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In the Think Tanks: Archive

Dennis Sewell
Dennis Sewell has presented In the Think Tanks since 2001.
Dennis Sewell investigates the influence of think tanks on policy making and political debate.

Ranging from the long-established to the brand new, he charts their impact on government, opposition and public opinion.

He talks to the think tankers about their struggle to raise enough funding, commission the right research and find winning ideas.

To listen to programmes you have missed, browse the archive below.

IN THE THINK TANKS: 2008

28 September 2008: Radical Ideas

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Dennis Sewell looked at some new ideas being dreamed up by think tanks.

In particular, he highlighted current thinking on education and welfare benefits.


21 September 2008: Battling for Ideas?

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Dennis Sewell looked at the fashion for "evidence-based policy-making".

And he heard that think tanks had become more mature and thoughtful - less tribal. Could that really be true?



14 September 2008: Party Politics

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Think tanks need to be completely independent of political parties to keep their charitable status.

But how can you influence policy without being close to politicians?

Dennis Sewell considered the relationship between think tanks and political parties.

IN THE THINK TANKS: 2007

21 January 2007: Localism

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Dennis Sewell explored the idea that political decisions should be made at the level closest to the people they affect.

He talked to leading think tank figures who had been examining this idea.



14 January 2007: Choosing Schools

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Dennis Sewell considered how the debate over school choice might take a radical turn of direction in the year ahead.

He talked to those who thought the time was ripe to push the issue forward, and found education vouchers were no longer being marketed as a remedy for middle-class anxiety, but as a tonic for the most deprived.



7 January 2007: A Year of Opportunity?

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As 2007 began, Dennis Sewell asked key figures from the think tanks what the year ahead would bring.

After all, there would soon be a new man at Number 10. Would he be in the market for fresh ideas to reinvigorate the Labour government after ten years in office?

IN THE THINK TANKS: 2006

21 May 2006: Going Nuclear?

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The role that nuclear power should - or should not - play became yet more contentious when the Prime Minister pre-empted his own government's energy review by signalling his support for building a new generation of nuclear power stations.

That question was beginning to dominate the debate over how to tackle climate change. Dennis Sewell explained why that was worrying.


14 May 2006: Global Possibilities

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Dennis Sewell found out how politicians were looking at global warming as less of a problem, and more of an opportunity.

And he explored why market solutions seem to be popular with both left- and right-leaning think tanks.


7 May 2006: Green Issues Centre Stage

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The environment and climate change have become mainstream political concerns.

Dennis Sewell looked at how the policy-makers try to come up with practical solutions - only to struggle to identify the correct point of contact within government.

IN THE THINK TANKS: 2005

16 January 2005: Role for Religion

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Dennis Sewell asked whether religious organisations could actually take over some of the functions currently run by the state.

And why, he probed, are some in the Church wary of too close a relationship with government?



9 January 2005: Religion versus Politics?

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Dennis Sewell looked at how faith groups are responding to politicians' desires to find fresh solutions to crime and some of society's most intractable problems.

He found out about religious organisations' attempts to stop people re-offending.



2 January 2005: Inspired Ideas

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Dennis Sewell explored the role religion was having in helping to shape policy.

In the first of three programmes, he discussed whether religious groups should be involved in the political policy-making process.

IN THE THINK TANKS: 2004


1 February 2004: A New Europe


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On 1 May 2004, 10 new member states were to join the European Union. It had the potential to, in time, become the most powerful political entity in the world. What opportunities was this throwing up for the think tanks?


25 January 2004: Inside Europe

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Who does what, and where does policy come from? Dennis Sewell explained the matrix of political institutions which drive the European Union.

And he met the think tank people trying to make friends and influence people in Brussels.

IN THE THINK TANKS: 2002


4 December 2002: America Ahead

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In the final part of his series on the US, Dennis Sewell asked whether British think tanks would ever enjoy the status and firepower of America's think tanks.



27 November 2002: America's Left

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Dennis Sewell talked to the people in Washington's left-of-centre think tanks.

This took him on a visit to the United States' most venerable think tank - the Brookings Institution.


20 November 2002: America's Right

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In George W. Bush's America, think tanks on the right play a big role. Dennis Sewell went to meet them - and their Democrat rivals.

And he asked what lessons Britain's smaller, and less wealthy, think tanks could learn from their American cousins.

IN THE THINK TANKS: 2001

23 September 2001: Saying the Unsayable

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What if think tanks ran out of ideas? Where would that leave political debate and public policy?

Dennis Sewell asked how necessary they were in the modern political world.


16 September 2001: Influencing Ideas

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Dennis Sewell explored some of the ideas think tanks had for revolutionising health and education.

He found out more about right-of-centre policy shops, and how they work with politicians.



9 September 2001: An Introduction

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"Think tanks" came into the language for the first time after World War Two, defining research institutes or other bodies providing advice and ideas on national or commercial problems.

Dennis Sewell ventured into the world of think tanks to find out how they work and what hot ideas were coming to the boil.


SEE ALSO
Just what is a think tank?
15 Jan 08 |  Magazine

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