The Agenda is a new podcast from Policy Exchange, described recently by LBC's Iain Dale as "the pre-eminent think tank in the Westminster village". It covers our latest research and immediate reactions to current affairs. We bring you analysis from our team of experts along with guest appearances from the leading thinkers in their fields. The current series responds to the Coronavirus outbreak and its wide-ranging impact on all aspects of government policy.
DEEP DIVE: The Scottish Gender Recognition Reform Bill
59:04In the latest episode of the Agenda, Juliet Samuels interviews Dr Michael Foran, lecturer in Law at the University of Glasgow and Senior Fellow at Policy Exchange on the controversial Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill. Dr Foran explores some of the most pressing themes in his recent Policy Exchange report, which is available to read here. https://policyexchange.org.uk/publication/the-scottish-gender-recognition-reform-bill/ This report demonstrates that the Scottish National Party’s (SNP) Gender Recognition Reform Bill, which aims to change the law regulating legal sex change for those born or resident in Scotland, will fundamentally alter the law relating to equal opportunities across the United Kingdom. The report argues that the United Kingdom Government can – and should – make a section 35 order under the Scotland Act 1998 to block Royal assent for the Bill, which would prevent it from becoming law.
After the U-Turns: Making Sense of the Government's New Economic Policy
13:22Head of Economics and Social Policy Connor MacDonald leads a discussion with Policy Exchange's two economics Senior Fellows, Dr Gerard Lyons and the Rt Hon. Ruth Kelly about the Government's new Economic policy. They explore why the Government felt it needed to change course, what difficult decisions need to be made, and what this means for the Bank of England, monetary policy and the future growth prospects of the UK economy.
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"Have you tried turning it on & off?" A new approach to household energy bills
28:42Head of Economics Connor MacDonald joins Senior Research Fellow in Energy Alex Simakov to discuss why the Government has changed its policy on the Energy Price Guarantee. They look at why the Energy Price Guarantee was such a potential problem, what Government could do instead, and why Policy Exchange’s plan for targeted relief, the Tiered Energy Relief Scheme, offers a blueprint for a support mechanism that subsidises demand but also leaves households who consume a large amount of energy exposed to the price mechanism.
Alex Simakov and Connor Macdonald explore the causes of the European Energy Crisis
20:21Alex Simakov and Connor Macdonald explore the causes of the European Energy Crisis and the Truss Government's plan to support energy consumers through the winter. How exactly did Britain find itself in such a precarious situation, the importance of further measures on conservation and demand reduction, and what the new Chancellor's mini-budget means for the future of our energy security.
Connor MacDonald talks to Gerard Lyons and Ruth Kelly about the Fiscal Event
19:24The Government’s fiscal statement amounts to one of the most substantial changes in fiscal policy in decades. Connor MacDonald, Head of Economics, discusses this radical shift of direction, and potential gamble, with two leading economic thinkers: Ruth Kelly, former Secretary of State for Transport and Economic Secretary to the Treasury; and Dr Gerard Lyons, leading economics commentator and prominent advocate for supply-side reform. They discuss the current fiscal stance, which supply-side reforms need to be prioritised, and where Government can be even more ambitious.
Richard Hughes Talks to Policy Exchange about the OBR Forecasts
22:25Richard Hughes is Chair of the Office for Budget Responsibility, the organisation tasked with providing non-partisan and rigorous forecasts about the UK economy. In this time of unprecedented volatility, Policy Exchange’s Head of Economics, Connor MacDonald, speaks to Richard about the OBR’s March forecasts, inflation, how to make projections in fluctuating economic circumstances, and what future challenges may be on the horizon.
David Goodhart, Jochen Buchsteiner, Hans Kundnani and Daniel Johnson - Russia's War on Ukraine
37:34Germany’s “Zeitenwende” about turn on defence spending and energy dependence on Russia has been described as the most significant shift in the country’s geo-political stance since the end of the Cold War. But will it last? And should it really be seen as so unexpected given the liberal hawk stance of the Green party since the Joschka Fischer era? If Germany really is serious about playing its full part in the western alliance both politically and militarily what will that mean for its export-led economic model and its relations with China? And should Germany have its own nuclear weapons? These and other questions are touched on in a pithy 35 minute discussion chaired by Policy Exchange’s David Goodhart, former FT German correspondent, in conversation with Jochen Buchsteiner, London correspondent of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Hans Kundnani, director of the Europe programme at Chatham House, and Daniel Johnson, former Telegraph correspondent in Germany and editor of The Article.
2022 Spring Statement – Policy Exchange’s reaction: Rt Hon Ruth Kelly, Dr Gerard Lyons, Connor MacDonald
24:50Policy Exchange’s Economics team have studied and digested Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s 2022 Spring Statement. They offer their analysis in our latest podcast. Head of Economics Connor MacDonald discusses the economic impact of the Statement and the wider state of the economy with Policy Exchange Senior Fellow Rt Hon Ruth Kelly - Economic Secretary and then Financial Secretary to the Treasury in the Blair Government – and Policy Exchange Senior Fellow Dr Gerard Lyons – Chief Economic Adviser to Boris Johnson as Mayor of London.
Lieutenant General Ben Hodges - Russia's War on Ukraine
24:45Policy Exchange Director Dean Godson interviews Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, previously Commander of the US Army Europe who advised the Government of Ukraine on its defences, in the latest of our podcasts on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. General Hodges argues that Russia – with its failure to quickly conquer Ukraine – has already lost the war. General Hodges argues that the West can be more robust in its response to Russian aggression without risking nuclear war. He notes that the Russian army is less strong than its size suggests, evidenced by it now calling on Chechen and Syrian fighters as well as on what was the Wagner Group. General Hodges argues that there are grounds for optimism.
Lord Barwell - Russia's War on Ukraine
15:21Policy Exchange is hosting a series of podcasts on Russia's invasion of Ukraine and its broader consequences. In this episode Michael Mosbacher asks Rt Hon Lord (Gavin) Barwell – Chief of Staff to Prime Minister Theresa May from 2017 - 2019 – about how No 10 responds to a sudden crisis: What happens at No 10 when there is a sudden crisis? Using Skripal as case study. Then what decisions will be made where in such a crisis/Department vs No 10. Has British intelligence focus enough on threats from Russia? Did we do enough after the Skripal poisonings? What else did we consider doing? Should we have boycotted the 2018 World Cup in Russia, just months after the Skripal poisonings? Was this considered. Russia has been heavily involved in in the Syrian civil war, supporting Assad. Did Russia's role in opposing ISIS in Syria mean we somewhat pulled our punches in dealing with Russia elsewhere? Was the potential threat and corrupting influence of oligarchs in London taken seriously enough in your time at No 10? What more should we have done? Did No 10 take seriously the possibility that in light of Skripal poisonings, other deaths of Russian and Russian connected figures in London might have involved the FSB. Is it worth reopening these cases? In your time at No 10 was a full Russian invasion of one of its non-Nato neighbours war gamed?