Adam Smith Institute Most Recognised UK Think Tank

Despite 60% of Brits knowing what a think tank is, just 3.74% can name one according to new wonk-focused research by ‘We are Flint’. The Adam Smith Institute comes up trumps as the only think tank with to secure more than 1% recognition. Their meme-filled Twitter account must be paying dividends, they’ve already updated their bio to reflect the findings. They tell Guido:

“The Adam Smith Institute has stood consistently and unashamedly by its principles for over four decades—we’re happy to see that means more people know us than any other research outfit.

“It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the New Economics Foundation (ranking: 19), that we expect our dinner, but from regards to our own crucial work.

“We might all be guided by the invisible hand but we’d be lying if we said we don’t love being a little more visible than everyone else.”

Despite reaching the heady heights of 1.44% recognition, significantly ahead of runners-up the Fabian Society on just 0.85%, the ASI will be less pleased to hear that the margin of error of the 2,000 person poll is +/- 2.2%. Meaning it’s still entirely possible that literally nobody cares outside of SW1…

Top Wonks Back Fiscal Phil’s Budget Responsibility Pledge

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?

Rory on Opium

The Tory leadership race’s resident gap yah kid opened up on his experience smoking opium in Iran this morning. He sad it was a “very stupid mistake” and he “shouldn’t have done it.” A delicious mistake, so easy to make….

The ASI’s Daniel Pryor has been quick out of the blocks with a response:

“Over 12,000 Brits are in prison for drug offences, but it’s one rule for politicians and another for the rest of us. Rory Stewart’s opium experience is nothing new – countless senior politicians have admitted to using illicit drugs, but this hasn’t translated into a sensible approach to drug policyPoliticians should spend less time apologising for taking drugs and more time sensibly regulating them.”

Quite.

Medical Marijuana Gets Green Light

Today the UK finally joined Canada, 31 US states, Australia, Israel, and many European countries as medicinal marijuana got the green light. It’s a victory for campaigners including the Adam Spliff Institute who have long campaigned for this change and celebrated with an accordingly themed Twitter makeover. Personal liberty is the real winner…

Ironically, despite the use of medical marijuana in the UK only being legalised today, the UK is already the world’s biggest clinical cannabis producer, with 95 tonnes of marijuana produced in the UK in 2016 for medicinal and scientific use, accounting for 44.9% of the world’s total. The UK is also the world’s largest (legitimate) exporter of the drug, accounting for almost 70% of global exports in 2016. Britain’s stoners won’t believe what they’ve been missing out on…

In fact the majority of the British population still feel that the bar is too high, as a new VolteFace/Populus poll revealed overwhelming support for full legalisation of the drug. 59% of people surveyed strongly supported or tended to support recreational legalisation of cannabis, compared to just 31% who opposed the idea. The UN estimates that the global recreational and medicinal marijuana market will be worth $100 billion by 2020. Forget tech startups, it’s high time the UK got on board with legalisation and embraced the ganjapreneur revolution…

ASI Call For UK To Take In Venezualen Refugees

The Adam Smith Institute has called on the Government to accept up to 10,000 Venezuelan refugees per year into the UK, as a result of their socialist inflicted humanitarian crisis. As many as four million Venezuelans have fled their homeland over the last three years, over 10% of the country’s population.

This is just one of 100 policy suggestions the ASI are offering the Government. Others include introducing a ‘free speech act’ modelled on US First Amendment case law, legalising recreational cannabis, and introducing open-access competition on Britain’s railways. People are saying the Tory party is out of ideas following their conference. Perhaps Mrs. May should take note… 

UPDATE: Still no response from Labour hours after Guido asked for their position on this…

Adam Spliff Institute Celebrates 420

Today, April 20, is ‘Weed Day‘. A day celebrated by stoners around the world. The neo-liberal think tank the Adam Smith Institute is staying true to its libertarian ideals by taking a leaf out of Peter Hitchens’ mocking term for them and embracing the charge that they are the “Adam Spliff Institute”. Now we know how they think the unthinkable. It is a sunny day, why not head out after work this evening into your garden and celebrate the day in a haze of mind altering smoke…

George Monbiot Fowls Up on Chlorine Chicken

Guardianista eco-warrior George Monbiot will be in a fowl mood today after he was caught out employing underhand statistical wizardry in an attempt to bash Brexit. Monbiot used his Guardian column to heavily hint that chlorinated chicken could be a factor behind poultry-borne infection rates which he claimed “four and five times higher in North America than in Europe“. He wrote:

“[The Adam Smith Institute] says that figures from the World Health Organisation reveal that salmonella and campylobacter infections there are “not out of line” with rates in the European Union. I checked the source: the WHO study the Adam Smith Institute cited. While the incidence of campylobacter is similar, it shows that the burdens of infection per head of population from the two species of salmonella it analyses – Salmonella typhi and Salmonella paratyphi – are, respectively, four times and five times higher in North America than in Europe. I cannot state that this is caused by chlorinated chicken, as the WHO doesn’t provide such detail. But I can state that the Adam Smith Institute’s claim is false.”

The problem with Monbiot’s wizardry it is nonsense. As the ASI comprehensively demonstrates:

“When you compare developed Western Europe, where we use the farm-to-fork approach, to developed North America, where they mostly chlorine wash at the end, the rates of the two types of salmonella seem higher in the US. But what Monbiot doesn’t report are the actual numbers. Salmonella Paratyphi A and Salmonella Typhi infections are so rare in both subregions that the difference Monbiot highlights is trivial in the context of total infections, which the WHO weights according to the disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) lost to them. The figures are 0.1 and 0.4 DALYs per 100,000 in North America versus 0.02 and 0.09 in Western Europe, respectively. But even those average estimates are misleading: the 95% confidence intervals on those numbers all touch zero, and include the rates of the opposite countries. That is: the stats are statistically insignificant from each other. When you drill down to two such specific sub-figures, relying on imperfect sources, you can’t draw a clear result. It’s like rolling two dice three times and arguing the one with the higher number is loaded: you haven’t got enough data to make that conclusion.”

Monbiot tried to hold out on Twitter, rudely dismissing those who politely pointed out he was wrong:

These rather unfortunate tweets have been deleted and he has now belatedly admitted his mistake:

You can’t just wing it on chlorine chicken, George…

Adam SPLIFF Institute: Legalising Cannabis Could Add £1 Billion to Treasury Tax Pot

cannabisAfter California voted to legalise cannabis, several MPs are backing the Adam Smith Institute’s new report calling for the same. It is a terrible tragedy that people get criminal records and go to jail for smoking something less harmful than alcohol…

Sam Bowman, the Executive Director, said making criminals of otherwise law-abiding  people “makes an ass of the law” and the only sensible approach is to legalise and regulate a product used regularly by millions of Britons. The ASI report: The Tide Effect says the tax revenue could add £1 billion to the Treasury pot and the £50m a year it costs dealing with cannabis offenders could be slashed. Worrying that the ASI is seeking new things for the government to tax…

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Peter Mandelson tells Emma Barnett…

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