The case for theft-tanks

The Conservative party leadership contest is a milestone for diversity and inclusion. This time, we get to choose between someone who studied philosophy, politics and economics at Lincoln College, Oxford and someone who studied philosophy, politics and economics at Merton College, Oxford. I can barely contain my excitement. I find the very idea of an undergraduate degree in politics alarming. It is often seen in business that people who complete an MBA straight after university turn out to be spectacularly useless employees, and it’s possible that this unhappy pattern recurs in politics. The reason is simple: there is an order effect at work. It’s one thing to theorise on the

Keir Starmer’s brains trust

Who are Keir Starmer’s big thinkers? Every political leader has them: folk who provoke them and offer a type of politics and policy that they can pick and choose from. Ed Miliband had ‘salons’ with key thinkers who he respected, David Cameron had Steve Hilton, and Tony Blair had a whole suite of colleagues working on his project in opposition. Starmer hasn’t been in politics for very long, which is one of the reasons he felt the need to write such a long essay setting out what he thinks: he doesn’t have the back catalogue of speeches and pamphlets that many other senior politicians do. He’s not really a ‘salon’