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Making sense of the right to protest, with Dave Taylor

The government is trying again to pass new laws to stop disruptive and noisy protest from environmental groups like Insulate Britain and Extinction Rebellion. Is the right to live without disruption more important than the right to protest? Join Tortoise editor David Taylor and special guests to work out where you stand. editor and invited experts David TaylorEditor Emmanuelle AndrewsPolicy and Campaigns, Liberty Rev. Gregory Seal LivingstonFounder & President of EquanomicsGlobal Sophie CorcoranConservative Activist and Commentator


What do we owe each other now? A ThinkIn with Minouche Shafik

This is a newsroom ThinkIn. In-person and digital-only tickets are available.Anger manifested in polarised politics, culture wars and intergenerational tensions over climate change have revealed great disaffection in recent years. Minouche Shafik argues that this widespread discontent stems from the failure of existing social contracts to deliver on people’s expectations for both security and opportunity. How should society pool risks, share resources and balance the individual with collective responsibility?Join us for a ThinkIn with the director of the London School of Economics and author of What We Owe Each Other: A New Social Contract, where she will draw on evidence from across the globe to identify the key principles every society must adopt if it is to meet the challenges of the coming century. We will be asking her and our members the age old question: what do we owe each other? editor and invited experts James HardingCo-Founder and Editor Minouche ShafikDirector of London School of Economics and Political Science and Author of ‘What We Owe Each Other: A New Social Contract’


Would privatisation be good for Channel 4?

This is a digital-only ThinkIn. Channel 4 is used to the spectre of privatisation. The Thatcher, Major, Blair and now the Johnson governments have all investigated the potential sale of the channel, and it looks like 2022 could be a year of decision for the broadcaster. But what would the real impact of a privatised Channel 4 be for viewers and the industry? Although publicly owned, Channel 4 receives all its funding from advertising revenue – a detail which appeared to catch the current Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries off guard in a recent Select Committee hearing. If the de facto owner of Channel 4 doesn’t know how it operates, how can the broadcaster be confident of its own future? Who are the likely buyers, and how does the Channel 4 situation contribute to the mood music about privatising the BBC? editor and invited experts James Harding Co-founder and Editor John Whittingdale OBE MP Former Minister of State for Media and Data Lord Michael Grade CBE Television executive Maggie Brown Media journalist and Channel 4 historian Paul Fleming General Secretary, Equity


After Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, Peter Connelly and Victoria Climbié: what should social workers do?

This is a digital-only ThinkIn. Every time we learn of the horrendous abuse of a child a spotlight is shone on the child protection system. Reviews are launched and the same lessons learned – but it keeps on happening. At the same time, the care system is struggling with more children than have been removed from their families since records began in the early 1990s. It falls on social workers to support families, identify abuse, and marshall the care system. It’s one of the hardest jobs in the world. Is there a different way social workers could do it? editor and invited experts Liz Moseley Editor Beverley-Barnett Jones Associate Director for System and Impact, Nuffield Family Justice Observatory Cathy Ashley Chief Executive, Family Rights Group Dame Rachel de Souza Children’s Commissioner for England Polly Curtis Journalist and author of Behind Closed Doors: Why We Break Up Families – and How to Mend Them


Is the NHS overrated?

This is a digital-only ThinkIn. There’s a strong case to be made that the NHS is one of the most inefficient and overrated healthcare systems in the world. Its heart is in the right place, and its core principles are laudable and beyond criticism, but its management and delivery are another story. Governments don’t have a great track record at running organisations, and certainly not complicated healthcare systems. The NHS is one of the largest employers in the world, with a workforce of 1.3 million, but it’s also a political football. In 73 years of the NHS, it’s been overseen by 31 Health Secretaries since Aneurin Bevan, many of whom instigated their own reforms, overhauls and transformation projects with varying degrees of failure. Is our obsession with the NHS as a national institution blinding us to how it needs to change? Are privatised elements of the health service really such a bad idea? And when it comes to modernising the NHS, where do you even start? editor and invited experts Matthew d’Ancona Editor Andy Cowper Editor, Health Policy Insight Dr Agnes Arnold-Forster Writer, researcher and healthcare historian. Sally Warren Director of Policy, The King’s Fund


Is £81k a year enough to be an MP?

This is a digital-only ThinkIn.With the UK average salary at £31k, surely MPs are living very comfortably on £81k a year? If that’s the case, why do so many have a second job? Singaporean MPs are the highest paid in the world, taking home more than £330k plus bonuses. Ministerial pay is benchmarked against the top 1,000 Singaporean income earners, and they’re eligible for bonuses. The  idea is that good salaries will attract the highest quality candidates. Australian backbenchers take home more than £120k, and Canadians get just over £100k. Compared to those sums, the UK MP salary seems a bit stingy. Living on £81k is far from the breadline, but other countries seem to value political service more than we do. Should we be surprised that many MPs feel they need a second income? How much does it really cost to be an MP, how much of this is about social class – and if we really want the best people for the job, how much are we prepared to pay? editor and invited experts Matt d’AnconaEditor and Partner Dr Nicholas DickinsonBingham Early Career Fellow in Constitutional Studies Hannah WhiteDeputy Director, Institute of Government Richard BurgonMP Leeds East Tom BrakeDirector, Unlock Democracy and former MP (1997-2019, LibDem)


High taxes, high wages, high prices: what does the Budget mean?

This is a digital-only ThinkIn.The day after Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor, announces what some people have called his “nightmare budget”, Tortoise members, editors and expert analysts will get together to figure out what it means for households, for business and the wider economy – and what clues it holds about strategic divisions between No 10 and No 11, and for government strategy overall. Please bring your questions and observations as we spend an hour making sense of it all together. editor and invited experts Ceri ThomasEditor and Partner Anne LongfieldChair, Commission on Young Lives Dr Gemma TetlowChief Economist at the Institute for Government James SmithResearch Director, Resolution Foundation Molly Scott CatoGreen politician, economist and activist. Previously a Professor of Economics at Roehampton University


Future of Cities Summit

Boris Johnson – the man who delivered a whopping majority for the Conservative Party in December 2019 – has defended himself over claims he misled parliament about rule-breaking parties during the coronavirus pandemic. “I swear by almighty God that the evidence I shall give before this committee will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. So, help me God.”Boris Johnson (BBC News) Parliament’s Committee for Privileges and Conduct will now determine whether the former prime minister intentionally or recklessly misled fellow MPs in a series of statements that he made about parties in Downing Street when the British public was forced to stay indoors. The scandal has forced Mr Johnson to concede that he misled MPs over a number of parties held at Number 10 in breach of Covid rules and guidance. But, he claims, he did not do this intentionally. “There were a number of, er, days over a period over 20 months when gatherings took place in Downing Street that went past the point where they could be said to be necessary for work purposes. That was wrong, I bitterly regret it, I understand public anger and I continue to apologise for what happened on my watch and I take full responsibility.”Boris Johnson (BBC News) Mr Johnson told the committee that if he had broken the rules, then other people would have known it too, including the current prime minister, Rishi Sunak, who was also fined for breaking the government’s own rules on lockdown gatherings. In a moment of particular high drama, the committee’s proceedings were adjourned so that Boris Johnson could vote against the prime minister’s new deal on post-Brexit trade arrangements in Northern Ireland. Boris Johnson: “It must have been obvious to others in the building, including the current prime minister.”Harriet Harman: “Order, order. We will now suspend the sitting whilst the House of Commons votes and we will reconvene in 15 minutes.”Boris Johnson: “Thank you.”BBC News *** During his three-and-a-half-hour appearance in front of the committee Boris Johnson at times came across as belligerent and combative.  He took on fellow Conservative MPs – including Bernard Jenkin – over whether the lockdown gatherings, with alcohol and little social distancing, had been “necessary” for work purposes. Bernard Jenkin: “You’re giving very long answers, and it’s taking longer than we need. And you’re repeating yourself quite a lot. Can we just get on with the questions? Thank you very much. BBC News Boris Johnson: I think it’s unlikely that I said that, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t say things about social distancing.Bernard Jenkin: Ok, thank you. You’ve answered the question. BBC News Bernard Jenkin: What sort of observations?Boris Johnson: I might well have made observations about the importance of social distancing, since it was very much on our minds. Bernard Jenkin: Ok. BBC News Mr Johnson’s supporters in the Conservative Party were quick to defend him. Former cabinet ministers Nadine Dorries and Jacob Rees-Mogg both accused the committee of conducting a political witch hunt.  Labour’s Jim McMahon, was keen to remind people what they were doing as Mr Johnson attended parties in Downing Street. “For me this can’t be viewed for how we feel today, how we live our lives today. We’re free today. We can see our friends and family today. We can socialise today. If we have loved ones in care homes, we can see them today. That wasn’t what was happening when Boris Johnson was breaking the rules and holding them parties in Downing Street.”Jim McMahon (Sky News) The reality is that Boris Johnson is in a difficult place.  He could face a serious sanction if it is found that he intentionally or recklessly misled parliament. So, could it be the end of the road for his political career?  *** Boris Johnson was forced from office by his fellow Conservative MPs in 2022, following a number of damaging scandals.  If he is found to have deliberately misled his colleagues he could be suspended from the commons for ten days,  This would trigger a by-election which he could lose.   Mr Johnson’s appearance before the Committee for Privileges and Conduct comes at a crucial time for the Tories. Boris Johnson’s arch-rival – Prime Minister Rishi Sunak – has managed to make inroads into Labour’s sizeable lead in the polls. The opportunity for Mr Johnson to make a come-back to the top tier of politics is narrowing.  Here’s Tortoise’s political editor, Cat Neilan: “I think what we saw over the course of a day in Westminster where he was up against the Privileges committee – but not just then, in other things that were happening in and around Westminster at the time – I think we saw if not the end, then the beginning of the end of his ambitions to return as prime minister.”The News Meeting, Tortoise Media Mr Johnson’s fate lies with the Privileges Committee. It won’t report for a number of weeks.  This episode was written by Rhys James and mixed by Tomini Babs.


How do we prepare today for the labour market of tomorrow?

This is a digital-only ThinkIn.Thanks to new technology, an estimated 100 million workers will need to switch occupations by 2030. What can we know of the careers that will be available to children born in 2021 who are job seeking in 2041? Robots may replace human beings in increasingly complex and creative roles, but this shift will be matched by an increase in so-called pink and green collar jobs – in the care economy, clean energy and technology industry. What does this mean for the way we think about what is and isn’t considered ‘high value work’? How do we start preparing now for the labour market of tomorrow? ReadoutHow do we prepare for a world in which 65 per cent of school children today will grow up to have jobs that don’t currently exist? The future labour market will bring both benefits and costs – but most importantly – it will be characterised by change. By 2030, around 100 million workers will have to switch occupations. Addressing these seismic shifts – resulting from forces including the climate crisis, the switch to hybrid and online work, and the increased automation of many key labour processes – will take a considerable amount of effort on the part of both business and government. What is the best approach? To discuss this topic, and much more, Tortoise was joined by Lynda Gratton, Professor of Management Practice at the London Business School, and Felix Tran, Thematic Strategist at Bank of America.Felix Tran, began by explaining the key findings of the “The Future of Work and How It Will Change Our Lives” report, which he co-wrote. It aims to dispel some of the scarier statistics that orbit the topic of labour transformation. Some of them paint a bleak picture of the threat facing workers in some sectors; the threat of redundancy and replacement. Felix mentioned findings by Oxford University in 2013 that suggested 35 per cent of jobs in the UK and 47 per cent of jobs in the US could be automated away in the next decade. This fact has generated a big sense of risk, but also of opportunity, with the recognition that people can be upskilled through training and education to expand their professional horizons and take on new opportunities in a fast-moving economy. This rapid change is part of a creative destruction cycle, Felix believes, in which technology is not just here to displace, but to enhance the condition of labourers and ultimately be a force for good. In their findings, Felix and his co-authors found that 12m net new jobs could be created through technology by 2025.When the ATM was introduced in 1970, many people thought that they would replace bank tellers, though in the period that followed the number of bank tellers in the US actually rose. The ATM replaced a particular part of the banking process that was being done by humans, allowing those workers to move on to different jobs within the wider banking system; like relationship management and financial advice. The key to this replacement process was the retraining and upskilling of workers so that they could take on new challenges.Lynda Gratton, a recognised expert in analysing future work trends, explained that, as the labour market starts really changing, we will see an even greater divide between jobs that are typically low-skilled and have a low threshold of training or education. Supporting the ambitions of workers who want to advance to higher-paid positions and acquire new skills is key to dampening the negative effects of labour automation. Opportunities to retrain should be equitably distributed and supported by government. Whilst 85m jobs will be eliminated by automation and robots by 2030, this will not happen evenly across all markets; jobs most at risk are retail sales personnel, fast food production workers. Those workers can be given the training and support they need to move up the skills and salary ladder, rather than down, or off the ladder completely. editor and invited experts Alexi MostrousInvestigations Editor Felix TranThematic Strategist at Bank of America Lynda GrattonProfessor of Management Practice at London Business School