CIA, and Hon Alexander Downer AC, Australian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, who explored the theme of hard and soft power from their unique perspectives.
- Monday, 26 February, 2018
18:00 - 19:30
The acute threat we face from terrorism will only be tackled when the whole of society understands and responds to the chronic threat from extremism, says Mark Rowley in his keynote valedictory address as Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police for Specialist Operations and National Lead for Counter Terrorism Policing delivered at Policy Exchange.