Conservatism and human rights
The debate about human rights has become narrow, divisive and political. But human rights are of fundamental importance and it is vitally important to build a coalition of supporters across the political spectrum that can work to protect and enhance human rights here in the UK and internationally. This includes ensuring that the new British Bill of Rights strengthens human rights and is compatible with being a signatory of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), advancing human rights in British foreign policy and tackling discrimination - including gender, sexual, religious, disability and racial discrimination.
This project will explore how conservatives can think about human rights in a positive way that draws on conservative traditions of individual freedom and empowerment. It will also evaluate what the Conservative Party in government has done on human rights, and explore new narratives and policies which ensure that human rights are protected..
This multi-year project will build a community of green conservatives to ensure Bright Blue is the engine of innovative and credible environmental and energy policies influencing the UK Government. Especially after the international agreement signed at the 2015 Conference of Parties in Paris, now is a key time to provide the intellectual capital to ensure green conservatism flourishes in this five-year parliament. It is important that the UK has a strong evidence-based voice on green conservatism, particularly in the context of a growing body of climate sceptics domestically and abroad. Bright Blue is ideally placed to use its profile, networks and influence to articulate a strong and credible progressive centre-right agenda on the environment, energy policy and climate change
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 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.