Prospect redecorates the minister’s office
A black-and-white photograph of William Gladstone taken in 1872 now hangs in the office of transport minister Andrew Adonis. Until early July, Gladstone looked over the grand staircase of his old townhouse at 11 Carlton House Terrace, which since 1946 has housed the Foreign Press Association. The FPA recently moved and, after reading Adonis’s article on Gladstone’s virtues in July’s Prospect, its director Christopher Wyld called the minister’s office to offer the picture a new home. Adonis walked across St James’s Park to view the photo, the deal was done, and the People’s William moved to a new home in Horseferry Road. “My hero looms over me,” Adonis told us, “stern, unsmiling but an inspiration nonetheless—not least in getting value for every last taxpayer penny, which is just as well at the moment.”
Who will win the wonk world war?
Who will triumph in Prospect’s coveted 2009 think tank of the year award? This year’s judges include Kishwer Falkner and George Osborne’s adviser Rohan Silva. With Labour in near-constant crisis, this should be a golden age for right-wing wonks. Yet the grandest name on the right, the libertarian Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), finds itself in crisis. This June it gave director John Blundell the heave-ho. Officially, it was time for the long-serving Blundell to move on. Unofficially, his failure to impress team Cameron took its toll.
Our “best newcomer” gong, meanwhile, might come just too soon for red Tory Phillip Blond, whose spectacular rise (including gracing Prospect’s February cover) hit a bump in June when he abruptly parted company from Demos citing “political and philosophical” differences. Some whisper that senior Cameroons were unconvinced by Blond’s philosophical style, but Blond seems unabashed and claims to have raised significant sums from “private backers” to start his own tank, tentatively named Respublica. Meanwhile, Demos is moving into more traditional territory, welcoming recent Brown escapee James Purnell to the fold. His job? To revive the left—a task sufficiently Herculean to warrant some kind of prize, at least for effort.
Prospect’s think tank of the year award is held in October. For details contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Life is tweet if you’re a Swedish diplomat
Sweden took over the rotating EU presidency in July, and has already raised eyebrows by its decision to allow Twittering during meetings of senior eurocrats. Yet few state secrets will be revealed, judging by early…