David Goodhart: The Sewell Commission should change how Britain thinks about race

The Sewell Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, writes David Goodhart, Head of Policy Exchange’s Demography Unit, “is the liberal-minded but honest, evidence-based story on race that many of us who have been thinking and writing about this subject for many years have been waiting for. There is intelligent common sense on almost every one of its 264 pages and although it has its flaws… it powerfully challenges the pessimistic identity-politics-based race narrative that has become so influential in recent years.” Read David’s article in full here.

 

Integrated Review accepts Policy Exchange’s proposals on Indo-Pacific strategy, space and Net Assessment

The Government’s Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy (IR), published this week, reflects a broad range of Policy Exchange’s recent research output. Notably, it argues for a “tilt” to the Indo-Pacific, perhaps the most conspicuous grand-strategic decision taken by the British Government in decades, reflecting the framework recommended by Policy Exchange’s Indo-Pacific Commission in A Very British Tilt: Towards a new UK strategy in the Indo-Pacific. The IR – whose lead author, No 10 Special Adviser John Bew, headed Policy Exchange’s Britain in the World Unit until 2019 – also recommends the shaping of a new international order, as argued for in Making Global Britain Work; putting the space domain at the core of the Government’s strategic vision for this country, as recommended by the work of Policy Exchange’s Space Policy Unit; and the adoption of Net Assessment as a cross-government capability, as recommended by A Question of Power: Towards Better UK Strategy Through Net Assessment. Read Alexander Downer, Policy Exchange’s Chairman of Trustees, on the IR in ConservativeHome, listen to him on Times Radio; and read Gabriel Elefteriu, Director of Research and Head of the Space Policy Unit in The Spectator’s Coffee House.

Read Policy Exchange’s Reflections on the Integrated Review here

Budget 2021: Policy Exchange's Analysis

In advance of the Budget, Policy Exchange published What is to be done with the British Economy?, an overview of the key principles that should inform the UK’s future economic policy by Warwick Lightfoot, Head of Economics and former Special Adviser to three Chancellors. It calls for a realistic appraisal of the principal tools of macro-economic management and simplification of the tax system. Read his op-ed for ConservativeHome.

On Wednesday afternoon, Gerard Lyons, Senior Fellow at Policy Exchange and former Chief Economic Adviser to Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP during his London Mayoralty, argued in the Spectator’s Coffee House that the message of the Budget was “the health and economic crisis are now coming to an end”. 

£250,000 Wolfson Economics Prize 2021 seeks hospitals revolution

The Wolfson Economics Prize 2021, launched today in partnership with Policy Exchange, seeks planning and design ideas that will “radically improve” hospital care in the UK and around the world.

The Prize is evidence of a new focus on the long-term improvement in hospital provision in Britain and globally. The UK Government has already announced £3.7 billion of funding towards new hospitals in England for what it calls the “biggest hospital building programme in a generation”.

The judging panel – chaired by Rt Hon Prof Lord Kakkar, Professor of Surgery at University College London, crossbench peer in the House of Lords and Chair of the King’s Fund – will ask entrants for designs and plans for new hospitals that will “radically improve patient experiences, clinical outcomes, staff wellbeing, and integration with wider health and social care”. Entry is free and open to anyone.

History Matters Conference

Policy Exchange welcomed the Rt Hon Oliver Dowden CBE MP, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport at the History Matters Project Conference. In an hour-long conversation with Trevor Phillips OBE, Chair of the History Matters Project, the Culture Secretary encouraged museums and other institutions not to be “pushed around by noisy campaign groups”.

He said his message to museums, galleries and other institutions was: “Just think as institutions about your wider duty to the nation; your wider duty to conserve and preserve our heritage. Don’t allow yourself to be pushed around by the zeitgeist of the day; take a longer-term view of things; make sure you do things in a rigorous way; and understand that your principal duty is to preserve and conserve our heritage.”

He also distinguished between ‘activism’ and ‘debate’ saying his concern “lies in that we avoid the situation where a group of people purport to speak for a larger community and don’t”.

The conference was the first event to bring together leading decision-makers and professionals in the museums and galleries sector and other experts in order to develop new public policy approaches than can be applied broadly.
It included a panel discussion on statues and the public space chaired by Peter Ainsworth, Chair of The Heritage Alliance and another on museums and galleries chaired by Nicholas Coleridge CBE, Chair of the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Professor Richard Ekins welcomes Supreme Court Judgement on Shamima Begum

In a blog for Policy Exchange, Professor Richard Ekins, Head of the Judicial Power Project, welcomed the “powerful” Supreme Court judgment that corrects “a misconceived Court of Appeal judgment, which had put national security in doubt and undermined the law Parliament made”  in the Shamima Begum case.

Ekins described the ruling as a “affirmation of constitutional principle and the limits of judicial power”. While noting that the Supreme Court judgement does not stop Begum’s future appeals to SIAC (Special Immigration Appeals Commission) it does critically reject “the attempt to leverage her right to appeal into a right to return to the UK, which would mean a de facto right to remain.”

Read Professor Ekins blog here.

Strong Suburbs

Policy Exchange this week published ‘Strong Suburbs’, a report by Dr Samuel Hughes, Senior Fellow, and Ben Southwood, Head of Housing, Transport, and the Urban Space. The report notes that the Government has moved away from ‘top-down’ plans to encourage development in areas with housing shortages. Instead, it argues that a ‘bottom up’ approach driven by local communities will deliver popular and beautiful housing without the need for imposition.

The main proposal would let individual streets vote to give themselves planning permission allowing them to turn themselves from bungalows or semis into terraces

Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, said: “Policy Exchange has led the debate on empowering communities, winning support for development, and creating beautiful popular homes. The Government supports enabling communities to set their own rules for what developments in their area should look like, ensuring that they reflect and enhance their surroundings and preserve our cherished local heritage, and Policy Exchange is continuing this vital conversation.”

Read the report here and coverage of the report in the The Daily MailThe Telegraph, and The I.

The Future of the Union

It’s “plain common-sense and the responsible thing to do” to reject calls for a Scottish independence referendum during the Covid-19 pandemic. That is the verdict of Lord Dunlop, former Minister for Scotland and Northern Ireland – and author of an unpublished Government review on the workings of the Union – in an article for Policy Exchange.

His piece marked the launch of Policy Exchange’s Future of the Union Project – led by Adam Tomkins MSP and Eddie Barnes, a former adviser to Ruth Davidson – which will examine over the coming months how the Union can better work for all its constituent parts.

Lord Dunlop’s article observed that we are experiencing a “watershed moment” and called for new a Union of Co-operation, with “a re-vamped and enhanced Intergovernmental Council” helping to “manage disputes and facilitate joint decision-making”. Read the paper here – and coverage in The Sun here.

Eddie Barnes has written a blog for Policy Exchange on what Unionists can learn from remainers’ errors during the EU referendum. He argues that those that are committed to protecting the Union must also commit to ‘the need for real and lasting reform’ and not ‘phoney change’. Read his blog here.

What the vaccine rollout means for NHS accountability

‘The vaccine rollout may show us a model for how a new approach to health service accountability, underpinned by new levers in legislation, will provide stronger political oversight whilst maintaining day to day NHS operational independence in the future,’ writes Richard Sloggett, Senior Fellow at Policy Exchange on Health and Social Care, in a new blog post. Read ithere

In his column for The Daily Mail, Dominic Lawson mentioned the work of the Policy Exchange Health Unit and its recent article published on how the UK’s genomics advances, supported by the Government over the last decade, had helped its pandemic response. Read the column here and the Policy Exchange paper here.

Government Commission on future of the Civil Service

Policy Exchange is delighted to announce a Reform of Government Commission, Chaired by Dame Patricia Hodgson, which will examine how the Civil Service can be improved and modernised. Dame Patricia’s overview of the Commission’s work, which argues that “the unprecedented challenges which the UK faces require a fundamental assessment of how best the machinery of government can be envisioned and equipped for the new world,” can be read here

The Reform of Government Commission will go back to first principles and ask: what sort of Civil Service do we want? What should its ethos be? How should accountability be maximised through clearer lines of responsibility? How can it better serve governments of all hues?

We will draw on the expertise of a wide range of leading practitioners. Focus groups, polling and an evidence-gathering “roadshow” will be used to produce authoritative, useful research that leads to better government.

Read more, including a list of all the commissioners involved, here.

 

Scott Morrison wins inaugural Grotius Prize

Policy Exchange was delighted to award the inaugural Grotius Prize –named after the founding father of international law, Hugo Grotius — to Hon Scott Morrison MP, the Prime Minister of Australia. This was in recognition of his work in support of the international rules-based order. The event was streamed live from London and Canberra.

A keynote speech from the Australian Prime Minister was followed by remarks from Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP, with a Vote of Thanks by Hon Alexander Downer AC,  Chairman of Trustees at Policy Exchange and former Foreign Minister of Australia.

The Australian Prime Minister welcomed the “timely publication by Policy Exchange’s Indo-Pacific Commission, A Very British Tilt: Towards a new UK strategy in the Indo-Pacific Region”. On this Commission’s core proposal for Britain to increase the priority accorded, toward the Indo-Pacific, Scott Morrison remarked: “I couldn’t agree more and have conveyed the same to Boris. I endorse the report’s vision for a reinvigorated community of free and independent nations with a single overriding goal. Namely, reinforce a sustainable rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific that is resilient but adaptable to the great power realities of the 21st century.”

Watch the event here and read our report here.

Policy Exchange is ‘pre-eminent think tank in Westminster,’ says Iain Dale

“If anyone was to draw up a list of the top twenty most influential think tanks in Westminster, can anyone seriously doubt that Policy Exchange would be at number one?” That’s the verdict of Iain Dale in the LBC presenter’s latest column for Conservative Home. He calls Policy Exchange “the pre-eminent think tank in the Westminster village” and notes our unique convening power, saying: “There are few organisations that could attract power players like Mark Carney and Alan Greenspan, or Dominic Raab and Mike Pompeo to appear on its platforms.”

Policy Exchange hosts Prime Minister for the launch of the authorised biography of Margaret Thatcher

Dean Godson, Director of Policy Exchange, was delighted to welcome the Prime Minister, Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP, to the official launch of the final volume of Charles Moore’s authorised biography of Margaret Thatcher, Herself Alone.

The event, hosted by Policy Exchange, was the Prime Minister’s first visit to a think tank since he took office. It was attended by some of the surviving dramatis personae from the Thatcher era and other senior figures from the world of politics, journalism and public life.

The Prime Minister praised the biography, saying, it is “not just the greatest recent work of biography but… also, in our lifetimes, the greatest work of modern British history”. Charles Moore, the author of the 20-year project, is a Senior Fellow at Policy Exchange and was previously Chairman of the Trustees. Watch the video of the speeches on YouTube

Rt Hon Michael Gove MP

Manifesto wins

Policy Exchange was delighted that the party election manifestos reflected the priorities of our cross-party research since the last general election (and even earlier). Ideas from at least 24 papers were contained in the Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green 2019 manifestos – from social care to education, farming to judicial power. Explore the infographic showing which ideas were adopted by the different parties here.

Protecting local heritage

Since the height of the Black Lives Matter protests in June 2020, a number of councils across England and Wales have stated their commitment to reviewing local street names and—where these are deemed to have a contentious history—to considering renaming them. In several instances, the decision-making process with regards street name alteration has excluded residents and locals, in spite of the immense direct impact street renaming has on a street’s residents.

Post-Brexit freedoms and opportunities for the UK

This paper draws together analysis from the range of Policy Exchange’s experts – in Law & Constitution, Trade & Economics, Immigration & Policing, Energy & Environment, Health & Social Care – of the new freedoms and opportunities open to the United Kingdom under the terms of the new relationship with the European Union.

Why Muslims like me are worried about the Batley protests

To some, the persecution of a schoolteacher who showed his pupils an offensive cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed may seem like a local quarrel. Does it really matter, many Britons will ask, that a few dozen men gathered at the gates of a school in West Yorkshire? Surely it will blow over before long, goes the thinking.

Community music-making is the jewel in the British crown

Music is a universal language. The style which has enraptured me since my childhood, classical music has always had an international dimension, and has taken me around the world in the decades since. But even in those early boyhood encounters I became aware of music and musicians from many different lands and eras. Apart from the beauty and excitement of the music itself, the art form became an early gateway for me to languages, history, geography, philosophy, theology and much more.

The grand strategy revisited

The United Kingdom needs a Grand Strategy of audacious investment, engaged partnership and renewed confidence. So argued Policy Exchange in its breakthrough paper, Modernising the United Kingdom, in late 2019. That paper was concerned with “unleashing the power of the Union”. Andrew Dunlop’s review of Union capability, prepared in the summer and autumn of 2019 but published only this month, is concerned with much the same thing. 

Charging Up

The Energy & Environment Unit at Policy Exchange launched a paper warning that the installation of electric vehicle chargepoints would have to be five times faster during the 2020s to make the petrol and diesel vehicle ban workable. The report was authored by Ed Birkett, Senior Fellow and William Nicolle, Research Fellow at Policy Exchange. The release coincided with the Government’s announcement of £20m additional funding for EV charging infrastructure. Read coverage of the report in The Telegraph, Sky News, Bloomberg and BBC News. Read the report here.

UK Digital Identity

This week DCMS set out a new UK digital identity and attributes trust framework to make it easier and quicker for people to verify their identities using modern technology. The framework is in line with recommendations made in Policy Exchange’s 2020 report Verified, which featured a foreword from Matt Warman MP, Minister for Digital Infrastructure.

Online Harms Bill reflects Policy Exchange proposals

A new Online Harms Bill, unveiled this week, includes measures that will force social media companies to delete harmful content or face fines of up to 10 per cent of their turnover and adopt a new code of conduct to protect children on the internet. The legislation builds on recommendations made in Policy Exchange’s 2017 report, The New Netwar, which called for ministers to “put in place a system of financial penalties, administered by the independent regulator, to force company compliance” and urged the adoption of a “more stringent codes of conduct”.

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  • Tuesday, 15 December, 2020
    15:00 - 16:00

The launch of ‘What’s Wrong with Rights?’ by Nigel Biggar. Speakers: Professor Nigel Biggar Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology at the University of Oxford, Baroness O’Neill of Bengarve former Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission Lord Sumption former Justice of the Supreme Court John Larkin QC former Attorney General for Northern Ireland

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  • Monday, 14 December, 2020
    12:00 - 13:00

Northern Ireland beyond 100, with Rt Hon Brandon Lewis CBE MP, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, in conversation with Dean Godson Director of Policy Exchange

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  • Monday, 23 November, 2020
    9:00 - 10:00

Policy Exchange is delighted to award the inaugural Grotius Prize – in honour of the founding thinker of international law, Hugo Grotius (1583 – 1645).

The Prize was awarded to Hon Scott Morrison MP, the Prime Minister of Australia, in recognition of his work in support of the international rules based order. With remarks by Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

The Vote of Thanks was delivered by Hon Alexander Downer AC, former Australian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom.

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