In Paris on Thursday I addressed a meeting of IREF, the Institute for Research into Economic and Fiscal Issues, which is a French free market and broadly libertarian outfit whose scholarly research and press briefings try to nudge France in the general direction of soundness.  Given Francois Hollande, they face a tough task.

I was asked to speak about how think tanks might hope to influence events, and I put forward the view that it is not just sound policies that are needed, but ones that are realistic, practical, and likely to bring success and popularity to the political leaders who implement them.  To some extent this involves careful examination of the interest groups which stand to gain or to lose, and an innovative slant to the policies that takes those groups into account.

I delivered the speech in French, having prepared it in advance, and after the discussion there was a most civilized session in which a sommelier introduced some French wines which we then sampled along with charcuterie, cheeses and French breads.  I found myself wondering if it’s a format the Adam Smith Institute might try out to see how popular it might be in the UK.