The Agenda Podcast
The Agenda is a new podcast from Policy Exchange, described recently by LBC’s Iain Dale as “the pre-eminent think tank in the Westminster village”. It covers our latest research and immediate reactions to current affairs. We bring you analysis from our team of experts along with guest appearances from the leading thinkers in their fields. The current series responds to the Coronavirus outbreak and its wide-ranging impact on all aspects of government policy.
16. Richard Hughes Talks to Policy Exchange about the OBR Forecasts
Richard Hughes is Chair of the Office for Budget Responsibility, the organisation tasked with providing non-partisan and rigorous forecasts about the UK economy. In this time of unprecedented volatility, Policy Exchange’s Head of Economics, Connor MacDonald, speaks to Richard about the OBR’s March forecasts, inflation, how to make projections in fluctuating economic circumstances, and what future challenges may be on the horizon.
15. David Goodhart, Jochen Buchsteiner, Hans Kundnani and Daniel Johnson – Russia’s War on Ukraine
Germany’s “Zeitenwende” about turn on defence spending and energy dependence on Russia has been described as the most significant shift in the country’s geo-political stance since the end of the Cold War. But will it last? And should it really be seen as so unexpected given the liberal hawk stance of the Green party since the Joschka Fischer era?
If Germany really is serious about playing its full part in the western alliance both politically and militarily what will that mean for its export-led economic model and its relations with China? And should Germany have its own nuclear weapons?
These and other questions are touched on in a pithy 35 minute discussion chaired by Policy Exchange’s David Goodhart, former FT German correspondent, in conversation with Jochen Buchsteiner, London correspondent of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Hans Kundnani, director of the Europe programme at Chatham House, and Daniel Johnson, former Telegraph correspondent in Germany and editor of The Article.
14. 2022 Spring Statement – Policy Exchange’s reaction: Ruth Kelly, Dr Gerard Lyons, Connor MacDonald
Policy Exchange’s Economics team have studied and digested Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s 2022 Spring Statement. They offer their analysis in our latest podcast. Head of Economics Connor MacDonald discusses the economic impact of the Statement and the wider state of the economy with Policy Exchange Senior Fellow Rt Hon Ruth Kelly – Economic Secretary and then Financial Secretary to the Treasury in the Blair Government – and Policy Exchange Senior Fellow Dr Gerard Lyons – Chief Economic Adviser to Boris Johnson as Mayor of London.
13. Lieutenant General Ben Hodges – Russia’s War on Ukraine
Policy Exchange Director Dean Godson interviews Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, previously Commander of the US Army Europe who advised the Government of Ukraine on its defences, in the latest of our podcasts on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. General Hodges argues that Russia – with its failure to quickly conquer Ukraine – has already lost the war. General Hodges argues that the West can be more robust in its response to Russian aggression without risking nuclear war. He notes that the Russian army is less strong than its size suggests, evidenced by it now calling on Chechen and Syrian fighters as well as on what was the Wagner Group. General Hodges argues that there are grounds for optimism.
12. Lord Barwell – Russia’s War on Ukraine
Policy Exchange is hosting a series of podcasts on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its broader consequences. In this episode Michael Mosbacher asks Rt Hon Lord (Gavin) Barwell – Chief of Staff to Prime Minister Theresa May from 2017 – 2019 – about how No 10 responds to a sudden crisis:
- What happens at No 10 when there is a sudden crisis?
- Using Skripal as case study. Then what decisions will be made where in such a crisis/Department vs No 10. Has British intelligence focus enough on threats from Russia?
- Did we do enough after the Skripal poisonings?
- What else did we consider doing?
- Should we have boycotted the 2018 World Cup in Russia, just months after the Skripal poisonings?
- Was this considered. Russia has been heavily involved in in the Syrian civil war, supporting Assad. Did Russia’s role in opposing ISIS in Syria mean we somewhat pulled our punches in dealing with Russia elsewhere?
- Was the potential threat and corrupting influence of oligarchs in London taken seriously enough in your time at No 10?
- What more should we have done?
- Did No 10 take seriously the possibility that in light of Skripal poisonings, other deaths of Russian and Russian connected figures in London might have involved the FSB. Is it worth reopening these cases?
- In your time at No 10 was a full Russian invasion of one of its non-Nato neighbours war gamed?
11. Mary Kissel – Russia’s War on Ukraine
Policy Exchange Director Dean Godson discusses US attitudes to NATO and the future of the Republican Party with Mary Kissel, former Senior Adviser to US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and before that a senior editorial writer at the Wall Street Journal. Mary Kissel discusses:
- The rise of a broad bipartisan consensus on how to respond to Russian aggression against Ukraine
- Why voices on the Right such as Tucker Carlson questioning US support for Ukraine are outliers representing few in the Republican Party
- Donald Trump’s actual attitude to Nato
- Whether the Republican Party is moving in a more isolationist direction
- The prospects at the mid-term elections in November
10. Amber Rudd – Russia’s War on Ukraine
Policy Exchange is hosting a series of podcasts on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its broader consequences. In this episode Michael Mosbacher asks Rt Hon Amber Rudd – Home Secretary from 2016 – 2018 – about how the UK responded to the 2018 Skripral poisonings in Salisbury, whether more could have been done then, what should be done now and how Britain should respond now to Ukraine’s refugee crisis. Rudd is supportive of our sanctions against Russia and thinks they should be tougher – but also argues that they are unlikely to be effective as Putin, just like Iran, is unlikely to be responsive to the effect of sanctions. Some of the questions answered by Rt Hon Amber Rudd :
- When did you learn about the Skripal poisoning? Did the news come as a shock or were we expecting that something like this might happen?
- Did the Government do enough to respond to Russia’s aggression in the aftermath of the Skripal poisoning?
- After the Litvinenko & Skripal poisonings, how concerned should we be about further Russian attacks on British soil?
- With your experience of Russia’s actions, could the West have been better prepared for Russia’s invasion? Did we sleepwalk into disaster?
- There have been a series of deaths on British soil of opponents of Putin, eg Boris Berezovsky. In light of what we now know should these cases be reopened?
- Has Brexit meant that there is less intelligence cooperation with other European countries? If there had been more such cooperation would we have been better prepared?
- Russia has been seen as an ally in the War on Terror. Was this a mistake?
9. Julie Marionneau – Russia’s War on Ukraine
Policy Exchange is hosting a series of podcasts on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its broader consequences. In this episode Michael Mosbacher asks Julie Marionneau – Research Fellow on Policy Exchange’s Judicial Power Project, and previously a Major in the French Airforce and a Legal Adviser to Nato on the Law of Armed Conflict – about the law as it relates to Russia’s invasion:
1. Ukraine has armed much of its civilian population. What is the legal status of those Ukrainians who may fight to defend their country but are not part of a regular army or militia? Does the Law of Armed Conflict apply to them?
2. There are calls for NATO to impose a No Fly Zone over Ukraine at the request of the Ukrainian government. Would this amount to an act of war against Russia?
3. Could Putin be indicted for war crimes?
4. Some British people are volunteering to fight for Ukraine. Is this illegal?
8. Air Marshal Edward Stringer – Russia’s War on Ukraine
Policy Exchange is hosting a series of podcasts on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its broader consequences. In this episode Michael Mosbacher asks Air Marshal Edward Stringer (Ret’d) – Senior Fellow at Policy Exchange and former Director General of the Defence Academy and Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff – about the military consequences of the invasion and what its likely repercussions are:
1. Is this a military crisis Britain had planned for? Had we war gamed it?
2. Russia has made nuclear threats. How seriously should they be taken? Are they just sabre rattling or are the risks high due to Russia’s strategy risks?
3. Is the use of battlefield nuclear weapons by Russia a real possibility?
4. Britain’s nuclear strategy – does the fact that we purely rely on Trident for our nuclear deterrent limit our room for manoeuvre?
5. What does the war mean for last year’s Integrated Review? Do its conclusions need revisiting?
6. Is a No Fly Zone over Ukraine militarily feasible and would it make a real difference to the war?
7. Juliet Samuel and Josh Buckland – Russia’s War on Ukraine
In this podcast, Policy Exchange experts discuss the impact of Russia’s war in Ukraine on the UK’s energy sector. They also discuss options to increase home-grown energy supply, including fracking, nuclear, and offshore wind farms.
- Juliet Samuel, Senior Fellow at Policy Exchange and Telegraph columnist
- Josh Buckland, Senior Fellow at Policy Exchange, Partner at Flint Global
- Benedict McAleenan (Chair), Senior Fellow at Policy Exchange, Managing Partner at Helmsley Energy.
6. Chris Brannigan and Gabriel Elefteriu – Russia’s War on Ukraine
Policy Exchange is hosting a series of podcast on Russia’s war on Ukraine. In this episode Chris Brannigan, Senior Fellow at Policy Exchange and formerly of the No10 Policy Unit, and Gabriel Elefteriu, Policy Exchange’s Director of Research and Strategy discuss with Michael Mosbacher the strategic implications of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
- How we are now in a different world from two weeks ago;
- What we have learnt about Russia’s military capabilities;
- How this crisis might escalate;
- Whether it would be wise for Poland to give planes to the Ukrainian air force;
- Moldova – why it is feeling threatened and why Moldova is fast becoming the most likely scene of escalation;
- How the conflict might be deescalated and come to an end.
5. Ben Judah – Russia’s War on Ukraine
Policy Exchange is hosting a series of podcast over the next two weeks on Russia’s war on Ukraine. In the first episode Ben Judah – bestselling author of Fragile Empire: How Russia fell in and out of love with Vladimir Putin and This is London: Life and Death in the World City and Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council – discusses both Britain’s clampdown on Russian oligarchs and how Europe is heading for its largest migration since World War II, with up to 1.5 million refugees having already left Ukraine. Judah argues that sanctions against Russian oligarchs might achieve little in terms of helping Ukraine – but nevertheless it is vitally important as it will wean London’s banks, lawyers and financial institutions off their addiction to Russian money. The rise of so-called Londongrad has been deeply corrupting – and cleaning it up is important for the sake of Britain.
4. A proposal to reform general practice and enable digital healthcare at scale
General practice has always been the foundation and gateway to the NHS. However the problems are mounting up: a stretched and increasingly burnt-out workforce, no systematic reporting or analysis of activity and demand, fragmentation with secondary care, and confusing and dated contracting and reimbursement mechanisms. The status quo is increasingly unacceptable to both patients and GPs. There is now a consensus that changes are needed, including to the small-scale independent contractor model, to ensure that primary care can thrive in the future. Policy Exchange has set out a pragmatic proposal for reform. Addressing issues around integration, workforce, digital transformation and scaled provision, we argue that a new model of general practice is required to better meet the needs of patients and the taxpayer – so it feels increasingly at their service.
2. Levelling Up: Has the Government finally found a way of tackling regional inequalities?
David Goodhart discusses the United Kingdom’s Levelling Up challenges with Michael Mosbacher. There have been many attempts to tackle Britain’s regional inequalities – and virtually all have failed. Goodhart argues that this time could be different.
1. Ruth Kelly joins Policy Exchange: UK needs to devolve power to boost economy
Former Cabinet Minister in the Blair and Brown governments Rt Hon Ruth Kelly has joined Policy Exchange as Senior Fellow in its Economics Unit. In the first of a new series of Policy Exchange podcasts, The Agenda, Michael Mosbacher speaks to Kelly about the economic challenges Britain now faces with public spending at over 50 per cent of GDP for the first time since 1945.
Kelly argues that Red Wall voters will not support any party standing on a high tax, high spend programme.
For today’s economic challenges to be met power needs to be decentralised, tax raising needs to be devolved and education needs to be further reformed with greater competition between state, voluntary and private providers. The state should primarily be a commissioner and regulator of education.