Kemi Calls in Intellectual Support to Resist Woke Policy Skew in Government

As the two-year anniversary of the Sewell Report approaches, and with Nicola Sturgeon’s Gender Recognition Bill threatening women-only spaces across the UK, Guido is happy to report that Kemi Badenoch has beefed up her team in the Equalities Unit by appointing Nikki Da Costa and Mercy Muroki as Policy Fellows. Two warriors in the culture war on the side of the angels.

Nikki has served as the Director of Legislative Affairs for two PMs, has huge experience navigating parliament, and speaks a whole lot of sense on women’s issues. Mercy has a Masters from Oxford on Social Policy and was one of the Commissioners on Tony Sewell’s mould-breaking Race and Ethnic Disparities Commission, who – to the disgust of much of the Labour Party and the woke left – found that Britain was “not an institutionally racist country”.

With nearly every charity, chattering class pundit and academic ready to slaughter anyone with a dissident view on women and equalities issue regardless of what they say, this Government can use all the outside expertise it can get…

mdi-timer 9 January 2023 @ 15:26 9 Jan 2023 @ 15:26 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Onward and Upward for Seb Payne

When Guido heard the rumour a fortnight ago that one Seb Payne was trying for a seat at the next election, the party of his choosing was not hard to guess. It therefore makes complete sense that this morning he announces his move from His Majesty’s Financial Times to wet-centrist Tory think tank Onward. Its former director has just made a move into No. 10 as Rishi’s deputy chief of staff…

The press announcement this morning saw Payne hail his new outfit as “Westminster’s finest think tank”:

“Onward’s values are my values and I can’t wait to take up the mantle from the outstanding work done by Will [Tanner] and Adam [Hawksbee].”

Danny Finkelstein, chairman of Onward’s advisory board, says, “It is testimony to the quality and influence of Onward’s work that we have been able to attract such a prominent and respected centre-right journalist to this job.” Guido has asked Northumberland-native Seb whether he’s hoping for Hexham or Berwick in 2024…

mdi-timer 7 December 2022 @ 09:56 7 Dec 2022 @ 09:56 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
The Wonks of Rishi’s Government

Having now published the full, up-to-date SpAd list, Guido thought it’d be a good idea to see how the wonk composition has changed since Liz’s days.

Policy Exchange is still up there with six SpAds, and has opened a lead over the CPS who have dropped down to four.

Notably, the IEA, TPA and ASI have all fallen way back. As has, ahem, the number of Guido alumni…

  • Will Tanner – Onward
  • Nerissa Chesterfield – IEA
  • Sophie Falkner – PX
  • James Nation – PX and Reform
  • John Bew – PX
  • Francesca Fraser – Onward and PX
  • Adam Memon – CPS
  • Callum Price – CPS
  • Giles Dilnot – Legatum
  • Victoria Hewson – Legatum and IEA
  • Peter Quentin – Civitas
  • Rob Ede – Policy Exchange
  • Guy Miscampbell – Onward
  • Will Holloway – Onward
  • Ed Winfield – Henry Jackson
  • James Heywood – CPS
  • Robyn Staveley – CPS
  • Sophie Bolsover – Henry Jackson

Onward will be happy…

mdi-timer 22 November 2022 @ 15:48 22 Nov 2022 @ 15:48 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Free Market Wonks Recoil at Hunt’s Tax Hikes

Guido once again brings you the lowdown on wonk world’s reaction to the autumn statement. As expected, the free market think tanks aren’t happy…

The TaxPayers’ Alliance Chief Executive John O’Connell slammed the Chancellor for whacking up taxes on working families:

“These plans look set to prolong the crippling cost of government crisis. Taxpayers will take a kicking over the coming years to pay for a raft of spending increases, with most tough decisions seemingly kicked into the long grass. The government should have set out how they will get costs under control, not compounded the misery of sky-high inflation with tax hikes on working families.”

Institute of Economic Affairs Director-General Mark Littlewood was similarly unhappy:

“The Chancellor has put the United Kingdom firmly on track for higher taxes, more spending, and lower growth. This is a recipe for managed decline, not a plan for prosperity […] Jeremy Hunt is right to emphasise the need to bring down our debt burden and slow down the growth in government spending. But the consequence of considerable tax hikes could be a deeper and longer economic downturn – ultimately resulting in less taxpayer revenue over the long-term.”

Adam Smith Institute Head of Research Daniel Pryor declared the statement “a return to managed decline”:

“Entering a recession promising the highest tax burden in three-quarters of a century does not strike the right balance between fiscal credibility and growth. The Chancellor highlighted the harms of inflation, then added fuel to fire by threatening yet more tax threshold freezes—undermining productivity whilst hitting the pockets of people across the income spectrum.”

Centre for Social Justice CEO Andy Cook, meanwhile, wasn’t so brutal :

“The return of ‘compassion’ to the government’s political lexicon is welcome and overdue. Today the Government answered calls from the Centre for Social Justice and others to uprate the incomes of the poorest households in line with inflation, against fiercely competing pressures on the public purse. For this the Chancellor deserves credit. But the cost-of-living crisis is far from over. Many people who are just about managing will, come Christmas, be barely coping if at all. As recession darkens over the UK economy the Government must go further than welfare top-ups and accelerate plans to help people into productive employment.”

Centre for Policy Studies Director Robert Colvile took to Twitter for a brief reaction. Not quite the champagne-popping statement from Kwasi’s plan back in September:

“Notable mostly for the truly awful things that were avoided after being trailed, [especially] on tax […] Nothing there that any one group is going to massively howl about – pain spread evenly (apart from on the rich and no one likes them anyway)”

Onward Interim Director Adam Hawksbee gave Hunt a thumbs up for taking “tough decisions“:

“The Chancellor’s main job today was to begin restoring political stability and economic credibility. He has taken tough decisions in a difficult environment to achieve that goal. And he seems to have done so in a way which limits the impact on the most vulnerable, protecting benefits while taxing high earners and energy companies. Today was not a return to austerity. The difficult task ahead is to boost growth and unlock opportunity across the country…”

Policy Exchange Head of Economics and Social Policy Connor MacDonald also praised Hunt for taking a “balanced approach”

“The Chancellor unveiled a fiscal statement today that took a balanced approach, in the midst of huge economic uncertainty generated predominantly by factors external to the UK. It protected core public services and maintained capital and R&D spending, ensuring that the UK’s growth prospects are not unduly undermined. The decision to uprate benefits was on balance the right one, although a wider discussion needs to be had about the sustainability of the triple lock going forward. The Government made the right moves on energy, including an expanded windfall taxes and will significantly increase efforts around efficiency and maintains commitments to greater energy resilience. This is not an austerity budget.”

Institute for Fiscal Studies Director Paul Johnson said that while the statement wasn’t as grim as had been briefed… it still wasn’t great:

“The next few years look grim in terms of living standards, the biggest reduction in household incomes, possibly on record and certainly within recent generations.”

Plenty of talk this morning from the Chancellor about “unfunded tax cuts“. There are no such thing. There’s only unfunded spending…

mdi-timer 17 November 2022 @ 14:41 17 Nov 2022 @ 14:41 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Former Boris SpAd Launches New Pro-Growth Campaign Outfit

A former Boris SpAd, an ex-ASI wonk and a popular SW1 policy bod have joined forces to launch a new campaign to push for policies that will boost growth. The new group, Britain Remade, has correctly diagnosed the problem of Britain’s inability to get any infrastructure whatsoever built, and the country’s decline is a result of NIMBYish choices made to appease organised special interests. Preaching to the choir lads…

The triumvirate of YIMBYs is being spearheaded by Sam Richards, who for three years appeared on Guido’s SpAd list as the environment and DEFRA advisor in the No. 10 policy unit. Launching the group, he cited onshore wind and solar farms, which are not just good for the UK’s energy security but have majority support, despite partisan opposition from Rishi and Liz over the summer.

“We used to be a country that used our expertise in science and engineering to build things. Britain built the first railway, coal-fired power station and commercial nuclear power station. 

We believe Britain can do it again. But it means building a movement large enough to ensure Westminster, and other decision makers, hear the voices of those who support pro-growth politicies like building new clean energy, new homes, and new railways.”

Hopefully it’s full steam ahead from here on out…

mdi-timer 14 November 2022 @ 10:00 14 Nov 2022 @ 10:00 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
BBC Hide Think Tank Report’s Left-Wing Bias

The BBC has been quick to publish a favourable write-up of a recent think tank report from the Progressive Economy Forum. The report was presented as a neutral analysis, with the authors presented simply as a “group of economists”. A little digging shows they are not simply economists, they’re also ardent lefties…

Their observations, quoted by the BBC without challenge, include “a consensus among economists” that austerity is damaging, “as the experience of the last decade in Britain has shown” – and that government policy is based on “very shaky foundations”. It doesn’t take a genius to work out which side of the tax-spend debate they sit on…

The Progressive Economy Forum website shows their council members, including the likes of Faiza ShaheenJames Meadway and Danny Dorling, who wouldn’t be out of place at a Momentum rally. As for the authors quoted directly in the article, Rob Calvert Jump publicly endorsed Corbyn’s 2017 election manifesto, whilst Jo Churchill has a history of pro-Corbyn tweets.

As co-conspirators know, Guido welcomes the BBC providing a platform for all viewpoints. However, presenting activists as objective, impartial authorities is hardly in keeping with the BBC charter. The Corporation would never treat the IEA like that.

UPDATE: The BBC has updated the article to reflect the political persuasions of the report and has also included a right-of-centre perspective. The new version also has the welcome addition of the phrase “experts disputed the findings”. For posterity, co-conspirators can view the old version here. That wasn’t so hard, was it?

mdi-timer 10 November 2022 @ 11:13 10 Nov 2022 @ 11:13 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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