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




Tip offs: 0709 284 0531
team@Order-order.com

Quote of the Day

Sky’s Faisal Islam on the mood in Parliament at the moment:

“It’s a totally febrile atmosphere here. It’s kind of like Game of Thrones meets House of Cards – and if you chuck in the Labour Party – Laurel and Hardy too.”

Guidogram: Sign up

Subscribe to the most succinct 7 days a week daily email read by thousands of Westminster insiders.

Facebook

GLOVES OFF: CRABB GOES FOR BORIS GLOVES OFF: CRABB GOES FOR BORIS
JEDIS FOR JEZ JEDIS FOR JEZ
DON’T TRIGGER ARTICLE 50 UNTIL THE DEAL IS CLEAR DON’T TRIGGER ARTICLE 50 UNTIL THE DEAL IS CLEAR
SNP CELEBRATE ENGLAND OUT OF EUROPE SNP CELEBRATE ENGLAND OUT OF EUROPE
LEADSOM WAITING FOR BORIS TO OFFER HER CHANCELLOR LEADSOM WAITING FOR BORIS TO OFFER HER CHANCELLOR
Happy Brexit Ma’am Happy Brexit Ma’am
TRACKING #TORYLEADERSHIP CAMPAIGN 2016 TRACKING #TORYLEADERSHIP CAMPAIGN 2016
SEUMAS’ BAD IDEA SEUMAS’ BAD IDEA
FARAGE VICTORY SPEECH TO EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT FARAGE VICTORY SPEECH TO EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT
LABOUR COUP DAY 3 LABOUR COUP DAY 3
INSIDE THE PLP: “THE WORST SPEECH I HAVE EVER HEARD IN MY LIFE” INSIDE THE PLP: “THE WORST SPEECH I HAVE EVER HEARD IN MY LIFE”
“SAVE JEZ” SUPPORTERS DEMAND “100 NEW MPS” “SAVE JEZ” SUPPORTERS DEMAND “100 NEW MPS”
CAMERON ON LABOUR: “AND I THOUGHT I WAS HAVING A BAD DAY” CAMERON ON LABOUR: “AND I THOUGHT I WAS HAVING A BAD DAY”
JUNXIT! JUNCKER FACING CALLS TO RESIGN JUNXIT! JUNCKER FACING CALLS TO RESIGN
Runners & Riders Runners & Riders
Social Media’s Filter Bubble Driving Political Anger Social Media’s Filter Bubble Driving Political Anger
4 a.m. Tom Watson 4 a.m. Tom Watson
Britain Votes For Brexit Britain Votes For Brexit