Bright Blue (organisation)

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Bright Blue
Bright Blue Logo Updated August 2018.png
Motto"We defend and champion liberal, open, democratic and meritocratic values, institutions and policies."
Formation2010; 9 years ago (2010)
TypeLiberal Conservative Think tank
Location
Chair
Matthew d'Ancona
Director
Ryan Shorthouse
Websitewww.brightblue.org.uk

Bright Blue is an independent liberal conservative think tank[1] and pressure group in the United Kingdom. The Daily Telegraph newspaper has described the organisation as "the modernising wing of the Tory party"[2] and the ConservativeHome website has described it as "a deep intellectual gene pool for the Conservative Party's future".[3] In 2018 the Evening Standard[4] noted "in recent years it has managed to set the party’s agenda on a number of issues". In 2016,[5] 2017[6] and 2018[7] it was shortlisted for both UK social policy think tank of the year and UK environment and energy think tank of the year in the annual Prospect Magazine awards.

Research[edit]

Bright Blue are guided by ten core principles,[8] and seek to defend and champion liberal, open, democratic and meritocratic values, policies and institutions. Bright Blue's work is guided by five research themes: energy and environment policy; human rights and discrimination; integrated Britain; social reform; ageing society.[9]

Its first publication was Tory Modernisation 2.0[10] published in 2013. Tory Modernisation 2.0 is described as recommending "policies and a vision that the Conservative Party should adopt to improve society and the economy, and win in 2015 and beyond". This book contains contributions from conservative intellectuals and members of parliament,[11] including Matthew d'Ancona, Francis Maude and David Willetts.

In April 2014, Bright Blue published its second book, The Modernisers’ Manifesto.[12] The book outlined how the Conservative Party can demonstrate credibility and fresh ideas to convince the electorate that they need a second term in government to make Britain a fairer nation with a stronger economy and high-quality public services. The book contained contributions from a range of high-profile opinion formers and policy makers such as Liam Fox, Andrew Mitchell, Zac Goldsmith, Laura Sandys, Nick Hurd, George Freeman, Isabel Hardman, Matthew Parris and Ian Birrell.

Bright Blue has seen a number of policies adopted by the UK Government. In 2019, the think-tank successfully campaigned for the introduction of a low-carbon obligation on gas suppliers.[13][14] The government has also recently embraced other Bright Blue policy suggestions including forming rural payments after Britain leaves the EU Common Agricultural Policy,[15] the cutting of Stamp Duty for nearly all first-time buyers,[16] and an increase in the salary threshold for the repayment of student loan.[17]

Reports[edit]

Bright Blue produces and publishes its own original research.

2019[edit]

  • Helping hand? Improving Universal Credit[18]
  • Pressure in the pipeline: Decarbonising the UK’s Gas[19]
2018[edit]
  • Clearing the air: Reducing air pollution in the West Midlands[20]
  • Conservation Nation[21]
  • Saving global nature: greening UK Official Development Assistance[22]
  • Hotting up: Strengthening the Climate Change Act ten years on[23]
  • Burning Injustices[24]
2017[edit]
  • Saving for the future: extending the consensus on workplace pensions[25]
  • Individual identity: Understanding how conservatives think about human rights and discrimination[26]
  • A greener, more pleasant land: a new market-based commissioning scheme for rural payments[27]
  • Fighting for freedom? The historic and future relationship between conservatism and human rights[28]
  • Britain breaking barriers[29]
  • Green conservatives? Understanding what conservatives think about the environment[30]

Publications[edit]

Bright Blue publishes the quarterly magazine Centre Write.[31] Each edition explores a different theme and features contributions from leading academics, politicians, commentators and influencers.

Podcast[edit]

Bright Blue launched a new podcast, Heads Apart?, in February 2019. The podcast aims to cut through superficial political analysis in order to bring viewers a thoughtful discussion of major political and cultural issues. Each episode brings together two commentators with different views on a prominent issue to engage in a respectful, thoughtful and detailed discussion.

Episodes include:

Publicity[edit]

Bright Blue's policy initiatives have been reported on by major news sources across the UK.

Its Universal Credit report, released in March 2019, received coverage from several major news organizations including The Guardian,[32] The Times,[33]Birmingham Live,[34] HuffPost,[35] and Politics Home.[36] Heidi Allen, the conservative MP representing South Cambridgeshire, responded to the report saying, "Whether it is reducing that wait time or converting advance payments to non-repayable grants for those with no financial resilience, the government must find a way to restore the welfare state’s core aim. It should be a helping hand up, not a net that drags the most vulnerable in society down.”[32]

Bright Blue's Decarbonising the UK's Gas Report, released in 2019, was picked up in The Energyst,[13] Business Green,[37]Human Rights News,[38] Euractiv,[39] and, Utility Week. [40] Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry responded to the report saying, "Hydrogen and Biomethane can help deliver serious climate action through our existing infrastructure, keeping consumers on board and maintaining the flexibility and resilience provided by the gas system." But others like David Smith, chief executive of the Energy Networks Association (ENA), instead argued that "Gas network operators have led the way in developing the technology we need to do [decarbonise], but we need government to make a clear decision on the long-term future of Britain's gas networks so they can continue that work." [37]

Organisation[edit]

The Board of Directors is made up of Matthew d'Ancona (Chair), Ryan Shorthouse (Director), Rachel Johnson, Alexandra Jezeph, Diane Banks, Phil Clarke and Richard Mabey. It currently has three Associate Fellows Ben Caldecott, Kieron O'Hara and Michael Johnson. It has a list of over 150 Parliamentary supporters,[41] and an independent Advisory Council[42] from different political and professional backgrounds - including multiple Conservative MPs such as David Lidington, Matt Hancock, Nicky Morgan, Damian Green, Justine Greening.

Bright Blue is a not-for-profit company that is funded by a range of organisations. It acknowledges its sponsoring partners in all reports and advertising materials.[43]

Funding[edit]

Bright Blue has been a given an C grade for funding transparency by Who Funds You?[44]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Meet The New Conservative Think-Tanks Hoping To Reboot The Tories". HuffPost UK. 2018-05-24. Retrieved 2019-03-27.
  2. ^ Dominiczak, Peter (10 January 2013). "Conservatives should be the party of the low paid, minister says". The Telegraph. Retrieved 30 December 2016.
  3. ^ Hoskin, Peter (9 January 2013). "What the Tory modernisers did next". Conservative Home. Retrieved 30 December 2016.
  4. ^ Balls, Katy (28 November 2018). "The new Tory reformers looking to conquer the centre ground". Evening Standard. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  5. ^ "Think Tank Awards 2016". Prospect.
  6. ^ "Prospect Think Tank Awards 2017".
  7. ^ "Prospect Think Tank Awards 2018".
  8. ^ "About".
  9. ^ "Research".
  10. ^ "Tory Modernisation 2.0" (PDF).
  11. ^ "Parliamentary Supporters". Bright Blue.
  12. ^ "The Modernisers Manifesto" (PDF).
  13. ^ a b "Think tank calls for low carbon gas obligation". theenergyst.com. 2019-02-15. Retrieved 2019-03-27.
  14. ^ "Fiddling the margins or a powerful signal? The green economy reacts to the Spring Statement". edie.net. Retrieved 2019-03-27.
  15. ^ "What's behind Theresa May's new love of the environment? This might be the answer". The Independent. 2018-01-20. Retrieved 2019-03-27.
  16. ^ "The new Tory reformers looking to conquer the centre ground". Evening Standard. 2018-11-28. Retrieved 2019-03-27.
  17. ^ Stewart, Heather (2017-09-10). "Thinktank warns Tories not to cut interest rates on student loans". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-03-27.
  18. ^ Shorthouse, Ryan. "Helping Hand? Improving Universal Credit" (PDF). brightblue.org.uk.
  19. ^ Shorthouse, Ryan. "Pressure in the Pipeline: Decarbonising the UK's gas" (PDF). brightblue.org.uk.
  20. ^ "Clearing the air: Reducing air pollution in the West Midlands" (PDF).
  21. ^ "Conservation Nation" (PDF).
  22. ^ "Saving global nature: greening UK Official Development Assistance" (PDF).
  23. ^ "Hotting up: Strengthening the Climate Change Act ten years on" (PDF).
  24. ^ "Burning Injustices" (PDF).
  25. ^ "Saving for the future: extending the consensus on workplace pensions" (PDF).
  26. ^ "Individual identity: Understanding how conservatives think about human rights and discrimination" (PDF).
  27. ^ "A greener, more pleasant land: a new market-based commissioning scheme for rural payments" (PDF).
  28. ^ "Fighting for freedom? The historic and future relationship between conservatism and human rights" (PDF).
  29. ^ "Britain Breaking Barriers" (PDF).
  30. ^ "Green conservatives? Understanding what conservatives think about the environment" (PDF).
  31. ^ "Centre Write Magazine".
  32. ^ a b Butler, Patrick. "Pay compensation for universal credit errors, says thinktank".
  33. ^ Editor, Greg Hurst, Social Affairs (2019-03-11). "Let universal credit claimants take cash early, ministers told". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 2019-03-27.
  34. ^ Bentley, David (2019-03-18). "Universal Credit claimants 'should get compensation' for late payments". birminghammail. Retrieved 2019-03-27.
  35. ^ "Universal Credit Pilot To Be Launched In Harrogate In Major Step Forward For Reform". HuffPost UK. 2019-03-11. Retrieved 2019-03-27.
  36. ^ PoliticsHome.com (2019-03-11). "Universal Credit claimants should get compensation if they are paid late, Tory think tank urges". PoliticsHome.com. Retrieved 2019-03-27.
  37. ^ a b "'Urgent priority': Major rethink required to spur green gas investment". businessgreen.com. 2019-02-15. Retrieved 2019-03-27.
  38. ^ "Government unveils new Clean Air Strategy - is it enough?". RightsInfo. 2019-01-14. Retrieved 2019-03-27.
  39. ^ Simon, Frédéric (2019-02-15). "Gas must be 'completely' decarbonised by 2050, says UK think-tank". euractiv.com. Retrieved 2019-03-27.
  40. ^ "Thinktank calls for 'low-carbon gas obligation' to decarbonise heating". Utility Week. 2019-02-15. Retrieved 2019-03-27.
  41. ^ "Parliamentary Supporters".
  42. ^ "Advisory Council".
  43. ^ "Bright Blue | Who Funds You?". whofundsyou.org. Retrieved 2019-04-01.
  44. ^ "Bright Blue | Who Funds You?". whofundsyou.org. Retrieved 2019-07-07.

External links[edit]