Infrastructure and politics: an uncomfortable relationship

As far as an idea goes, High Speed 2 is noble. Its key purpose is to ‘rebalance’ the UK economy away from London and the south east (although I suspect the UK economy has never really been ‘balanced’). By increasing the speed with which businesspeople can travel between London and, say, Manchester, proponents of HS2Read more

The new NHS chief executive – more reform to come?

So Simon Stevens is to be the NHS England’s new chief executive when Sir David Nicholson steps down in April next year. Stevens’ background suggests he’ll adopt a pragmatic, non-partisan approach with an ability to draw from considerable international experience.  He has worked inside the NHS; as a government adviser in the Blair years and,Read more

Chinese investment: the dragon is coming

The Chinese embassy in London is unremarkable. A single red flag of the communist state flies outside a rather austere neo-classical building on Portland Place. When compared to its sister buildings in Washington DC and Canberra, the building is even less notable. Its American sibling is an angular construction – a sort of testament toRead more

The Tories are in a mess on energy

Our Autumn energy policy briefing, published on Friday, reflects on how Ed Miliband’s price freeze commitment has blown the energy debate wide open. It has led to recommendations, from various quarters, that the UK should: nationalise foreign energy suppliers; dramatically increase private competition in the energy market; abandon subsidy for renewables investors; increase long termRead more

Backing a culture of innovation

As demand for healthcare surges and fiscal conditions continue to tighten, it has become a truism that the NHS faces fundamental challenges over the next 10 years.  Now, to meet the task, senior policymakers are talking openly about the need for greater change. The Conservatives, for example, have become more confident in making the caseRead more

Clark and the cities

Last week’s Government and Opposition reshuffles saw a wide-ranging shift of personnel and policy briefs as all three parties begin to set out their teams in the lead-up to the 2015 election. With Norman Baker replacing Jeremy Browne at the Home Office, both the Housing Minister and his Shadow (Mark Prisk and Jack Dromey, respectively)Read more

No.10 Policy Board – serious symposium or sop?

No.10 this week announced new members of its Policy Board, following the departure of Jesse Norman in the wake of the Syria vote last month.  The new members are: Alun Cairns, Andrea Leadsom, Priti Patel, Chris Skidmore and Nadhim Zahawi.  Given that, as the Spectator points out, most of these new members are, technically atRead more