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.”
Policy Exchange congratulates David Goodhart, our Head of Demography, Immigration & Integration, on his appointment as a Commissioner on the board of the Equality and Human Rights Commission. David will sit on the board for a period of four years. This welcome appointment follows the announcement that Baroness Falkner of Margravine has been nominated to serve as the new Chair of the EHRC. David is the author of Head, Hand, Heart: The Struggle for Dignity and Status in the 21st Centuryand has recently edited a Policy Exchange report on the technical skills revolution, The Training We Need Now. Read details of the announcement here.
A new Policy Exchange report published this week, Saving a lost decade, argues that ministers must become directly accountable for tackling the inequalities that have been highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic. The paper, authored by Richard Sloggett, Health and Social Care Lead, uses modelling to show that the Government is on course to miss a key manifesto pledge to increase healthy life years by five by 2035. Read the report and Foreword by Rt Hon Damian Green MP and Lord Filkin CBE here.
Dame Patricia Hodgson to chair Policy Exchange’s Reform of 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.
The Government has announced a review of transport connectivity across the UK, in order to understand how it can support economic development and improve quality of life. The terms of reference emphasise “transport connectivity between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland via road, rail and air, and across the Irish Sea.” The announcement mirrors proposals in Policy Exchange’s 2019 report, Modernising the United Kingdom, which recommended that the Government should “announce a review of transport connections between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, focusing on air travel, sea travel and the capacity of road networks around airports and seaports” and that ministers should “lead a strategic infrastructure strategy to improve the economic connections between all parts of the country to reduce the disparities […]”. Read the report here.
Policy Exchange welcomed the Secretary of State for Defence, Rt Hon Ben Wallace MP, to introduce a keynote speech by General Sir Nick Carter, Chief of the Defence Staff, on The Integrated Operating Concept.
In this major speech at an important juncture for UK defence, the Chief of the Defence Staff presented a new approach to the utility of armed force and integration of space, cyber and information, alongside the maritime, land and air domains. When speaking of the new concept he said, ‘this Integrated Operating Concept places a premium on operating, it also places a premium on adaptability – the ability to adapt to war fight.’
The event was chaired by General David Petraeus. You can watch the event here
More than two thirds of the British public are concerned that “a minority of political activists are being given too much say over how Britain treats its monuments,” according to polling published by Policy Exchange to mark the launch of its new History Matters Project, chaired by Trevor Phillips. The polling also reveals rock bottom support for removing historical statues, including Winston Churchill’s in Parliament Square.
Policy Exchange has also issued a call for evidence on the rewriting of the UK’s history and has published a compendium of evidence gathered so far, drawing together a range of recent developments, which all turn on the place of history in the public square – including the removal of certain statues on public display, the renaming of buildings and places, and changes to the way history is taught in university curriculums. Read the announcement, and the compendium, as well as an article by Rt Hon Chris Skidmore MP, a member of the History Matters panel, on Conservative Home.
“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 was delighted to welcome Hon Michael R. Pompeo, US Secretary of State, to speak on “The Future of the Special Relationship”, in conversation with Rt Hon Dominic Raab MP, the Foreign Secretary, at an event in Westminster. The discussion – which ranged from Brexit to the rise of China – was moderated by Dean Godson, Director of Policy Exchange. Watch the full video here, and read coverage in The Express
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.
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
The UK is one of the world’s leading maritime nations. As it leaves the European Union, Britain’s status as a leading economic and geo-political power depends upon the strength of its maritime industry. This paper, co-authored by former Transport Minister Nusrat Ghani MP, highlights the difficulties facing the maritime sector and shows how support for our ports, shipping companies, shipbuilders and others can play a central role in the delivery of Government priorities such as the levelling-up agenda, making a success of Brexit, encouraging international trade, and supporting clean growth.
Every day we have to prove that we are who we say are. At present, proving one’s identity online can be cumbersome and difficult in the UK, so citizens often end up sending sensitive documents, such as passports and driving licenses, by post. This report, by Benjamin Barnard, argues that the Government needs to develop better systems to allow people to create and use ‘digital identities’ to prove their identity online, which could prevent billions of pounds of fraud a year.
On Friday 28 August 2020 Japan’s longest serving Prime Minster, Shinzo Abe, announced that due to deteriorating health conditions he had to step down. During his tenure, Abe arguably conducted the most significant strategic reset of Japanese foreign and security policy since the 1950s. This paper reviews how Abe brought about such changes and why these matter to the UK. Experts have already started to examine different aspects of Abe’s policy reforms, their shortcomings, and their impact in the foreseeable future. This paper benefits from this literature – which includes fair criticisms of Abe’s reforms but it also agrees that their most significant legacy rests on a strengthened international outlook. Yet, the paper seeks to draw specific attention to why and how Abe’s Japan should be a case of particular relevance to the UK.
Austria (with which I should declare I have family ties) is perhaps more widely known for Apfelstrudel, the Salzburg Festival, alpine resorts and Conchita Würst than as a European policy leader. It’s been a while since Bruno Kreisky’s edgy Middle East activism or Vienna’s early – and highly effective – engagement with conflict issues in the former Yugoslavia. On most issues, the country has largely been content to position itself in the middle of the EU pack. All perfectly sensible.
Later this month, the UK and the US will conduct the third round of talks on a new trade agreement. The successful conclusion of a deal with the US will be challenging but would provide a major strategic prize for the UK, as I explain in a new report for Policy Exchange released today, “The art of a UK-US trade deal”. The paper looks at the challenges and opportunities facing negotiators over the coming months.
It is now official. The helter skelter expansion of UK higher education ushered in 21 years ago by Tony Blair’s pledge to send half of school leavers to university is now at an end.
And the announcement by the education secretary, Gavin Williamson, came not a moment too soon. The headlong rush into mass academic higher education, leapfrogging even the US, happened faster in the UK than in most other comparable countries and it seemed to happen on automatic pilot, with remarkably little thought given to the economic or social consequences. The only serious debate we ever had was on tuition fees.
A major new Policy Exchange report has called for a complete overhaul of the planning system by the Government. The report was covered in The Times whose article said Policy Exchange’s proposals were being “seriously looked at” by the No 10 policy unit. It was also featured in The Sun, ConservativeHome and on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
“Place is regaining its importance in British politics,” according to The Economist’s Bagehot column, which cited Dean Godson, Policy Exchange’s Director, on the “somewhereisation” of UK politics, and David Goodhart, author of The Road to Somewhere and Policy Exchange’s Head of Demography. Read the article here.
Peers debating the Queen’s Speech cited Policy Exchange research nine times in the House of Lords, covering a broad range of recently published research. Supporters and opponents alike acknowledged the influence of Policy Exchange papers such as Protecting the Constitution, a paper by Professor Richard Ekins published in late December. It was described as “the basis” of Government policy on constitutional reform by Lord Thomas of Gresford OBE QC, a Liberal Democrat peer.
- Thursday, 7 May, 2020
10:00 - 11:30
Policy Exchange hosted Mark Carney, UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance, and former Governor of the Bank of England, in conversation with Hon Malcolm Turnbull, former Prime Minister of Australia, in a webinar chaired by Juliet Samuel, Senior Fellow at Policy Exchange and Telegraph columnist. Among other questions, they discussed how to achieve net zero and what the coronavirus crisis can teach us about dealing with climate change.
- Wednesday, 1 April, 2020
11:00 - 12:00
Policy Exchange’s first public webinar, our speakers included the main triumvirate who led the policy response to the 2008 economic crisis – Rt Hon Lord Darling of Roulanish, former Chancellor of the Exchequer; Lord King of Lothbury, former Governor of the Bank of England; Lord Macpherson of Earl’s Court, former Permanent Secretary at HM Treasury – as well as Dr Gerard Lyons, newly appointed Senior Fellow at Policy Exchange. The event was chaired by Juliet Samuel, Telegraph columnist and Senior Fellow at Policy Exchange.
- Thursday, 30 January, 2020
11:00 - 12:25
Policy Exchange was delighted to welcome Hon Michael R. Pompeo, United States Secretary of State, to speak on “The Future of the Special Relationship” in conversation with Rt Hon Dominic Raab MP, United Kingdom Foreign Secretary, moderated by Dean Godson, Director of Policy Exchange.