Centre Write
Centre Write
In 2016, we witnessed the global rise of populism. I believe strongly that this is a reflection on the inability of governments to adequately address the big challenges arising from globalisation. For example, the low-waged in relatively rich, developed nations have seen a squeeze on their incomes as it has become harder to compete in a global marketplace. A recent poll found that 49% of participants felt that globalisation has pushed wages down for British workers, while 51% thought that…
A decades-long struggle to allow Northern Irish women access to abortions which will be funded by the NHS won on Thursday 29th June. The UK government vowed to reverse its original policy, which refused to pay for these terminations, during the amendments raised during the Queen’s Speech debates. Many Conservative MPs expressed to Tory whips their clear cut support for such an amendment made by the Labour MP of Walthamstow, Stella Creasy, to grant Northern Irish women secure access to…
Monday, 07 August 2017 12:44

Sam Hall: Housing SRC reflections

At the housing break-out session at last month’s Bright Blue social reform conference, there was a strong consensus about the need to build more homes. It was agreed that the UK property market, particularly in London, is almost uniquely unaffordable compared to other major economies. Strikingly, in England, the ratio of house prices to gross annual earnings has increased from 3.5 in 1997 to 7.5 in 2015. This is even starker in London, where, in the borough of Westminster, the…
In a BBC Question Time election special just days before the polls were to open, the leaders of Britain’s two main political parties faced, one after the other, 45 minutes of questions from a sharp, unforgiving audience. Of particular and predictable interest were Theresa May’s position on Brexit, and Jeremy Corbyn’s position on Trident – the UK’s nuclear weapons system. Both candidates faced challenges regarding their lack of clarity on these issues. May was asked to specify how large the…
The Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, of which I am a member, commented last July that “the UK is a laggard by international standards in providing fibre connectivity. This could result in a widening, not a narrowing, of the digital divide”. Indeed, the isolation of rural and semi-rural communities from our increasingly high speed digital economy is something that must be urgently addressed if we are serious about creating a more equitable and less London-centric economy. BT and its…
A core task of any forward thinking Government worth its salt is constantly to ask: what must we do to secure the prosperity of the nation over the generation ahead? The task is not to defend industries and economies in their present form, frozen in aspic, but to seek out the new markets, new methods, and new technologies that will provide the jobs and incomes our children and grandchildren will rely on. The basis of our future prosperity is always…
Most policy fails. The more complex the challenge the more likely the failure. At the Royal Society of Arts, we think hard about how to improve the success rate. We have concluded that policy suffers from different, but often reinforcing problems; on the one hand it’s too scatter gun, and on the other it’s too path dependent. Our response is captured in the injunction to policy makers to ‘think like a system and act like an entrepreneur’. So when the…
Tuesday, 01 August 2017 16:39

Matt d'Ancona: The Automation Conundrum

If you have a taste for prophecy, try this prescient warning by Samuel Butler in his essay ‘Darwin among the machines’ (1863): “There are few things of which the present generation is more justly proud than of the wonderful improvements which are daily taking place in all sorts of mechanical appliances…Day by day, however, the machines are gaining ground upon us; day by day we are becoming more subservient to them; more men are daily bound down to them as…
Wednesday, 19 July 2017 15:04

Eamonn Ives: Future of work SRC reflections

At Bright Blue’s recent Social Reform Conference I had the pleasure to chair a highly stimulating and productive discussion on the topic of the ‘Future of Work’. My obliging panellists were Sam Bowman (Executive Director of the Adam Smith Institute), Nick Denys (Councillor for Eastcote and East Ruislip), Anthony Painter (Director of the Action and Research Centre at the RSA), and Alan Mak MP (Conservative Member of Parliament for Havant). What I found particularly interesting about the talk was just…
In her first speech as Prime Minister, Theresa May highlighted the “burning injustice” represented by the pervading influence of discrimination and inequality in Britain today. She highlighted the enormous impact that race, gender, and class still have on a person’s opportunities and life outcomes, and pledged to do all she could to rectify this situation. A year into her time in office, the Prime Minister has had limited success in fulfilling this pledge, and it appears that renewed impetus and…

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