Centre Write
Centre Write
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…
Fake news has become, quite rightly, a much discussed topic in in recent months. Most analysis of the post-truth era it contributes to looks solely at the technical developments that have allowed fake news to spread. These include the easy distribution of viral content online, powered by echo chambers on social networks. While this is an absolutely essential element, it is only one part of the explanation. It fails to acknowledge the ideological and political issues that are also at…
Two apparently unconnected and unnoticed events last week could have profound implications for the ability of Conservatives to win another general election. First, the positive policies on tackling racial inequality in the party’s 2017 manifesto were missing from the Queen’s Speech, despite those being crucial for the party in winning support from black and minority ethnic (BME) voters. Second, polling data indicated that ethnic minority support for Labour rose in 2017 to over 70%, a warning sign given increasing racial…
In this General Election, more than any other in recent memory, the status quo has once again been challenged. With no clear winner it falls to all the major parties to now reflect, review and look for lessons to be learned. One notable feature from a relatively gruelling campaign is that preconceptions of the younger generation have been well and truly shattered. In the past it was perhaps all too easy to overlook ‘millennials’ as too selfie and self-obsessed to…
Like any big political coalition in a two party system, the Conservative Party is the natural home for many ideological strains. Yet, despite the party’s name, its small-c conservative thinkers who have been more or less absent without leave for some time – arguably since Mrs Thatcher’s second term of office, when her focus shifted from addressing existing problems (e.g. curbing union power, reducing the state’s involvement in business, reducing contributions to the EEC) to removing theoretical opportunity costs and…

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