Preserving and enhancing the environment for future generations to enjoy should be at the heart of conservative thinking. But a small number of high-profile conservatives are sceptical of environmental policies, particularly those that mitigate climate change.
This polling report unearths what most Conservative voters think about protecting the natural environment and reducing the harmful effects of climate change. It examines the views of Conservatives, including those with different socio-demographic characteristics, on key environmental issues such as air pollution, home energy improvements, Britain’s power sector, and the future of environmental regulations post-Brexit.
Laura Round, Kate Murray and Tobias Phibbs
With the launch of the Casey Review this month sparking fresh debate about the state of integration in the UK, this new report brings together leading decision makers and opinion formers from different political and professional backgrounds to argue that integration should be a top priority that unites both Left and Right.
Dame Louise Casey, Professor Ted Cantle, Lord O’Shaughnessy and MPs Chuka Umunna and Suella Fernandes are joined by a range of thinkers to map out a new path to achieve greater integration in the UK. They argue that social integration is about more than race and religion. It means bringing together people from all sorts of backgrounds: the old and young; straight and gay; rich and poor; disabled and non- disabled. This truly ‘One Nation’ agenda is crucial to reducing prejudice and discrimination, and improving opportunities and quality of life.
Ryan Shorthouse and Liam Booth-Smith
Our latest essay collection sets out to answer the question of what London will look like in 2050. To remain a thriving and successful city, improving opportunities for all of its citizens, it must be innovative – a step ahead of rival cities in in business, culture, education, governance and more.
The essay collection includes contributions from a number of high-profile decision makers and opinion formers, including the Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP (Foreign Secretary), Justine Roberts (Co-Founder, Mumsnet), the Rt Hon Alan Milburn (Chair, Social Mobility Commission), Sir Terry Farrell (Architect), Professor Tony Travers (Director, LSE London), and more.
Sam Hall and Ben Caldecott
Homes in the UK need to consume less and greener energy so that important targets for reducing carbon emissions are achieved. Government sought to incentivise home energy improvements by creating the Green Deal in 2013, but this was a failure and ended after two years. There is now a policy vacuum.
This report examines the current market in energy efficiency measures and decentralised renewable technologies, and the possible reasons for the Green Deal’s failure. It proposes a new home energy improvement scheme in the able to pay sector.
The Government has announced that it will phase out the use of coal in electricity generation by the mid-2020s, making the UK the first country to use coal for electricity generation and now the first developed country to phase it out completely. Since the announcement, however, there has been concern about the implications for the UK’s energy security as coal is removed from the grid.
This report analyses the impact of the coal phase-out on the power system, the demand for gas, the UK’s emissions targets and households bills. The lights will stay on. In fact, the report argues that is feasible and desirable to phase-out coal earlier than currently planned.
Conservatism and human rights: An essay collection
Ryan Shorthouse and James Dobson
The collection, published by Bright Blue, brings together leading thinkers, decision makers and public figures to discuss three key themes in the debate around human rights: tackling discrimination; the role of human rights in British foreign policy; and ensuring the new British Bill of Rights strengthens human rights.
This collection includes contributions from The Rt Hon Damian Green MP, The Rt Hon Maria Miller MP, The Rt Hon Sir Malcolm Rifkind QC, Crispin Blunt MP, Trevor Phillips OBE, and Professor Sir Paul Collier.
Standing alone? Self-employment for those on low income
Rises in the number of individuals self-employed since 2008 have been accompanied by sharp falls in earnings. With average earnings from self-employment now well below average earnings for employees, understanding the experiences and challenges facing self-employed individuals on low income is vital. This report offers new evidence on these experiences and challenges and makes a number of policy recommendations to support this group more effectively.
Ryan Shorthouse and James Dobson
Part-time Higher Education (HE) is associated with a number of benefits to both the individual and to society. However, since 2010–11, there has been a sharp decline in the number of undergraduate and postgraduate entrants from the UK and other EU countries undertaking a part-time HE qualification. This report identifies the possible causes of the decline and the barriers that individuals considering part-time HE face.
Original policy reforms are proposed which are designed to reduce the financial barriers individuals face when trying to access part-time HE. These policies are designed to be fiscally neutral, progressive and achieve a fairer funding settlement on HE between government, individuals and employers.
Reducing poverty by promoting more diverse social networks for disadvantaged people from ethnic minority groups
There is growing evidence that an individual’s relationships – their ‘social capital’ – can help reduce poverty. For disadvantaged people from ethnic minority backgrounds, there is also evidence of a limited but significant relationship between less diverse social networks and poverty. This report makes four policy suggestions to help to strengthen and widen the social networks of disadvantaged people from ethnic minority groups.
Ryan Shorthouse, Andrew Harrop and Anthony Rowlands
Published with the Fabian Society and CentreForum, this collection of essays explores spending priorities for an ageing population.
We need to find the fairest and most sustainable funding settlement as the country adapts to demographic change. This collection includes contributions from George Freeman MP, The Rt Hon Lord David Willetts, Dr John Pugh MP, Debbie Abrahams MP, Claudia Wood, Ryan Shorthouse and many more.
This report sets out how the centre-right of British politics could better embed sustainability and long-termism within the UK economy. By understanding and overcoming the issues that impede our ability to become more sustainable and long-term, we can deliver better environmental, economic, and social outcomes.
The report proposes ambitious and cost-effective policies to build a greener and more long-term economy based around three major themes: tackling the tragedy of horizons in public and private sector institutions, securing value for money in relation to environmental outcomes, and urging a new internationalism to address climate change.
Ryan Shorthouse and David Kirkby
This is the final report from this project. It demonstrates the distinctive views of ethnic minorities, including immigrants themselves, towards immigration. Their views are important, especially because they represent a growing proportion of the electorate. Ethnic minorities are more welcoming of immigrants and positive about their impact than the wider population, but value many of the same policy priorities.
These attitudes indicate that there is an opportunity for the centre-right to develop a balanced agenda on immigration which enjoys greater support. The focus should be on prioritising immigrants who contribute
and placing competent management of the system at the forefront of the debate.
Click here to download the report as a .pdf
A manifesto for immigration
Ryan Shorthouse and David Kirkby
This report is the third from this project. Drawing on key centre-right themes and priorities, it outlines Bright Blue’s manifesto on immigration. It details a series of policy recommendations for the key elements of the immigration system: workers, students, family members, and refugees and asylum applicants. These are policies that are achievable, principled and capable of securing public support, and taken together, they form a firm but fair centre-right manifesto on immigration.
Ryan Shorthouse and Andrew Harrop
This collection of essays, published with the Fabian Society, was launched at a major cross-party conference which we hosted.
Bucking the trend of escalating political mudslinging, the collection creates a cross-party space for people from different political, professional and social backgrounds to come together to share their experiences and find common solutions to poverty. This pamphlet includes contributions from Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith MP, Kate Green MP, Philip Collins (The Times), Peter Franklin (ConservativeHome), Ryan Shorthouse (Bright Blue), Alison Garnham (CPAG) and many more.
Ryan Shorthouse and David Kirkby
This report is the second from this project. It outlines the key themes which emerged from a series of roundtables on immigration with opinion formers and decision makers. It demonstrates how an understanding of the cultural and economic impacts of immigration can inform a balanced centre-right policy agenda on immigration. The centre-right needs to broaden its message beyond a narrow focus on the net migration figures in order to better convey competence and sound management of the immigration system. Immigrants who contribute economically and who integrate should be prioritised and encouraged.
Ryan Shorthouse and David Kirkby
This report is the frst of several from this project. It demonstrates the distinctiveness of the views of Conservative voters on immigration, which can help provide the underlying principles for a more balanced centre-right policy agenda on immigration. Conservatives have a reasonable and clear position: they want an immigration system that is fairer and welcoming of contributors. They are not against immigration per se, but against what they perceive as unfair immigration. In essence, they want to build a contributory-based immigration system.
Ryan Shorthouse and David Kirkby
Our welfare system is important for supporting the vulnerable and impoverished. But public support for the welfare state is low, especially amongst conservatives. To ensure the survival and success of our welfare system, a richer understanding is required of the principles individuals want it to enshrine and their views of where the existing system falls short.
This report outlines in detail how conservatives think of welfare. Interrelated themes are unearthed relating to benefit claimants, the purpose of welfare and sources of welfare. Drawing on these themes, original welfare reforms are proposed, designed to boost the effectiveness of - and public support for – the welfare system.
Ryan Shorthouse, Kate Maltby and James Brenton
Conservatives have a good story to tell. The economy is growing. The public finances are being restored. Finally, living standards are rising again. And reforms to our public services – especially in education and welfare – are proving effective and popular.
Modernisers have long argued for the Conservative Party to offer a positive and distinctive policy agenda. The focus should be on conveying economic competence, managing and improving public services, supporting those on modest incomes, and being representative and supportive of modern Britain.
In The Modernisers’ Manifesto, a broad group of influential politicians and opinion formers from the centre-right of British politics outline how the Conservative Party can demonstrate credibility and fresh ideas to convince the electorate that they need a second term in government to make Britain a fairer nation with a stronger economy and high-quality public services.
"Bright Blue keep alive the flame of Tory modernisation"
The Independent, April 2014
"Modernising Toryism now has a home and an HQ for the next generation of Conservatives".
Matthew d'Ancona, Columnist, April 2014
Ryan Shorthouse and Guy Stagg
The modernisation of the Conservative Party is an unfinished project. As such, the Tories failed to gain a majority in the 2010 General Election. Now, halfway through the current Parliament, a stagnant economy and the nature of Coalition with the Liberal Democrats has undermined the modernisation project. It’s time to give it a reboot.
In Tory modernisation 2.0: the future of the Conservative Party, a collection of influential modernisers – including politicians, activists, journalists and policy-makers – set out a new vision and radical policies to ensure the Conservative Party and Britain flourish in the years ahead.
The second wave of modernisation needs to focus much more on supporting those on low and middle incomes, who are still sceptical of the Tory brand, with the cost of living and improved public services.
"Tory modernisers are launching a renewed campaign. It is overdue"
The Economist, January 2013
"A deep intellectual genepool for the Conservative Party's future"
ConservativeHome, January 2013
"Bright Blue, a modernising pressure group regarded as David Cameron's natural ally"
The Independent, January 2013
"Many of the contributors make admirable efforts to ensure that their political and social analyses and the policy prescriptions that they come up with are rooted in empirical research"
Professor Tim Bale, Queen Mary University, February 2013
In this edition of Centre Write, we explore the reasons behind the success of anti-establishment politics and the political earthquakes of 2016, notably Brexit and Trump. Professor Vernon Bogdanor discusses the resurrection of radical populism and Professor John Curtice asks whether we are truly seeing the end of the two-party system.
In this edition of Centre Write, we look at the causes and consequences of immigration, as well as the very topical issue of the EU referendum. Contributors include the Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP, the Rt Hon John Hayes MP, Professor Nick Pearce, Ed West, Madeleine Sumption, Paul Blomfield MP, Philippe Legrain, and many more.
In this edition of Centre Write, we look at four key aspects for the future of work: the new economy, the jobs of the future, a new welfare settlement and a more diverse workforce. Contributors include the Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, the Rt Hon Priti Patel MP, Professor David Blanchflower, Frances O'Grady, David Skelton and many more.
In this edition of Centre Write, we tackle the sometimes thorny issue of climate change. The former Chair of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee Tim Yeo makes the Conservative case for low-carbon subsidies and Bright Blue’s Associate Fellow Ben Caldecott highlights the challenges to be faced in Paris in December. But environmental issues do not end with climate change. On the wider environment, the Chairman of the Conservative Environment Network Ben Goldsmith makes the case for resource efficiency, while NFU President Meurig Raymond highlights sustainability and economic efficiency in British farming. Other contributors include Stanley Johnson, Michael Liebreich, Maf Smith, Mark Hoban, Suella Fernandes MP and many more.
In the sixth edition of The Progressive Conscience, Bright Blue turns its attention to what Britishness means today, especially after the referendum on Scottish independence. Daniel Hannan MEP is interviewed by our editor and talks about the institutions which define Britain, the Rt Hon Stephen Crabb MP discusses the patriotism of the Welsh, and the Rt Hon Damian Green MP argues it’s possible for British and European identities to exist together. Meanwhile, the columnist Peter Hitchens provocatively argues that Britain’s is a culture of decline, not progress. Other contributors include John Redwood MP, George Freeman MP, Alexandra Jones, Professor Tim Bale, Sunder Katwala, Paul Uppal MP, Dr Robert Ford, and many others. Plus, we have a newly expanded Books and Arts section featuring reviews of books, exhibitions, and theatre.
The fifth edition of The Progressive Conscience looks at education: what it's for, who it should serve, and how to get it right. Andreas Schleicher, the Director for Education and Skills at the OECD, gives us the global perspective on education and tells us what Britain needs to do to move up in the rankings. The Minister of State for Business, Enterprise and Energy, Matthew Hancock MP, tells us about the Conservative plan to improve apprenticeships, while Conor Ryan describes what remains to be done to open up our best schools to a wider range of students. Contributions from Charlotte Leslie MP, James O’Shaughnessy, and Nick Gibb MP, among others, round out a thoughtful collection of essays about how to improve the state of education.
Bright Blue believes firmly in the value of Britain’s alliance with America. That’s why edition four of The Progressive Conscience takes ‘America’ as its theme. George W Bush’s economic advisor, David Frum, argues in his interview that conservatives in the modern political climate can no longer take for granted that parties of the left, whether in the UK or the US, are unacceptable to people of enterprise. Olympia Snowe has drawn on her long career as a deal-brokering Republican Senator to write for us on cross-party dialogue. Daniel Finkelstein, Louise Mensch, Jesse Norman MP, Stephen Pollard, Penny Mordaunt MP and Iain Martin lend us their expertise on lessons from American history.
The August riots gave many opinion formers ammunition to trash the supposed sorry state of modern Britain. What we are seeing is yet another attack on economic and social liberalism – the consensus of the establishment in most developed countries in the West. Lest we forget, this consensus has - for the overwhelming majority of citizens - enhanced freedoms and improved living standards. The third edition of The Progressive Conscience critiques the state and future of the West, with contributions from Sir Malcolm Rifkind MP, Will Hutton, Con Coughlin, Peter Tatchell and Professor Eric Kaufmann.
Women in Britain today have more opportunities than ever, thanks to the opening up of the education system and the labour market. We should, undoubtedly, celebrate the improved status of women and welcome the influence women have had on our society. Problems persist, however: the gender pay gap, poverty, domestic violence, teenage pregnancy, and - abroad - unimaginable crimes. This third edition of The Progressive Conscience includes articles penned for us by Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, Mary Ann Sieghart, Dr Samantha Callan, Dr Katherine Rake, and many others.
Many young people today are voiceless. They need to start talking. Shouting, even. Younger workers have been hit the worse during the recession. Over the past few decades, a more flexible labour market has made youth employment less stable and earnings have declined relative to older workers. Getting on the property ladder remains a distant dream. Assets and wealth have become increasingly concentrated higher up theage scale. The first edition of The Progressive Conscience explores the "Clash of the Generations", with contributions from David Willetts MP, Rafael Behr, Matthew Taylor, Tim Montgomerie, Anushka Asthana and many others.