Sausages, evidence and policymaking: The role of universities in a post-truth world

By Professor Jonathan Grant

From Tony Blair’s declaration that ‘What counts is what works’ in 1997, to David Cameron’s vow to ‘put evidence at the heart of what we do’ in 2015, political commitments to use research in policymaking have been the norm in recent decades. Even the Ministry of Justice under Michael Gove, whose belief in expertise was, to say the least, subject to some scrutiny last year, promised to ‘put evidence at the heart of what we do’. Continue reading

Weeding out the bugs in cannabis legalisation policies

As the new President-Elect was making his victory speech on 9 November last year, some liberals were rejoicing, rather than despairing, about what had just taken place at the ballot box. What they saw, sprouting among the rubble of the swing-state firewall that was meant to deliver the election for Hillary Clinton, were some very literal green shoots of progress, as four states – Massachusetts, Nevada, Maine and California – voted to legalise cannabis for recreational use. Continue reading

How the US presidential campaign was won and lost – four insights from the people closest to the action

Tony Halmos, Director of the King’s Commission on London and a Visiting Professor at the Policy Institute, recently attended Harvard University’s Campaign Managers’ Conference, where operatives from both the Trump and Clinton presidential campaigns shared insights from their time working on the election. In this blog, Tony discusses some of the things he learnt at the conference. 

0n 30 November and 1 December, the Institute of Politics at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government hosted its regular post-US election ‘Campaign Managers’ Conference’ – a two-day review of the presidential campaign by those most closely involved in it. The event itself has been running every four years since 1972, just after each presidential election, but this year’s gained more media coverage than usual, after audio of a short, angry and robust exchange between the Trump and Clinton campaigns was published. But the conference generated light as well as heat, revealing some interesting insights about how the campaign was won and lost. Continue reading

Five reflections on the Casey Review

By Dr Benedict Wilkinson and Professor Jennifer Rubin.1

To say that the recent publication of the Casey Review into integration and opportunity in our most isolated and deprived communities has divided opinion would be to put it mildly. The Review has been widely picked up for its hard-hitting findings – amongst them, that there are ‘worrying levels of segregation and socioeconomic exclusion in different communities across the country and a number of inequalities between groups’, that ‘too many public institutions… have gone so far to accommodate diversity and freedom of expression that they have ignored or even condoned regressive, divisive and harmful cultural and religious practices’, and that previous ‘cohesion or integration plans have not been implemented with enough force or consistency, they have been allowed to be diluted and muddled, [and] they have not been sufficiently linked to socio-economic inclusion’. Continue reading

Progressive children’s legislation in reverse gear?

By Jane Tunstill, Emeritus Professor at Royal Holloway, University of London. 

It is no coincidence that the longest-running play on the London stage, The Mousetrap, which is still being shown after 64 years, is based on a key tragic event in the history of childcare policy in this country. Agatha Christie recognised that the death of Denis O’Neill in 1945, at the hands of his foster parents, was a topic to engage the attention of her readers, and audiences have certainly proved her right. The tragedy, and subsequent enquiry, directly triggered the 1948 Children Act, which introduced a national framework of children’s departments responsible for the systematic oversight of the welfare of children. Continue reading