Private Sector Wonks Under Fire from Public Sector Wonks

A new report has claimed that left-wing think tanks are more transparent than their right-wing counterparts. New left-wing pressure group Who Funds You awards an A-rating to the likes of left-of-centre campaigns IPPR, Progress and Compass, while laying into the right-of-centre Adam Smith Institute and the Taxpayers’ Alliance for their supposed lack of openness. Ignoring of course that right-of-centre think tanks don’t usually take public money from the taxpayers. Left-wing think tanks benefit from a lot of taxpayers’ money, IPPR for example got £800,000 of taxpayers’ money via the EU…

UPDATE: The ASI have hit back:

Touché… 

Because He's Worth It

Earlier this month Guido broke the news that No.10 SpAd Dr Sean Worth had quit his job to take up a post at Policy Exchange. Putting his head above the parapet for the first time since, the good doctor appeared on Newsnight last night. If only Worth’s former colleagues could say these things like this while still in government… 

Video via LiarPoliticians

GDP Growth Was Higher in the 1930s

On the Today programme yesterday morning Ed Balls claimed Osborne has made a giant mistake and cuts in public spending are the same mistake made by Snowden in the 1930s. Balls is wrong, as a recent pamphlet from the Centre for Policy Studies by George Trefgarne shows. After the 1929-31 Wall Street Crash the British economy recovered rapidly in the 1930s:

If only we currently had a growth rate like they averaged in the thirties…

Time to Sack the Statist "Charity" Sock Puppets

Guido has always seen state-funded charities as a constant source of annoyance. Today the Institute of Economic Affairs calls on the government to bring an end to lobbying by charities that receive taxpayers’ money. They even quote Guido’s jibe about fake charities from last year:

“A charity that relies in the main part on taxes is no more a charity than a prostitute is your girlfriend”.

Guido couldn’t have put it better himself…

IPPR Advocate Crime Tracking App

Guido has often taken the left-wing iPPR think-tank to task for some of its craziest policy ideas, the never ending hyper-Keynesian fallacies it pumps out and for flogging access for cash in the past. So when they come out with a good idea it is a noteworthy shock.

They are advocating the nationwide adoption of a crime-tracking app to enable victims in to follow their case through the criminal justice system.

  • The courts, CPS and police should ensure that data is shared and that victims can follow their cases all the way from first report to sentencing.
  • Crime maps should be made interactive and display real-time information to change them from being purely a tool of transparency and accountability to one that could help prevent and reduce crime.
  • The courts should become more accessible and transparent by publishing details online of the progress of cases, transcripts, judgements and sentences.

The criminal justice system at times seems to be in near chaos, cases get lost, villains escape justice, victims get lost in the confusion. Transparency would increase the pressure on the “supply chain” management of the system. When things go wrong victims will become aware of where and when it went wrong and pressure can be applied to rectify the problem.

Guido understands that real-time crime mapping is already a Downing Street priority, this data sharing idea for the wider criminal justice system will chime with government thinking. No doubt the ludicrously inefficient Courts and cops will have objections…

Exclusive: No. 10 SpAd Sean Worth QuittingMoving to Policy Exchange Think Tank

Special Adviser to the Prime Minister Sean Worth is departing government to head up an investigation into better public services at Policy Exchange. It seems to be mid-term transfer season with lots of  SpAds looking to move on and out. Worth was on secondment to fire-fight at health and Guido hears, like another recently departed member of Team Dave, he wants to be able to speak out more than he currently can about how to radically reform the public sector.

This is the second prominent hire for Policy Exchange from government – with No.10 policy wonk James O’Shaughnessy also joining their teamTraditionally seen as a bit of a SpAd school, Policy Exchange seems to becoming a rehab centre for them on the way out of government too…

Pic via Political Pictures

UPDATE:

Small is Beautiful

Guido really likes this video from the wonks at the Centre for Policy Studies, it animates a very clear message, around the world lower taxes lead to higher growth rates.

The data is pretty clearly presented, are you watching Mr Osborne?

Wonks Goes West

Tom Clougherty is leaving his post as Executive Director of the Adam Smith Institute at the end of April. He will be taking up a new post as Managing Editor of the libertarian Reason Foundation think-tank in Washington DC.

Dr Madsen Pirie, president of the ASI tells Guido, “We are very sorry to be losing Tom because of the incredible work he did to build up the ASI, but this is a wonderful opportunity for him and we wish him well in his new venture.”  There are a lot of ladies in Westminster who will miss the charmer’s smile too..

We are on the eve of a round of musical chairs in Westminster’s wonk-land – expect announcements soon. Downing Street is looking likely to have a big re-organisation of personnel on the policy unit front – Steve Hilton is off to California and Clegg’s strategy wonk Richard Reeves is also leaving for America. They are not the only ones said to be leaving Downing Street.  Foreceful political direction of the civil service is much needed, the permanent bureaucracy has become far too dominant in Downing Street…

Think Tank Lets Sponsor Co-Author Research Report

The link between think-tank research and its “sponsors” has always been opaque. A cynical man would say companies bung a load of cash to shape supposedly independent research, but wonks wil always stress that their final recommendations are free from the influence of their paymasters.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Confessions of a Young Think-Tanker

Westminster tube commuters are currently greeted with advertisements for Think Tank: The Story of the Adam Smith Institute“. The book is the story of how a handful of motivated individuals, without any backing or resources except their own conviction, managed to create a think-tank which played a key role in the transformation of the country. […]

+ READ MORE +

The EU is getting Value for Money From IPPR

Leaving aside IPPR’s massive shift to the left, that has culminated in quotes for Seamus Milne’s knocking copy, Guido had to chuckle at their latest email:

IPPR event series:
Where next for Europe?

The ‘democratic deficit’ and reform of the EU’s machinery

Tuesday 21st February 2012
12:30 – 14:00
IPPR Offices, 14 Buckingham Street, London WC2N 6DF

Nothing to do with the fact that IPPR stays afloat thanks to an €800,000 bung from the EU…[…]

+ READ MORE +

Balls Adopts Osborne’s ‘Plan A’ Tells Fabians “There Is No Alternative”

Today sees the evil Fabians holding their “The Economic Alternative” conference and Ed Balls is the keynote speaker.  To raise the curtain he has an interview with Mary Riddell in the conference edition of the Fabian Review. Print deadlines however mean the interview was given some weeks ago when the party line repeated ad nauseuam was different to what it is this morning.[…]

+ READ MORE +

High Pay Commission Criticises Rusbridger’s Pay Rise

Guido had better things to do than attend Chuka Umunna’s speech yesterday at an event organised by the re-energised IPPR, but that’s not to say he didn’t have eyes and ears in the room. There was a panel discussion afterwards featuring, among others, Lord Myners and Deborah Hargreaves, the Chairman of the self-appointed High Pay Commission. […]

+ READ MORE +

Exclusive: James O’Shaughnessy Returns to Policy Exchange

After leaving Downing Street a few months ago, in less than clear circumstances, policy-chief James O’Shaughnessy popped back onto the radar in this morning’s Times. Not only has he penned a passionate article about Gove’s education reforms, but he’s put his money where his mouth is:

“This is why I left Downing Street to start a new social business that aims to operate schools and to provide educational services based on a blend of traditional values and positive psychology: because after ten years as a policy wonk I believe that lasting change will only happen from the bottom up.”

However his blue sky days aren’t quite over yet.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Social Justice and the Housing Benefit Cap

The Labour left and the Guardian are getting very worked up about the perfectly reasonable housing benefit cap proposal

“for example Louise Ryan, 41, who lives with her husband and two children in Islington, north London, will see the £438-a-week benefit, which covers the rent, reduced to £340 under the changes to housing benefit introduced this month.”

To just afford that £438 rent those of us who work would have to earn as below:

Yearly Monthly Weekly
Gross Income £30,000.00 £2,500.00 £576.92
Pension Deductions £0.00 £0.00 £0.00
Taxable Income £22,525.00 £1,877.08 £433.17
Tax £4,505.00 £375.42 £86.63
National Insurance £2,733.00 £227.75 £52.56
Student Loan £0.00 £0.00 £0.00
Take Home £22,762.00 £1,896.83 £437.73

That rent alone is higher than median wages.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Second Policy Salvo Against MilibandMandelson Backed Think-Tank Launches Another Broadside

For the second time in a month Peter Mandelson’s think-tank, Policy Network, has launched a policy salvo against the direction the Labour Party is taking under Miliband. Mandelson privately is contemptuous of young Ed, these high-minded wonkish policy exhortations are the respectable manifestation of that contempt.[…]

+ READ MORE +



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