Brexit has revitalized debates about democracy. Restoring democracy and sovereignty can come risk for those strongly committed to free markets — that our fellow citizens might choose another path, perhaps even one that could lead to socialist and freedom-hindering policies. But is that a risk we must take? In a free society, what individual rights should never be infringed on? What should be voted on? And is there a place for technocratic decision-making? In a new paper, the Director of the IEA’s FREER initiative, Rebecca Lowe, argues that one clear answer to ‘improving’ democracy here in the UK would be to institute a proper focus on local decision-making — something that, she says, has been overlooked in past years. Rebecca joins the IEA's Darren Grimes to discuss, alongside Adam Bartha, the Director of EPICENTER, the European Policy Information Center.
Opinion surveys consistently suggest that the British public is overwhelmingly hostile to immigration - a hostility which shapes our immigration policies in many ways - often negatively. However, if we dig a little deeper into the polling data, it becomes clear that most people in Britain are not pro or anti immigration per se. Despite overall hostility to immigration, there are types of immigration that are widely accepted, or even popular with the general public. Today we're joined by the IEA's Head of Political Economy Dr Kristian Niemietz, the author of our latest report into migration. Kristian proposes a new post-Brexit immigration policy that would capitalise on the nuances in public opinion to push for the most liberal migration policy possible.
Last week, the Prime Minister suffered a historic defeat, after the Withdrawal Agreement was voted down in Parliament by a margin of 230 votes. Today we're joined by Victoria Hewson and Dr Radomir Tylecote, of the IEA’s International Trade and Competition Unit. Interviewed by Madeline Grant, the pair examine what these developments mean and what renegotiation with the EU could hold, especially when it comes to securing the UK's ability to have an independent trade policy. They also discuss preparation for a 'no deal' Brexit or WTO departure, and the importance of timing and sequencing in trade negotiations. Finally, they assess the continued impasse around the Irish Border question.
Victoria Hewson, Dr Radomir Tylecote, Madeline Grant
One underexplored aspect of the global economy in recent decades has been an explosion in the creation, issuing and enforcement of regulations. But is this emerging regulatory state necessary in the modern age, both to protect consumers and adapt to the changing needs of contemporary trade - or is this weight of regulation excessive and harmful to competition? Some even argue that such rules - often issued by unelected officials and removed from the electorate - represent a threat to democracy itself? Britain’s withdrawal from the EU has revived interest in these issues, since the UK may soon be extricating itself from a weight of historic regulatory rules dating back to the Maastricht Treaty. Yet increasing regulation is actually part of a global trend, with the US, China, and to a lesser extent, Japan also defining the trade landscape through their different regimes. Today, the IEA's Head of Education Dr Steve Davies makes the case that the regulatory state, and its push for harmonisation, is damaging competition. Back in 1970s Europe, he argues, you could determine good regulations from the bad by monitoring each country’s individual rules and regulations and learning from best practice. On our podcast today, Steve and the IEA’s Associate Director Kate Andrews discuss these topics and more.
In this week's podcast, we were joined by the IEA's Head of Political Economy, Kristian Niemietz, the author of a recent paper which ventures into the realm of fiction to examine the fundamental flaws of socialism. Kristian and Editorial Manager Madeline Grant discuss the popular meme that socialism is a great idea in theory, but only fails due to bad implementation, or corrupt officials - as advocated by trendy millennial socialists today. Kristian debunks this idea, but explores how it has been extremely influential in art, culture and fiction over the last century. We look at why it has proven so compelling, and whether free marketeers need to do more to make the moral and philosophical case for capitalism - as well as arguing on raw economic grounds.
This year, Saturday November 10th was Equal Pay Day – the day the Fawcett Society calculates that women, on average, essentially start working for free, because of the gender pay gap. But Office for National Statistics calculated just a few weeks back that the pay gap is the lowest it’s ever been on record. Yet Equal Pay Day hasn’t moved. It’s the same day as it was last year. A new IEA briefing, written by Associate Director Kate Andrews and Chief Economist Julian Jessop, argues that this is a result of calculating the gender pay gap in order to obtain a figure nearly 60% higher than the official data. Kate Andrews has put together a podcast to provide ‘alternative listening’ for those who don’t want to engage in fear-mongering around women in the workplace. Kate brings together women from across the political spectrum, with diverse background and views, but who all agree on one thing – that’s that there’s a positive story to tell about women who work. She asks them all: ‘What positive message do you want to send to women today’, and also asks them for a practical policy proposal to help tackle the issues that working women still face.
Do you identify as part of a generational group? From student politics to social media via milliennial voting patterns and intersectionality, FREER Director Rebecca Lowe and FREER Co-Chair Lee Rowley are joined by commentator Tom Harwood to discuss generational attitudes to freedom and more.
Ahead of the European Council summit in the Austrian City of Salzburg on the 20th of September, we ask what’s next for Brexit. Can the Government stick its beleaguered Chequers proposal? Could the UK take the Norway option whilst negotiating a more comprehensive Free Trade Agreement? To discuss these issues the IEA's Digital Manager Darren Grimes was joined by Stephen Booth of the Open Europe think tank. Stephen argues that Chequers is the only game in town because it’s the only deal that meets the EU’s tests, and because the Government simply does not have the numbers or political capital to move any further away from the EU through a Canada-style Free Trade Agreement. Also joining Darren is Victoria Hewson, Senior Counsel at the IEA’s Trade Unit. Victoria argues that the EU’s demand for backstop could lock the UK into the EU’s orbit in perpetuity. For Victoria, the prospect of a our future trading agreement being determined by parliamentary politics is why Brexiteers are so worried about Chequers. There’s a feeling that if we don’t seize the momentum, the pro-Remain majority within Parliament will win the day and the opportunities of an independent trade policy and regulatory autonomy will be lost. The pair give their analysis on what’s next, how we got here and how all roads lead to Ireland.
We may be leaving the EU – but what should our mode of departure look like? Today we’re joined by the IEA’s Head of Health and Welfare Dr Kristian Niemietz, and Associate Director Kate Andrews – to discuss the pros and cons of the so-called ‘Norway Option’ – a form of Brexit under which the UK would leave the European Customs Union, but remain in the Single Market. The ‘Norway model’ refers to two key European organisations: The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and European Economic Area (EEA). Norway (along with Liechtenstein and Iceland) is a member of both. And the idea has been gaining traction recently, with the government’s Chequers model looking unpalatable to EU negotiators, and the British public alike. Yet although Kristian is a proponent of the Norway option – it’s not quite as simple as that. He would probably back a Hard Brexit – provided we had a realistic chance of becoming a deregulating, free trading outside of the Single Market. Unfortunately, here the Zeitgeist is very much against free market types, he argues.
This week we’re joined by Dr Steve Davies, Head of Education at the IEA, to discuss one of the most hot-button issues in American politics – the right to bear arms.
Interviewed by the IEA’s News Editor Kate Andrews, Steve gives us a history lesson on the Second Amendment, where the right came from, and what both sides of the debate get wrong.
Steve argues that the right to bear arms came from a philosophy of classical republicanism or civic humanism, which means that in a self governing republic, all citizens have certain obligations and duties upon them, one of which is to use force against outsiders or a tyrannical state.
In this sense, gun ownership is an individual right, but not a private right, making gun advocates and gun control advocates alike wrong in their approach to the issue.
Steve discusses the Swiss-style system, which is one of the best examples of an armed militia, and how its gun laws differ from the United States.
The pair also discuss what makes homicide rate and mass shootings more or less likely, with Steve arguing it has less to do with weapon proliferation, and more to do with societal norms and culture.
Finally, Kate asks Steve the million pound question – does the UK need a Second Amendment?