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Reform's programme is heads and shoulders the most impressive.

The TA show themselves up as headline chasers.

"The total failure of regulation on banking does not necessitate an increase in regulation across the economy."

Such a good point, although I suspect that tight regulation of the banks is inevitable now. Even that is undesirable in a market economy. Those bits of the banking system that are essential should be ring fenced and separated from the risk taking. Otherwise once we are in recovery it should be business as usual as far as is possible. This is such a useful list and article that I am going to take the unusual step of printing it out to read at my pleasure. Many thanks to the author.

The TPA merely presents the facts. The press decides independently to give it the headlines.

Am I right to think Policy Exchange is falling behind the curve now that crunchier issues matter again unlike positioning issues?

Reform stands out as having developed a strong and credible presence over the last year or so - which has shown itself to be relevant with clear substance. Its research is given extra credibility by the business credentials of its people.

You can't fault the TPA for the scale of its industrious output. Its heart is in the right place, but you can't help feeling that their hostility to the public sector is sometimes written by inexperienced people who have never worked outside the political village.

Policy Exchange doesn't seem to have recovered from its ridiculous report last year to close down northern cities. There doesn't seem to be any momentum there.

The CPS has a low profile and a dated image. The CSJ has a distinctive identity, but it comes across as being more emotive rather than intellectual in its output.

I support the TPA. It is not anti the public sector or anybody. Just against the waste of our money. Too bad if some people don`t like being rumbled.

What's the IEA doing?


The TPA wouldn't know a fact if it bit them in the face. Most of us in the know have seen the awful assumptions and lack of basic financial/accouting principles that are the leitmotifs of their work. They are a joke - thank goodness the Party tends to agree.

I would like to hear more about the various programmes on offer. I found the fact that a couple were obviously email blackberry responses a little distracting.

I also think that the CPS, though deeply unfashionable and out of date will always attract good thinkers on reputation alone. Eg Darwell on welfare and Qvortrup on democracy. Good people.

Centre right. Now there is an oxymoron.
I would like to see a right think tank which dares to deal with THE EUROPEAN UNION ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM and immigration.

What's there to think about immigration, and why do you need a tank of people to do it?

I'd wager, Peter, you've made your mind up already, and so the exeercise becomes otiose.

And that's why.

These responses show that there is a lot of interesting and important work going on. But of course what matters is not the level of activity but the actual policies that result. That's hard, if not impossible, to measure, but needs to be the focus.

It seems as though there are several groups looking at how the Government, or the Tories, can save money, which will be essential to getting the public finances back on track after the recession is over. Might it not be a good idea to pool resources on this one as it's such an essential, and difficult, question - how to do a fiscal crunch without massively raising taxes.

I do think the centre-right would do better if the different think tanks adopted less of a silo mentality and cooperated more fully on finding answers to the crucial strategic questions facing Britain.

"Am I right to think Policy Exchange is falling behind the curve now that crunchier issues matter again unlike positioning issues?"

Errr, excuse me? From what I've seen, Policy Exchange have been running the show as far as centre-right think tanks go for months if not years, including coming up with policies that CCHQ regularly lap up.

This economic crisis will come and go (eventually) and the last thing CCHQ needs is think tanks that just look at the recession and sod all else.

DCMX is right. Policy Exchange is in decline, especially now that Browne has gone and Boles is just a memory. There are no heavyweights left on their team and this is reflected in their relatively poor media showing of late.

The ones to watch now are the Centre for Social Justice and the resurgent CPS. I would go so far as to say that IDS' tank is the new CPS, with a mission driven from the inside that chimes with times and the core mission of the party during these times.

I take it that those of you commenters on this thread who have attacked the TPA are Councillors or even Cabinet Members? By any chance has your Council been exposed for its spending policies?

Phillipa Stroud at the Centre for Social Justice makes the most important and striking opinion IMO.

Until we fix the mounting social problems in the UK the call on the public purse wil just grow and grow and grow.

Lets focus on the cause of the problem as well as the symptom.

Whether it's the Inheritance Tax cut pledge, the retreat from green taxes or the recent paper on localism that used TPA studies on council pay and RDAs repeatedly - to name just a few examples, the TPA has plenty of influence.

And it's interesting that people attacking the reliability of their research never actually provide any examples of them getting things wrong.

@The Wilted Rose

TPA do seem to be shaking things up.

On regulation:

Contrary to the propaganda line of the left, the Bush years were years of a great INCREASE in regulation and a big increases in the budget and staff levels of regulators.

And they could not even stop Mr M. - in spite of his taking in 50 billion Dollars and not making one real trade in 13 years. Or Sir Alan S. - in spite of endless warnings.

In what other walk of life is failure rewarded by being given wider powers?

All that regulation does is give people a false sense of security - so they are trusting of promises of "high returns" and other such.

In any case fraud was NOT the cause of the present economic crises anyway.

What caused the present economic crises was the expansion of the credit/money supply by governments and then this increase being (quite legally) magnified by the fractional reserve practices of the banks and other enterprises.

Proposed policies do nothing to deal with this - in fact they are all about "getting lending going again" (a failure to understand the basic nature of the problems).

Depressingly even many Conservative party politicians parrot the "get lending going again" line.

Markets must be allowed to clear and malinvestments must be liquidated.

Efforts to reinflate the burst balloon are going to make everything worse.

In fact they already have made things worse.

I think the TPA are doing great work - they've shaken things up and are a lot more energetic than some of the more veteran groups. MPs' expenses, Osborne ditching the Labour spending plan commitment, last week's local government policy announcement from Spelman - the TpA's having a big impact. Surely in the recession a group campaigning effectively for more efficient local spending is crucial?

I particularly agreed with Philippa Stroud: Britain can't afford the current welfare system and certainly won't be able to afford one with increased demands on it. We can't just withdraw support from vulnerable people - we have to use every tool possible to mend Britain through the welfare system encouraging work and stable relationships.

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