* TALKING POINT, WITH LEN SHACKLETON
* AD BREAK
* iN THE MEDIA
* CALLING ALL STUDENTS
* IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
* YOU'RE INVITED
The IEA is busier than ever, publishing new research, writing articles, hosting YouTube videos, podcasts, private webinars, intern discussion groups and much more. Newsletters like this can only skim the surface.
This week the IEA released my report on advertising regulation, Ad Break: Why curbs on advertising harm free speech ([link removed]) . In the paper I point to the increasing range of controls on advertising, a highly successful British industry that not only serves a vital function for businesses to promote their products, but supports charities, sports and the arts through sponsorship, and is a major service exporter.
I argue the case for greater freedom of ‘commercial speech’ and draw attention to the little-understood role of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), ostensibly a self-regulatory body, in manipulating the way in which gender and ethnic representation can now be handled by advertising creatives – who have further ambitions to regulate what can be said about climate change issues and even political manifestos.
This essay is part of a wider project on free speech. We will soon be publishing an edited collection, Having Your Say: Threats to Free Speech in the 21st Century. The book will embrace a range of topics, including higher education, trade unions, the internet, religion and even comedy – the latter is covered in a very funny piece by Scottish comedian Leo Kearse. Look out for it.
We discussed free speech on Live with Littlewood this week, which you can watch here ([link removed] can catch up on the full episode here. ) . We also talked about the government's plans for boosting prospects for children whose education has suffered during successive lockdowns – plans which have been thrown into some confusion by the resignation of Sir Kevan Collins, the erstwhile ‘education recovery tsar’.
Sir Kevan resigned because he thought the government wasn't allocating sufficient cash to schools. My own view on this, argued in an IEA paper I wrote earlier this year, Back to School – and after, ([link removed]) is that it’s not all about money. We need to rethink many of the orthodoxies about our education system, and move power away from the union-dominated teaching profession towards parents.
While lengthening the school day and providing small-group tutoring may have a role to play, we must offer children and their parents a wider range of choice. The shameful performance of too many schools during lockdown should make radical change imperative. It will be a missed opportunity if we just descend into yet another argument about how much more money we should shovel into an unreformed public sector.
Professor Len Shackleton
Editorial and Research Fellow, Institute of Economic Affairs
As Len mentioned, this week the IEA published Ad Break: Why Curbs on Advertising Harm Free Speech ([link removed]) .
Quoting Len's research, The Times ([link removed]) reported that the Advertising Standards Authority is under fire for "attempting to reshape cultural and social attitudes," and noted that "wide-ranging restrictions on advertising" have achieved "little gain at excessive cost".
In an article for Spiked ([link removed]) , Len argued that we have gone "too far" in controlling what can or cannot be said by advertisers, noting that the ASA's interpretation of what constitutes 'offensive' content is far more restrictive than other regulators like Ofcom.
And IEA Director of Communications Annabel Denham wrote for The Telegraph ([link removed]) on how Britain has become a "paternalist's paradise". Annabel argued that as we emerge from the pandemic, we must strive to be a freer nation than we were going into it. We could start by unshackling the BBC from an outdated funding model and rolling back regulation imposed by unrepresentative bodies like the ASA.
iN THE MEDIA
Mounting opposition... Ahead of the G7 summit next week, Britain is the only member nation that has been openly sceptical of President Biden's plans for a global minimum level of corporation tax.
In his biweekly column for The Times ([link removed]) , IEA Director General Mark Littlewood argued that Britain should continue to oppose the plans, which he said would see the G7 acting as a "cartel".
We need to "warmly embrace" tax competition between different jurisdictions, Mark wrote, in the same way that we welcome competition between supermarkets. You can read the full article here ([link removed]) .
Aid cut... The government is facing a growing rebellion of Conservative MPs who want to restore aid spending to 0.7 per cent of national income, after it was reduced to 0.5 per cent this year.
Ahead of a Commons vote next week, Mark Littlewood spoke to Iain Dale on LBC. Mark argued that ring-fencing a percentage of GDP to a particular area of government spending is a "preposterous approach". He added that if we are not willing to cut back the foreign aid budget, we will have to look for savings elsewhere. You can listen to a clip here ([link removed]) .
But our Economics Fellow Julian Jessop took a slightly different view in a debate column for 1828 ([link removed]) . Julian argued that, while foreign aid needs "fundamental reform", slashing the budget is "not the right way to go about it" and "would only save about £4bn a year". Julian also questioned the optics of one of the world’s richest countries cutting aid to some of the poorest under cover of a worldwide pandemic, at the same time as trying to launch ‘Global Britain’.
The view... Wetherspoons founder Tim Martin voiced concerns this week over staff shortages in the hospitality industry, reportedly urging the government to introduce a flexible visa scheme for EU workers. To discuss this, and wider prospects for the labour market, IEA Director of Communications Annabel Denham joined The View programme on Sky News.
Annabel argued that we should unwind the furlough scheme to allow people to find new employment and allow businesses to plug staff shortages.
Final countdown... There have been growing calls for a delay to the final stage of the government's roadmap out of lockdown in recent days, triggered by fears of a third wave of infections.
In a column for the Daily Mail ([link removed]) , IEA Director General Mark Littlewood urged the government not to slam the breaks on the path to freedom. Instead, we need to focus our attention on rebuilding the economy and dealing with the backlog of problems — such as cancer treatment — caused by lockdown restrictions. You can read his article, which appeared in print and online, here ([link removed]) .
Up in smoke... It was reported this week that Oxfordshire County Council plans to become the first county in England to ban smoking outside bars, restaurants and offices, in a bid to become 'smoke free' by 2025.
In an article for The Telegraph ([link removed]) , IEA Head of Lifestyle Economics Christopher Snowdon argued that a ban "offends our sense of fair play and tolerance" and demonstrates the warped judgment of public health officialdom.
Christopher was also quoted in the Daily Express ([link removed]) and you can read his contribution to a debate column for 1828 ([link removed]) on the topic. He also spoke to BBC Radio 5 Live and talkRadio about the proposals. You can watch a clip here ([link removed]) .
Beeb fee... This week marked the 75th anniversary of the BBC Licence Fee. In a debate column for the New Statesman ([link removed]) , IEA Senior Academic Fellow Professor Philip Booth argued there is no justification for the levy in the 21st century.
Quoted in the Daily Express ([link removed]) on the future of the BBC's funding model, Philip made the case that the corporation should either be sold commercially or it should be owned as a mutual organisation by its subscribers. You can read his full comments here ([link removed]) . You can also read Philip's IEA paper, 'New Vision: Transforming the BBC into a subscriber-owned mutual', here ([link removed]) .
IEA Director of Communications Annabel Denham also appeared on talkRadio to discuss the case for scrapping the fee, which she described as "anachronistic and not fit for purpose".
Under pressure... IEA Head of Political Economy Dr Kristian Niemietz was interviewed by The Actuary magazine about his "controversial" ideas for reforming the NHS. They discussed Kristian's paper Viral Myths ([link removed]) , which described our health service's performance during the pandemic as "nothing special," and the social media outrage it elicited.
Kristian told the magazine that the UK should learn lessons from alternative healthcare models around the world – particularly the universal private insurance systems we find in the Netherlands and Switzerland. He noted, however, that the "massive, quasi-religious cult around the NHS" will likely prevent any substantial reform in the short term.
God save the queen... Markets & Morality goes live on the IEA YouTube channel this morning at 9.30am.
In this episode, IEA Head of Public Affairs Emma Revell chairs a debate between James Price, former Special Adviser to the Leader of the House of Lords, and Rebecca Lowe, former Director of FREER, about whether the monarchy and the House of Lords are fit for the 21st century. You can watch here ([link removed]) .
Thank you to all of you who have already signed up to become an IEA Online Patron. Becoming a Patron grants you VIP access to our latest videos, priority invites to our virtual events, and the opportunity to engage directly with IEA Director General Mark Littlewood and the IEA team. For just a small donation you can get all these benefits and more.
To visit the page and find out more about the IEA’s Patreon, follow the link here ([link removed]) or watch our trailer here ([link removed]) .
CALLING ALL STUDENTS
*Dorian Fisher Memorial Prize
The deadline to enter this year's Dorian Fisher Essay Memorial Prize is Friday 30th July. The competition is open to all A-Level and IB students, with the chance of winning a first prize of £500, and £250 each for three runners-up. The top 20 entries will also all be invited to a special one-day event at the IEA in the autumn term.
The prize for this competition is named after Dorian Fisher, the wife of Sir Antony Fisher, founder of the IEA, who was a long-time supporter of the Institute and its work. You can find out more details on the IEA website here ([link removed]) . If you would like to enter, please send you entry to [email protected] (mailto:[email protected]) , clearly stating your name and school.
Applications for this year's Freedom Week have been extended to Sunday 13th June. Freedom Week is an annual, one-week seminar which teaches students about classical liberal, free market, neoliberal and liberal perspectives on economics, politics, history and society. It is open to over-18s who are currently attending or about to start university. The week is entirely free to attend: there is no charge whatsoever for accommodation, food, tuition or materials.
This year's Freedom Week will be held in Cambridge the week beginning 23rd August. If you would like more information and how to apply, please see: www.freedom-week.org.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
*Reopening Muslim minds
The IEA recently hosted Mustafa Akyol, Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute and opinion writer for The New York Times, for a private IEA Book Club webinar on his latest book 'Reopening Muslim Minds: A Return to Reason, Freedom, and Tolerance ([link removed]) '. You can catch up on the fascinating discussion here ([link removed]) .
*In Conversation with Dominic Frisby
On Monday 14th June, from 6-7pm, the IEA will host the author, financial writer, comedian, actor, and prominent libertarian Dominic Frisby, for the latest episode in our In Conversation series with senior figures in public life.
Dominic writes a weekly investment column for Moneyweek, as well as occasional pieces for The Guardian, Aeon, Virgin, and The Independent. He has penned three books: 'Life After the State', 'Bitcoin: The Future of Money' and most recently, 'Daylight Robbery: How Tax Shaped Our Past And Will Change Our Future'.
The discussion – which will cover Dominic's books and his views on the political landscape – will be hosted by IEA Director General Mark Littlewood. Please join us on YouTube for the event here ([link removed]) .
*MA in Political Economy by Research
The IEA is working with the Vinson Centre for the Public Understanding of Economics and Entrepreneurship at the University of Buckingham on the delivery of an MA in Political Economy by Research.
The programme can be completed by distance learning and is aimed at graduates with a strong interest in the history of economic ideas and the application of economics to questions of public policy.
Online seminars will cover topics on Adam Smith; David Ricardo; John Stuart Mill; Alfred Marshall; the marginalists and neoclassical economics; Karl Marx; Friedrich Hayek and the Austrians; J.M. Keynes; James Buchanan, Gordon Tullock and public choice theory; the Frankfurt School; and behavioural economics.
For further information, please follow the link here ([link removed]) .
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