ISOS: Economic and Social Policy: What Next?


Attracting Sixth form students from across the UK, on Tuesday the 24th February we held the first ISOS of 2009.

Starting the day with a speech about the dangers of the predominant constructivist ideology in European institutions, Westminster City Councilor JP Floru brought strong points against how its continuation could hold back Britain’s economy. Following JP was Douglas Carswell MP, who spoke on his plan to renew Britain in twelve months. He drew excellently upon his influential book co-authored with Dan Hannan on the same subject. 

After the first break, the ASI’s own Dr Eamonn Butler gave a speech on his excellent new book The Rotten State of Britain. Eamonn’s presentation considered how over the past decade New Labour has instituted by stealth a type of government more oppressive, arrogant, and authoritarian than what Margaret Thatcher was ever accused of. Following Eamonn, Kendra Okonski, Communications Director of the International Policy Network discussed with verve how a market-based approach is best suited for protecting the environment.

Jeremy Browne MP spoke superbly after lunch on the recent boom years and whether they were just an illusion. He argued that although the UK’s citizens are better off now than they were, this does not excuse the fact that much of the current financial crisis was caused largely by a government induced credit boom. Steve Rolles’ from Transform was up next tackling the controversial topic of drug reform. He argued convincingly that the legalization of recreational drugs and the medicalization of harder drugs would benefit the country through a lower rate of crime and tax receipts from their sales.

Dr Madsen Pirie spoke next on how to save Britain. The ideas presented were a synthesis of different necessary reforms to rebuild Britain after the recession; if only we had a government radical enough to institute them. Up last was Oxford Professor Martin Cox. He talked consummately on the bailout’s effects on the economy, considering who will pay for it in the end. Sadly the answer was of course the sixth form students listening. 

The Independent Seminar on the Open Society was once again a great success, with thought-provoking speakers and excellent questions from the students for which we are grateful. We would also like to thank Total Politics, Prospect and Standpoint who kindly provided magazines for the students.