Should the UK government be giving £50 towards bike repairs?
Do the new obesity measures amount to anything more than needless nanny statism?
And, as Madonna and Donald Trump Jr. join Grime artist Wiley on the social media naughty step, we ask: Should they be censured or banned, or should they have the right to be wrong?
All this and more will be under debate tonight as host Mark Littlewood is joined by a stellar cast of commentators, journalists and think tankers.
Taking part will be the Spectator’s Kate Andrews, the Telegraph’s Tim Stanley and the Sun’s Olivia Utley.
They’ll be joined by Silkie Carlo, of Big Brother Watch, commentator James Price and Matt Kilcoyne of the Adam Smith Institute. Zooming in from America will be John Tillman of the Illinois Policy Institute and, from closer to home, the IEA’s Christopher Snowdon.
Be sure to join the LIVE WITH LITTLEWOOD debate – TONIGHT at 6pm – here or on YouTube.
As Black Lives Matter protests spread across the world, so too have accusations of virtue-signalling. Do we risk prioritising symbolism over substance?
Will Clapping for Carers stop the case being made for root and branch reform of the NHS?
Can regional lockdowns work?
And why is the Prime Minister looking to FDR?
All this and more will be under discussion tonight as LIVE WITH LITTLEWOOD returns to a screen near you.
Host Mark Littlewood will be joined by The Spectator’s Kate Andrews, Conservative commentator Alex Deane, Spiked’s Brendan O’Neill, political journalist Benedict Spence, The Critic’s Oliver Wiseman and Guido Fawkes’ Tom Harwood . They be joined by John Tillman, from the Illinois Policy Institute, and the IEA’s Stephen Davies and Christopher Snowdon.
JOIN IN THE DEBATE – LIVE at 6.30 – HERE or on YouTube.
Fraser Nelson has lured Kate Andrews from the Institute of Economic Affairs to become the Spectator’s economics correspondent. He wants her to produce economic stories rooted in fact. If as Guido suspects we are about to enter into an era of big spending, big government under the Tories, it is a shrewd move for the Tory house journal to have an economic critique rooted in free market thinking. Fraser has always had a penchant for charts and data so Kate will have to brush up her spreadsheet skills. Her years at the IEA, and before that the ASI, articulating the case for free markets in studios and on Question Time panels has been impressive…
Philip Hammond’s fiscal responsibility challenge might not be the most exciting intervention in the Tory leadership race but it has received a warm welcome from many of Westminster’s top think tanks. The Institute of Economic Affairs’ Kate Andrews says:
“The Chancellor has dished out a fair and sensible warning to leadership candidates. Slashing tax and spending increases must go hand-in-hand with cuts in other areas and a radical pro-growth agenda, otherwise they are not fiscally responsible policies…
“With the UK tax burden at a near-fifty year high, putting more money back in people’s wallets should be a top priority, but it shouldn’t mean abandoning fiscal responsibility along the way.”
The Adam Smith Institute’s Matt Kilcoyne welcomes the move too:
“Right message at the right time from the Chancellor. As we approach the Cost of Government Day on the 18th June, the first day of the year that private spending overtakes all the spending and borrowing the government does on your behalf, it’s good to see a Conservative preaching fiscal responsibility.
“The UK still has a deficit, a mountain of debt, and government is still passing the buck onto those too young to vote. The next generation shouldn’t be sold out with election pledges made at the expense of their own futures.”
The TaxPayers’ Alliance also give it their seal of approval:
“Philip Hammond is right that a Tory leadership battle isn’t the place for a public spending arms race. A spending spree by the current, or next Prime Minister could leave taxpayers saddled with bills.”
As far as Guido is aware, none of the candidates have committed to Phil’s fiscal responsibility pledge so far. Nor has the current Prime Minister shown any hint of reconsidering her uncosted trillion pound black hole she’s leaving behind for her successor…
UPDATE: It turns out Phil’s Pledge has been taken by the most left-wing candidate in the race, Rory Stewart. If Rory can find time out from his never-ending walks around supermarket car parks to make the pledge, why can’t any of his supposedly more Conservative rivals?
Wonk world transfer news: the Institute of Economic Affairs is making some staff changes. Nerissa Chesterfield is being promoted to the role of Head of Comms from the role as Comms Officer following Steph Lis moving to work for Dominic Raab. Nerissa previously worked at Vote Leave and Business for Britain. Kate Andrews has been appointed as the IEA’s Associate Director, overseeing communications, digital outreach, public affairs, and the FREER initiative. Kate has served as News Editor of the IEA for the past two and a half years. Big promotion for 28 year-old Kate Andrews…
This Sky debate between Stella Creasy and the IEA’s Kate Andrews, and the ensuing Twitter spat, is quite something. Kate noted that conflating equal pay with the gender pay gap is problematic, and criticised the attempt to piggyback on the #MeToo campaign. Stella did not take it well, wrongly demanding Kate apologise for “misquoting” the ONS:
Hi @KateAndrs will you apologise to the @ONS for misquoting their data? Anytime you want to join the real world when it comes to fight for equality you would be welcome! https://t.co/FxDbSsyfpc #noshittakingmp
— stellacreasy (@stellacreasy) April 2, 2018
Kate responded, proving her own claims and debunking Stella’s:
Hi @stellacreasy. Did not misquote. Said #paygap stats are wildly out of sync w/ ONS stats, which are 9.1% for full-time & -5.1% for part-time. This is a fact. It’s not subject to your opinion. https://t.co/RTslbGCT1j You responded w/ the data below. Here’s the problem. (Thread) https://t.co/lFG6nI6pn1
— Kate Andrews (@KateAndrs) April 2, 2018
With no meaningful comeback, Stella instead blocked Kate, going on to tweet that she had been “brainwashed” and, bizarrely, that Kate had mocked her disability (she hadn’t). As anyone who has ever interacted with Stella on Twitter knows, she really doesn’t like being proved wrong…