Tag Archives: policy exchange

“What should the political parties promise on education in 2015?” – What I told Policy Exchange…

stephen tall px edu
I was one of the speakers at this weekend’s Policy Exchange conference which posed the question, ‘What should the political parties promise on education in 2015?’

Though I work in the education sector, I was there in a personal capacity to offer a Lib Dem perspective; very kindly Policy Exchange had invited Michael Gove and Tristram Hunt as warm-up acts for my seven minutes. You can watch what I had to say in the video at the foot of this post, starting at 2 mins in, or just read on… (If you check against delivery you’ll see I’ve tidied up some of my sentences, such as self-censoring my request to the

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Nick (finally) makes his education speech and launches the Coalition’s own ‘Champions League’

Five days after it was pre-briefed, Nick Clegg finally made his speech on A Liberal Vision for Education at Morpeth School in Tower Hamlets.

(Morpeth is, by the way, a fantastic school. I visited it for my day-job 18 months ago, and was shown around by two of its pupils, Vanessa and Mahir: the transformational progress of London schools in the past decade is one of the modern wonders of Britain.)

There was little in the speech we didn’t already know. In fact, there was little that wasn’t known last March when Clegg’s “surprise U-turn on free schools” (© …

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A longer read for the weekend: Tim Leunig on how to increase airport capacity in the UK

leunig bigger and quieterCongratulations to Tim Leunig — these days a senior adviser in the Department for Education, but until recently chief economist at the CentreForum think-tank — whose report Bigger and quieter: the right answer for aviation was the winner this week of the economic and financial category at Prospect Magazine’s Think Tank of the Year Awards 2013.

Tim’s report, published jointly by CentreForum and Policy Exchange, examined all the options for increasing airport capacity in the UK. It supports placing four runways immediately west of the current Heathrow site, doubling the existing capacity to 130 million passengers, and cementing it as Europe’s premier hub:

We argue that the first best solution is to build four new parallel runways, arranged in two sets of pairs, immediately to the west of the existing Heathrow airport. These would run above the M25, and Wraysbury reservoir. The Poyle industrial estate and a relatively limited amount of housing would need to be demolished. Clearly the problem with Heathrow at present is noise. Moving the runways west reduces noise over west London, since the planes will be higher over any given place. We will reinforce this noise reduction by banning the noisiest planes. This is not possible in the short run, but could be achieved by 2030, a plausible date for this airport to open.

In addition, narrow bodied planes will be required to land more steeply, as they do in London City. Again, this means that they are further up when they are above any particular place, reducing the amount of noise that reaches the ground. Finally there would be an absolute ban on night flights.

Interested in reading more? Here’s the link, and below’s the full document…

Bigger and quieter: the right answer for aviation — Tim Leunig for CentreForum / Policy Exchange (October…

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Why the Lib Dems are standing for barely half the elected police commissioner posts

With nominations closed and the elections less than a month away, time for a quick recap on where the Lib Dems are at in the forthcoming police commissioner elections.

As ConHome has taken some pleasure in pointing out, the party is standing in 23 out of the 41 contests, little more than half. A little self-righteously, they argue: ‘This is a political party that is supposed to believe in radical change, in making the state more accountable to the citizen, and in boosting local democracy.’

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John Prescott should ignore this post. It asks you to think.

I had a leeetle bit of a moan about Twitter at the weekend — in particular its tendency to turn even normally quite intelligent and courteous people into the worst kind of insult-spewing trolls — and I’m afraid I’m going to do it again now…

Yesterday saw the launch by the think-tank Policy Exchange of a report entitled Ending Expensive Social Tenancies. Now I’ve not had chance to read it yet. (It’s 48 pages long.) But then I doubt that many folk have.

You don’t have to agree with its reasoning or conclusions to try and engage with its …

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Sticking up for David Gauke and his tax-avoidance comments

David Gauke, the exchequer secretary to the treasury, is a Conservative minister I’m quite happy to stick up for. He’s in the headlines this morning for an interview he gave to the Telegraph in which he states it is “morally wrong” to pay cash-in-hand to get a nod-and-a-wink no-tax discount:

“Getting a discount with your plumber by paying cash in hand is something that is a big cost to the Revenue and means others have to pay more in tax. I think it is morally wrong. It is illegal for the plumber but it is pretty implicit in those circumstances that there is a reason why there is a discount for cash. That is a large part of the hidden economy.”

His comments have provoked an unfair backlash.

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Baroness Tyler writes… To improve social mobility, we need to shine a spotlight on early years

One of the fascinating things I have discovered since joining the Lib Dem group in the Lords last year is the profusion of all party groups in Parliament on virtually every subject under the sun. There are quite simply hundreds of them including some pretty bizarre ones ! About a year ago I decided to join the cross party group on social mobility – a key interest of mine since my time in central government as the Head of the Social Exclusion Unit. On Tuesday we launched our first report at a packed event in hosted by the Policy …

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Opinion: The progressive case for aligning pension ages across the public and private sectors‏

The government is pressing ahead with plans to align pension ages across the public and private sectors. By 2020, both men and women in the private sector will have their retirement ages aligned at 66. But if the public sector is left unreformed, many people working within it would still be able to retire with their public sector pension available from the age of 60 or 65 (depending on whether they are male or female).

There is a progressive case to be made for aligning the public and private sector in this respect. Recent research has shown that currently the …

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Andrew Stunell MP writes: Buildings are the key to reducing carbon emissions

We risk losing our battle against climate change unless we make the built environment more sustainable. That was the message I gave the audience at a Greening our Homes seminar arranged by the Policy Exchange Think Tank yesterday. It’s a stark message, but is backed up by the facts. Around half of all the carbon emissions the UK produces each year come from buildings, with our homes contributing 27% on their own. By contrast, only 15% come from our cars, so we could reduce our carbon emissions by a greater amount with a two-thirds cut in emissions from the residential sector than by taking all our cars off the road.

Yet, when compared to sustainable transport, like electric cars, or renewable forms of energy, the built environment gets scant mention. But if we’re committed to being the greenest government ever, we need to do it in the most practical and cost-effective way we can. That means buildings.

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Visions of fairness: what the voters say they want

“Local” and “fair” are two of the most commonly used words by Liberal Democrats (and others) when trying to persuade the public to vote for a candidate or the party. On Saturday I talked about some of the evidence showing why “local” is such a powerful message, but what about “fair”?

A recent YouGov poll for Policy Exchange asked people what values they most want a political party to reflect. “Economic responsibility” came out top with 59% mentioning it and “fairness” was not that far behind on 50%. No other possible value was mentioned by more than a third of …

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How does The Spirit Level withstand a critic?

The success of Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett’s The Spirit Level (reviewed here in August) in setting the terms for much political discussion unsurprisingly triggered a burst of publications taking a sceptical look at their case. Prime amongst these is Policy Exchange’s publication Beware False Prophets, by Peter Saunders, whose title gives you a fair clue as to its line.

As the book says on its back cover:

In The Spirit Level, Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett claimed that egalitarian societies benefit rich and poor alike. Crime rates are lower, infant mortality is reduced, obesity is less prevalent, education

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Nick Clegg attacks Policy Exchange for “offensive” and “underhand” briefing – UPDATED

LDV readers may recall that last October, we ran a piece highlighting Nick Clegg’s attack on think-tank Policy exchange for circulating a a dossier questioning apparent extremist background of several of the events speakers at a forthcoming Global Peace and Unity event in London. Nick, who spoke at the event, accused the Policy Exchange’s director of “bizarre and underhand behaviour”, and questioned the validity of the evidence – attracting some flak from LDV readers in the comments thread.

I was, therefore, interested to read this article today on Liberal Conspiracy under the headline, Exclusive: Policy Exchange forced

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    The actual reference is "Keynesian economists such as Paul Krugman argue that fiscal deficits crowd-in private sector investment. Well-targeted, timely and temporary increases in government...
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    Thanks for this John, The Lib Dems have a federal structure so it’s rather odd that this hasn’t been reflected much in policy. England has...
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    In no way should we be going snooping for peoples wealth indoors,find another way. If there is opposition to wind farms on land an alternative...
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    Peter, I liked your link to tutor2u. Geoff Riley states, “Keynesian economists argue that fiscal deficits crowd-in private sector investment”. If the economy is not...
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    Michael BG, the Brexit forecasts are based on permanent loss of growth. The BofE forecast https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/-/media/boe/files/report/2018/eu-withdrawal-scenarios-and-monetary-and-financial-stability.pdf?la=en&hash=B5F6EDCDF90DCC10286FC0BC599D94CAB8735DFB notes: "The estimated paths for GDP, CPI inflation and...
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    Interesting post Kirsten many thanks. As an ex Specialist Learning Disabilities Nurse I can relate to what you are saying. Seems no party has any...