This year we judged think tanks not only on their ideas, but also on how much impact they made on policy makers and the public, writes David Walker.by David Walker / October 25, 2008 / Leave a comment
Published in October 2008 issue of Prospect Magazine
As David has just said, it’s been a lively year for tanks, but the judges also registered a large gap: little or no work that anticipated the financial crash and its consequences for fiscal policy let alone the real economy. Have tanks been bold enough, we wondered?
The judges were David Goodhart, myself—until recently the editor of the Guardian’s Public magazine—Rohan Silva, adviser to the Conservative Party leadership, Sir Lawrence Freedman, deputy principal of Kings College London, Kishwa Falkner, a Liberal Democrat peer and David Halpern, former strategy adviser to Tony Blair now at the Institute for Government.
Some brief points as we reviewed your year. The move to “doing” as well as thinking distinguishes some tanks, notably the Young Foundation, now the biggest think tank in Britain with over 60 staff, and Civitas: we look forward to when their respective projects produce practical outputs that call forth fresh thinking. Is the boundary between tanks and producers of academic knowledge shiftin? We noted the work of Richard Garside and colleagues here at King’s, the Jill Dando Institute of crime science at University College; much is expected of the new third sector research centre at the University of Birmingham.