The delay with the Chilcot report is misunderstood

, 21 January 2015

Much of the political and media outrage over the further delay in publication of the Chilcot report into the Iraq war is exaggerated and misunderstands what such an inquiry involves. Of course, it would have been much better if the report had been published earlier, and the delay has damaged public confidence. But there...

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Under FOIA: departments’ responses to freedom of information requests

, 21 January 2015

Between July and September (Q3) 2014, monitored government bodies received 11,234 freedom of information requests – only two quarters this parliament had fewer requests. Altogether, over 100,000 bodies are subject to the FoI Act, but the MoJ only publishes statistics for 41 of them – government departments and some other bodies such as the...

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Keep calm and clarify

, 20 January 2015

The prospect of another hung parliament after the May 7 elections is being treated with a mixture of alarm and excitement by the business, political and media worlds. There are certainly risks in an inconclusive result, but the British political system is remarkably resilient. Government will carry on: services will be provided and...

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The laws of effective coalitions

, 20 January 2015

As an instrumental figure in the 2010 Lib Dem/Tory negotiations, it is hard to find someone better placed to give advice on effective coalition formation than David Laws. Now that we face the very real prospect of a hung parliament, this advice may be needed more than ever. As part of the Institute’s series...

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Why David Cameron should care whether ‘lines on the graphs go in the right direction’

‘I didn’t come into politics to make the lines on the graphs go in the right direction.’ Prime Minister David Cameron, speech to Conservative Party Conference, October 2014 David Cameron’s comments on graphs at last October’s Conservative Party conference raised a few eyebrows (and a few laughs). It was only the start of an...

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Forecasting Government spending: why pointless numbers lead to pointless arguments

, 14 January 2015

Arguments over fiscal policy are coming two-a-penny at the moment. Yesterday’s debate on the Charter for Budget Responsibility was the latest instalment. Behind all this debate lie the Autumn Statement numbers, when the Chancellor made much play of the forecast that the UK would have a budget surplus of £23bn by 2019-20. Suggestions that...

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