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.
Policy Exchange is delighted to announce that Professor John Bew, Head of Policy Exchange’s Britain in the World Project, has been appointed as a specialist adviser to the Foreign Affairs Committee’s inquiry into ‘Global Britain’. To mark that appointment, we publish a new reading list, Beyond Brexit: Essential reading on international affairs and security in a changing world, compiled by Professor Bew, Gabriel Elefteriu, Jamie Gaskarth and Patrick Porter.
We must do more to protect the indispensable yet insecure internet infrastructure provided by undersea cables, urges Rishi Sunak MP in a new report published by Policy Exchange, Undersea Cables: Indispensable, insecure. 97% of global communications and $10 trillion in daily financial transactions are transmitted not by satellites in the skies, but by cables lying deep beneath the ocean. Undersea cables are the indispensable infrastructure of our time, essential to our modern life and digital economy, yet they are inadequately protected and highly vulnerable to attack at sea and on land, from both hostile states and terrorists.
Following the Prime Minister’s visit to Japan last week, Policy Exchange’s Britain in the World Project publish a report by unit head John Bew and David Martin Jones, Visiting Fellow at Policy Exchange. They advise that Asia is of growing strategic importance to the UK’s long-term prosperity but this is likely to mean more involvement in the region’s security problems. The first principle of UK involvement in Asia must be to bolster existing alliances and to preserve the existing international order, but it must be understood that this is likely to cause tension when it comes to relations with China.
20 years on from the Good Friday Agreement, Lord Bew – Emeritus Professor of Irish Politics, Queen’s University Belfast – finds the accord in relatively good health. Despite concerns generated by the UK’s decision to leave the EU, cross-party support for the Agreement has increased and there are signs that the DUP & Sinn Fein are gearing up to try to restore power sharing.
Policy Exchange’s John Blake – himself a former teacher – appeared on the Today programme to argue that new tests for young children will help teachers identify which children need extra support. In this blog, he says that, done properly, children will not know they are being tested and so union-led scaremongering should be ignored.
More Police and Crime Commissioners take over fire and rescue services – good news for frontline services
Policy Exchange’s Director of Research & Strategy Rupert Oldham-Reid welcomes the announcement that 3 more PCCs are taking over local fire & rescue services. He argues that this policy – which came from Policy Exchange – is good for taxpayers, local people and strengthens democracy.
Policy Exchange hosts a speech by the Hon Peter Dutton MP, Australian Minister for Immigration and Border Protection
Policy Exchange was delighted to welcome the Hon Peter Dutton MP, Australia’s immigration minister, who reflected on the need for a carefully managed migration system in order to maintain public support for continuing new arrivals. A packed audience heard how the Australian government’s approach has tackled people trafficking while also ensuring Australia has the skilled migrants it needs and maintaining a generous settlement programme for refugees.
John Blake – Policy Exchange Head of Education and Social Reform – spoke to Sky News about a recent study which found that poorer students will graduate with average debts of £57,000.
Policy Exchange holds inaugural event of new Housing and Urban Regeneration Unit — ‘The New Politics of Housing’
Policy Exchange held the inaugural event of its new Housing and Urban Regeneration Unit — ‘The New Politics of Housing’. The focus was on what needs to change now given the unexpected election result and the tragedy at Grenfell Tower. We were joined by former No 10 Head of Policy John Godfrey, Spectator Editor Fraser Nelson, former DCLG housing leader Terrie Alafat and developer Philip Barnes and the event was chaired by Richard Blakeway, Policy Exchange’s Chief Housing Adviser and former Deputy Mayor of London for housing.
- Tuesday, 26 September, 2017
12:30 - 13:30
Speakers: Chi Onwurah MP, Shadow Minister for Industrial Strategy, Science and Innovation, Martin McTague, National Policy Director, Federation of Small Businesses, Marcus Stuttard, Director of SME Growth Finance, London Stock Exchange Group, Giles Palmer, CEO and Founder, Brandwatch, Warwick Lightfoot, Research Director, Policy Exchange. This event took place at the Labour party conference.
- Tuesday, 26 September, 2017
8:30 - 9:30
Speakers: Paul Sweeney MP, Shadow Minister for Scotland, Professor Lindsay Stirton, Professor of Public Law, University of Sussex, Rebecca Lowe, Fellow, State & Society, Policy Exchange. This event took place at the Labour party conference.
- Monday, 25 September, 2017
17:30 - 18:30
Speakers: Andy McDonald MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, Lilian Greenwood MP, Chair, Transport Select Committee, Prof Marcus Newborough, Development Director, ITM Power, Marcus Stewart, Head of Energy Insights, UK Energy Strategy, National Grid, Mike Copson, Hydrogen Business Development Manager, Shell New Energies, Matt Rooney, Energy and Environment Research Fellow, Policy Exchange