From Institute of Economic Affairs <[email protected]>
Subject One year on
Date March 28, 2021 8:00 AM
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Paul Embery’s book Despised: Why the Modern Left Loathes the Working Class ([link removed]) is essential reading for anyone interested in the Culture War. Paul is a firefighter and longstanding trade union activist who has experienced cancel culture first hand. His support for Brexit saw him removed from his union executive. Then he was branded a ‘white supremacist’ for the crime of referring to the ‘traditional working class’. Embery has seen the anti-liberal, neo-McCarthyite monster that is greedily devouring all sectors of British cultural and political life up real close.

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Recently, on the IEA’s new free speech YouTube series ([link removed]) , I asked him if he felt a major, albeit slow burning, political realignment was possible. He said it was happening, but in a very uncoordinated way. Brexit was an early example of this. In addition to the specifics of that issue, another broader dynamic seemed to be in play. Other Labour insiders have also confirmed that many of their party’s traditional supporters felt alienated by what the left has now transitioned into. UKIP, and then the Brexit party, were major beneficiaries of this, as were the Conservatives in the Red Wall seats in 2019.

This potential realignment may also, we shall see, take place north of the border with Gorgeous George Galloway’s campaign to get Tory and Labour voters to vote tactically, as he has announced he will be doing personally, rather incredibly, to block a SNP majority.

But what is the actual content of this possible new ‘popular front’? At this stage, it’s a desire to ensure Britain’s survival both as a constitutional entity and as a culture characterised by a small ‘l’ liberalism. This is the reason why free speech and related totemic issues such as public statues are becoming so politicised. This is where things will get complicated given the current government’s inclination to be effective ‘fellow travellers’ of the New Left on so many Culture War matters (as evidenced by the Domestic Abuse Bill). The identity politics of the New Left is creating a new continuum ranging from ‘culturally liberal’, at one end, to ‘culturally authoritarian’, at the other. This may open the door to new movements such as Reclaim and Reform; time will tell.

Marc Glendening
Head of Cultural Affairs, Institute of Economic Affairs

Tuesday marked the one year anniversary of the first lockdown. Twelve months on, Parliament has voted to extend emergency coronavirus powers for another six months and the country remains under some of the most draconian restrictions in living memory.

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But with the data showing the number of positive tests, hospitalisations and deaths are down every day, and that now most of the adult population has had at least one dose of the vaccine, IEA Head of Lifestyle Economics Christopher Snowdon argued that the government should be driven by data not dates and suggested the government could consider bringing forward the roadmap out of lockdown by four weeks. Christopher pointed out that while the data continues to exceed expectations, the dates in the government's sluggish roadmap never move. He also noted that "every extra day of lockdown produces diminishing returns and mounting costs".

Christopher's comments appeared across the press, including in the Daily Mail ([link removed]) , The Times ([link removed]) , the Daily Express ([link removed]) , The Sun ([link removed]) , Birmingham Mail ([link removed]) and the Metro ([link removed]) . Christopher also wrote for CapX ([link removed]) and appeared on talkRadio ([link removed]) to
make the case for bringing forward the roadmap.

IEA Director of Communications Annabel Denham wrote for The Telegraph ([link removed]) on the need to ensure the nation is unlocked as soon as is safe. Annabel argued that we all need to rediscover our libertarian spirit - starting with the Prime Minister.

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Christopher also discussed the trade-offs of lockdown with comedian and commentator Simon Evans, on his new live show, 'The Swift Half with Snowdon'. You can catch up on the episode here ([link removed]) .

Looking forward, IEA Economics Fellow Julian Jessop gave a positive analysis of our economic trajectory. Julian noted that the way the government can best boost growth will be by "getting out of the way, withdrawing the emergency support as soon as it is no longer needed and allowing stronger market-led growth to repair any damage to the public finances." He added: "The government should focus instead on shrinking the state, at least back to pre-Covid levels, rather than intervening even further.” You can read Christopher's and Julian's full comment here ([link removed]) .

This week the Prime Minister faced backlash after he refused to rule out the possibility that Brits may need a negative Covid test or antibodies to visit the pub under vaccine passport plans. This raised the question: should pubs be allowed to refuse the right of entry to customers based on their vaccination status?

Taking part in a debate column for 1828 ([link removed]) , IEA Director of Communications Annabel Denham argued that yes, publicans running private businesses should have the right to refuse entry on the basis of whether an individual has been vaccinated or not. Annabel noted that "this is no more coercion than businesses discriminating based on competence, pubs banning smoking in their beer gardens, or think tanks refusing to publish communists".

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Annabel also wrote for CapX ([link removed]) on the subject, arguing that giving landlords the right to deny entry is perfectly consistent with libertarian principles and that private businesses should be free to assess the level of risk they are willing to take on.

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Last autumn, the IEA released a briefing paper 'Pubs and COVID-19 ([link removed]) ' by IEA Head of Lifestyle Economics Christopher Snowdon on how pubs have been made a scapegoat for the transmission of Covid, based on flawed claims and faulty reasoning. You can read the full briefing here ([link removed]) .

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Moo's Law... On Tuesday the IEA hosted businessman Jim Mellon to discuss his latest book, 'Moo's Law: An Investor’s Guide to the New Agrarian Revolution' ([link removed]) . Jim shared his insight into the field of cultivated meats and plant-based proteins, spoke about the technologies that are enabling it to rapidly develop, and explained why we should all be investing in this nascent industry. You can catch up on the IEA YouTube channel here ([link removed]) .

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Tice talks... On Wednesday, the IEA hosted Reform UK leader Richard Tice for the latest episode of our In Conversation series with senior figures across public life. Richard gave his vision for a 'low tax, simple tax, high growth' economy. You can catch up here ([link removed]) .

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i on the media... In his biweekly column for The Times ([link removed]) , IEA Director General Mark Littlewood argued that devolution is not only a political necessity but it is also important for our future prosperity. Mark noted: “Breakaways, constitutional strife and pent-up resentment will be the likely outcomes of a failure to redesign outdated constitutional frameworks and transferring political power downwards." Mark also appeared on Times Radio ([link removed]) to discuss the column.

And IEA Head of Media Emily Carver wrote her biweekly column for Conservative Home ([link removed]) on calls to make misogyny a hate crime. She argued that this would be no 'feminist win' and that the government should consider repealing hate crime legislation altogether.

On the IEA blog... IEA intern Roberto White explored "an alternative approach" to alleviating child poverty. Roberto argued that "there should be a focus on removing government intervention in sectors that raise living costs and diminish the ability of people to escape poverty". Read the full blog post here ([link removed]) .

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You can also watch a short “economics explainer” by IEA Senior Academic Fellow Professor Philip Booth on the new Vinson Centre YouTube channel. In the short six minute video 'Globalisation and inequality – a good news story ([link removed]) ', Philip looks at how the pattern of global income distribution has changed in the modern era of globalisation. He argues that, while in the 1970s the “first world-third world” narrative was valid, today that is not the case.You can watch here ([link removed]) .

The deadline is fast approaching to apply for our sixth form and summer internship programme! Applications will close on Wednesday, 31st March.

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The IEA has numerous Internship programmes on offer throughout the year, and you can find out more ([link removed]) on how to apply on our website.

Sixth Form Internship: We provide a dedicated week of work experience for 120 sixth formers in three groups held across the summer. The week includes lectures and discussions with expert economists. There is also the chance to hear from people in academia and politics about career opportunities and much more. At the end of the week, there will be a debate with your fellow interns.

Summer Internship: Each summer, the IEA welcomes interns from around the world for a packed programme of lectures, seminars, debates, discussions, events and social activities. Each intern is asked to produce a supervised presentation on a topic chosen by themselves with guidance from IEA staff and academics.

To apply – Please send your CV and cover letter with which programme and session you would like to apply to in the subject email to [email protected] (mailto:[email protected]) .

* Up in Smoke: the Future of UK Tobacco Harm Reduction

On Monday, 29th March, from 6-7pm, the IEA will host a discussion on the future of the UK tobacco harm reduction policy. Our panel of expert guests will consider how the UK can uphold its international standing on harm reduction, and what measures are needed to improve current regulations.

IEA Head of Lifestyle Economics Christopher Snowdon will chair the discussion with panellists, Mark Pawsey MP, Chair of the APPG on Vaping, Martin Cullip, Chair of the New Nicotine Alliance, and Clive Bates, Director of Counterfactual. If you would like to watch this event on YouTube please click here. ([link removed])

* In Conversation with Professor James Tooley

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On Tuesday 30th March, from 6-7pm, the IEA Book Club will be hosting a webinar with Professor James Tooley, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buckingham. James will be discussing his latest book, 'R ([link removed]) eally Good Schools: Global Lessons for High-Calibre, Low-Cost Education'. ([link removed])

This virtual event will be chaired by Professor Philip Booth, IEA Senior Fellow and Director of the Vinson Centre for the Public Understanding of Economics and Entrepreneurship at the University of Buckingham.

Please note the event is exclusive to IEA Book Club members. To find out more about the IEA Book Club, you can visit the link here ([link removed]) or alternatively get in touch at [email protected] (mailto:[email protected]?subject=James%20Tooley%20webinar) .


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