Sunday, June 12, 2011

Political Matthew Taylor Risks RSA’s Charitable Status

Guido likes Matthew Taylor, he is a smart operator, shares Guido’s view of Gordon Brown and now runs the Royal Society of Arts. He is unfortunately turning this august institution into a third-way “progressive” think tank. He shouldn’t, hard as it might be for Tony Blair’s former Chief Adviser on Political Strategy and a former director of the IPPR to depoliticise himself, he really ought to separate his personal agenda from the RSA’s mission.

The Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures & Commerce has a mission to “embolden enterprise, enlarge science, refine art, improve our manufactures and extend our commerce”. Past members have included Benjamin Franklin, Adam Smith, William Hogarth, Charles Dickens and Guglielmo Marconi. That is a great heritage.

Last year ahead of the AGM one Fellow, Angus Stewart, challenged the RSA, claiming that

“The real problem with the RSA is its management. It’s a political body. The title should go and it should be hived off to be a consultancy firm. The same thing happened to The Industrial Society. There is no validity here, everyone is uncomfortable, and management are uncomfortable as they know they are not liked or admired by the ordinary Fellows. In terms of quality thinking this society has no standing anymore.”

Will Hutton notoriously ran the Industrial Society into bankruptcy, the RSA is financially solid, however it is becoming intellectually bankrupt, an ideologically narrowed think-tank reflecting only Taylor’s hobby horses. Matthew will no doubt cite the invitations to George Osborne to speak and the chairmanship of right-leaning Luke Johnson. It doesn’t really deflect the central charge.

Another Fellow, Kevin Cahill, Chair of the South West Region, also challenged Taylor, arguing

“We have a perfect mandate and a simple mission, there is nothing in our mandate about reforming society or changing humanity, those are the wild utopian missions of the person in charge.

Last Thursday Taylor gave his annual keynote speech to the RSA. It was an attack on the profit motive and Milton Friedman in particular. Taylor will no doubt argue that this is perfectly in tune with the RSA mission – he has argued this before to Guido face-to-face. The Charity Commission may take a different view if he is going to turn the RSA into the IPPR Mark II. More importantly the Fellows of the RSA may not stand for it much longer. Many of them are closer in their thinking to former members the free marketeers Benjamin Franklin and Adam Smith, than to Taylor’s “twenty first century progressivism”.

See also: Matthew Taylor is Ruining the RSA, February, 2009

Dead Ed

Observer:

  • Headline: Was Ed Miliband the right choice to lead Labour?
  • Headline: Clock ticking as Labour leader Ed Miliband starts fightback
  • Quotes: Labour strategist “If he doesn’t come up with an energetic, memorable speech at conference, it will be a slow lingering death”
  • Quotes: Labour SpAd “If Ed has got this plan, then we need to see it now. It is time for him to show us why we are coming to work every day.”

Indy:

  • Headline: Brothers at War
  • Headline: MPs set deadline of months for Ed Miliband to shape up
  • Quotes: David Miliband is ‘waiting for his brother to fail’

Mail :

  • Quotes: Labour MP John Cruddas urged David Miliband regarding Ed ‘Why don’t you f*****g punch him? That’s what I’d do.’
  • Quotes: Ed Miliband’s ‘dislike for macho Ed Balls was an open secret’.

Sunday Times :

  • Headline: Labour big beasts maul Ed Miliband.
  • YouGov: Half Labour Voters Don’t Know What Ed Stands For
  • YouGov: 41% Labour Voters Think Was Wrong Leader Choice
  • YouGov: Two Thirds of Labour Voters Think Ed Ineffective

Pre-order offer Ed: The Milibands and the Making of a Labour Leader for £14.39 saving 15% (£2.60) with free delivery. Order today…


Seen Elsewhere

Liz Kendall For Leader | Indy
Bashir Booted Out By Respect | Respect
Americans Try Haggis | Guardian
Page 3 and the Art of the Self-Pity Statement | Guardian
Steven Woolfe For UKIP Leader? | Asa Bennett
Mohammed — in Pictures | Speccie
Leon Brittan’s Accusers Must Show Their Evidence | Dan Hodges
New Saudi King Renames Roads While Body Still Warm | TechnoGuido
In Davos, Carrying a BlackBerry is a Status Symbol | Business Insider
New Labour in Peep Show Quotes | Telegraph
Here is What a 7 Way Debate Sounds Like | BBC


Find out more about PLMR AD-MS


George Galloway says of his former Respect candidate the UKIP MEP turned Tory, Amjad Bashir…

“Clearly Bashir does not have any real political principles or commitment, only naked opportunism and self-interest. He represents the revolving door principle in politics. The Tories are welcome to him because he will cause them embarrassment. Fortunately Respect was able to act before he did it to us.”


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