Lord Saatchi Retires as CPS Chair

There’s big churn over at the CPS, where Lord Saatchi has been replaced as Chairman after 10 years by former Tory Party treasurer and City grandee, Michael SpencerAs a highly influential think tank amongst Tory MPs, it’s a powerful role…

Robyn Staveley, formerly of Help for Heroes and the Tory’s election campaign, has also joined the think tank as their new head of comms, replacing Emma Barr who left to join the Government as a SpAd. Overall there’s less post-election churn of wonks than usual, because Boris’ purge cleared them all out back in August…

mdi-timer 6th January 2020 @ 11:30 am 6th Jan 2020 @ 11:30 am mdi-comment Comments
Chuka’s Think Tank Running Out of Cash

Progressive Centre UK – the Think Tank Chuka Umunna chairs for £5,000 a month – appears to be in danger of going bust, putting Chuka’s very quality of life at risk. How can a man be expected to survive on a mere £80,000 MP wage…

According to their most recent annual report, the think tank is now worth less than £2,500 – with just £1,337 ‘cash at bank and in hand’. Perhaps the donors have tired of funding what is effectively Chuka’s own fan club. Three recent exciting events have all featured Chuka; at LibDem conference there was a chance to hear an interview with Chuka, listen to Chuka on “the causes of Brexit” and learn from him about being “progressive”. All reminiscent of Gordon Brown’s personal think tank, the John Smith Institute. There are however no upcoming events planned.

The centrist dad of the think tank world has faced criticism they’ve u-turned on their promise to publish their annual list of donors, supporters and partners. Normally this secrecy would raise eyebrows, but by the looks of things, Progressive Centre don’t actually have any donors…

mdi-timer 20th November 2019 @ 2:15 pm 20th Nov 2019 @ 2:15 pm mdi-comment Comments
Boris is Bringing Back Big State Conservativism

The manifestos are being finalised and Guido has bad news, they are all offering a bigger state, more spending and more government borrowing. All the signs are that the Tories plan to win Labour heartlands by outbidding Labour’s 2017 manifesto when it comes to spending. The scale of the planned spending splurge is unprecedented. This bear in mind is after Sajid Javid has already increased spending by 4.1% in real terms for 2020-21 relative to 2019-20. That is the biggest jump in spending since Gordon Brown in 2002 was released from his 1997 manifesto promise to stick to Ken Clarke’s spending envelope.

Resolution Foundation’s analysis of commitments, made before more free stuff is promised in the Tory manifesto, reminds us that:

  • Total Managed Expenditure by the state is on an upward trajectory once again, despite the (rising) deficit. Spending is set to rise to 40.6% of GDP; higher than it was under Chancellor Gordon Brown.
  • This is before an expected surge in infrastructure spending by the state. The Tories are hinting there will be a £100 billion splurge.
  • Increased spending on the NHS will take government spending up to 42% by 2023
  • Welfare spending has been increased at the expense of national defence
  • On this trend demographics alone will drive the state to spending 50% of GDP by the middle of this century

Without a fiscal framework and firm intention to resist the growth of the state, the Tories will end up being a party of big government, permanent deficit spending and high taxes. Sajid Javid has a portrait of Margaret Thatcher on the wall in his office looking down on him, her era now risks becoming an aberration in Conservative Party governance…

mdi-timer 4th November 2019 @ 10:15 am 4th Nov 2019 @ 10:15 am mdi-comment Comments
Wonk Watch: October Edition

With an election just 43 days away, it’s not just political parties that are beefing up. The Westminster think tank scene is seeing changes too, with Policy Exchange in particular kicking back against the great wonk brain drain caused by Number 10’s think tank hiring spree.

Guido can reveal that PX is beefing up its domestic policy team by hiring Kwasi Kwarteng’s former BEIS SpAd Iain Mansfield to be their new Head of Education, Skills, Science and Innovation. Readers might remember Mansfield as the Cambridge physicist turned star civil servant who won the IEA’s coveted €100,000 Brexit Prize back in 2014. It’s a good time for Brexiteers in wonkland…

Mansfield joins former Hancock SpAd Richard Sloggett, who has joined the think tank as a Senior Fellow working on health policy, including social care. Policy Exchange have also announced that Guido alumnus and Telegraph columnist Juliet Samuel as well as the broadcaster Trevor Phillips, will be joining as Senior Fellows. On the flip side Guido understands that PX now have ten alumni in Government, including Number 10’s Munira Mirza, Chief Secretary Rishi Sunak, and Lords Leader Baroness Evans…

Meanwhile, the Adam Smith Institute has snapped up Charlotte Kude as their new Head of Government Affairs. Kude formerly worked for staunch Brexiteer MEP David Campbell-Bannerman in the European Parliament and Salmond slaying Colin Clark in the House of Commons. Welcome to Westminster’s Wonkland…

Over at the Taxpayers’ Alliance, Sam Packer has joined to beef up the media team. Sam joins from doing PR at Grayling, after working on campaigns in UK and US. Darwin Friend has been hired as a researcher. Formerly a research assistant in Parliament, Darwin will now be applying his forensic eye to ramping up TPA FOI programme. Recent Nottingham grad and part-time ballet dancer Freya Stear has joined as Operations Assistant.

mdi-timer 30th October 2019 @ 3:38 pm 30th Oct 2019 @ 3:38 pm mdi-comment Comments
Wonk Watch: October Edition

As the dust settles around the new Government and its wide-ranging appointment of wonks there have been a smattering of new appointments and promotions.

As keen observers of Guido’s SpAd list will have seen, former CCHQ media monitoring guru, Afghanistan veteran, and CPS Head of Digital Gareth Milner has been snapped up by DExEU to become a special adviser. Gareth is a popular fixture in Westminster and will be missed by wonk world. Congrats on the appointment!

As Gareth leaves the CPS, his former #TeamSaj colleague Nick King is returning to the organisation after taking a leave of absence for a stint working on the now-chancellor’s leadership campaign. Over at the IEA, former James Heappey staffer Emily Carver is joining as Media Manager, and Emma Revell has been promoted to head of communications at the institute. Emma joined the organisation from the CPS to become Comms Manager in April. Well deserved promotion… 

The CPS has bolstered its ranks by taking on the Vote Leave veteran, who was Number 10’s former Political Secretary, the recently ennobled Stephen Parkinson and the New Schools Network founder and former Number 10 policy unit’s Rachel Wolf. Both have become CPS Research Fellows and members of its Advisory Council. Congratulations!

As always, keep up to date with the full list of Government Special Advisers here

Email any additions to team@order-order.com…

mdi-timer 7th October 2019 @ 4:47 pm 7th Oct 2019 @ 4:47 pm mdi-comment Comments
Cummings’ Westminster Wonk Brain Drain

The clear out of advisers in government as Dominic Cummings banishes the non-believers, dead wood and less than effective, has seen him turn to the Westminster think tanks for talent. The wonk brain drain as Cummings hoovers dysons up some of the best and the brightest is noticeable. This has had a knock-on effect, with vacancies at many of the think tanks. It is a good time to be a recent graduate with free market leanings if you want a job in Westminster…

The Taxpayers’ Alliance has three vacancies, the Institute of Economic Affairs has two, the Centre for Policy Studies has a vacancy, and Policy Exchange does too. Across SW1 the picture is the same…

On the campaigns front the key skill in demand is the ability to edit video for social media, the party HQs are really switching – finally – heavily towards digital campaigning. So invest some time in mastering video editing software and you could be hired in a gif-y…

mdi-timer 28th August 2019 @ 2:25 pm 28th Aug 2019 @ 2:25 pm mdi-comment Comments
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