Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Nicholas Boles Steps Down from Policy Exchange

Anthony Browne, Chief Political Correspondent of The Times, will take over from Nicholas Boles as the Chief Executive of Policy Exchange. Nicholas is leaving the award-winning Think Tank to concentrate on his bid to be Mayor of London. He's now gone from 'listening' to 'running'. He's a very credible candidate and I wish him well. Talking of the mayoral race, I'll be interviewing Steve Norris tonight on 18 Doughty Street at 9pm.

Anthony Browne was the Brussels Correspondent before he moved to Westminster and will be a considerable loss to the paper. I understand that he used to be a Labour supporter, then joined the Conservatives but isn't attached to any political party at the moment.

I became a Trustee of Policy Exchange when it was formed in 2001. I've been delighted to see it grow to become one of the most influential think tanks in the country. Its expansion has been largely drive by one man, Nicholas Boles. He's exactly the kind of inspirational leader who commands loyalty from his colleagues and staff without ever having to ask for it. He's someone I'm delighted to call a friend.

Footnote: It seems the right time for me also to step down as a Trustee. I'm sure it will come as a great disappointment to all the conspiracy theorists out there, but I haven't actually been able to attend a single Policy Exchange Trustees meeting for eighteen months due to diary clashes. I think it is now a good time for Policy Exchange to appoint someone as a Trustee who will be able to commit more time than I have been able to recently.

UPDATE: Message to the anonymous trolls who are spouting their usual guff about Policy Exchange. Save yourselves the trouble. If you can't be bothered to identify yourselves, your comments won't be posted. And that goes for anonymous posters in general. If all you want to do is slag people off, go and do it elsewhere.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nicholas Boles will be a sad loss to PX, but potentially a great gain for London. Best of luck to him and to Anthony.

David Boothroyd said...

I don't believe in a conspiracy theory, but I do believe in the cockup theory. When you endorsed a campaign against the Smith Institute for being a charity despite being closely allied to Labour, I don't believe it ever occurred with you to check whether Policy Exchange, with its Conservative links, was a charity as well.

Do you think Policy Exchange still deserves charitable status?

Iain Dale said...

David, you are correct in one respect. It never occured to me there was any conflict of interest, largely because there wasn't. As a trustee of course I knew Policy Exchange was a charity, but in 6 years no one has accused it of breaching that status. You cannot compare its activities with what the Smith Institute has been doing.

And yes, is the answer to your last question.

Try and take your new labour blinkers off!

Nicholas Bennett said...

Will you be asking Steve about his Mayoral intentions?

Matt Davis said...

Iain, if you get the chance tonight then please please please ask Steve Norris if, if he were to stand for Mayor again, he would this time fight a proper campaign with all of his energies and across the whole of London. Or would he repeat last time's disasterous strategy of leaving it too late and only working a few parts of the city?

Guido 2.0 said...

It never occured to me there was any conflict of interest. In fact, I had to look up 'conflict of interest' in the dictionary.

Fixed that for you.

ed said...

David Boothroyd makes a good point; Iain, if he should take off his New Labour blinkers then you should remove your Conservative ones.

Hannibal said...

David,

I was unaware that Policy Exchange has been enjoying events hosted at the taxpayers expense in Number 11 Downing Street at which they have devised strategy to get a political party elected (there is a difference between that and merely offering up policies which may or may not be adopted by any party). Is that what they've been up to? It would be news to many of us!

David Boothroyd said...

I most definitely can and do compare its activities to the Smith Institute. I cannot see an iota of difference between what Policy Exchange does for the Conservatives and what the Smith Institute does for Labour. And I'm sure there are Lib Dem allied thinktanks doing the same too.

Anonymous said...

Hi Iain, As a regular anonymous poster to your site (who knows nought about Policy Exchange) your decision to block slaggy posts on this issue could be seen as an example of double standards and contradictory. A clear statement on your posting policy may be helpful, or a fuller explanation.

Justin Hinchcliffe said...

Is Norris going to stand again?

Richard said...

As credible a candidate as Boles is, I can't see any Tory (short of Seb Coe) being able to defeat Livingstone. Regardless of what else Ken does, he'll always have the Olympics victory and the successful implementation of the c-charge. And regardless of how unpopular the government gets, his support should still hold up because of his, shall we say, unique style.

Observer said...

then joined the Conservatives but isn't attached to any political party at the moment.

that seems to be common among a lot of Conservatives at present - not having a party to be attached to

Anonymous said...

But Livingstone has lost huge amounts of support from his base over the last 3 years.
His love-in with militant Islam and dodgy dictators in the Americas annoys just as many people as his bendy-buses. They are likely to stay at home this time.
He only beat Norris last time by about a 100,000 votes. With voters feeling the ‘Cameron effect’, especially in London, they will be far more inclined to consider a candidate like Nick Boles, than they were Steve Norris. I think with a strong campaign (and wind in the right direction) then Bole’s can take it.

Anonymous said...

Is it too much to ask to have someone with some successful electoral experience, some successful big budget public or private sector management experience, someone with the actual personality to be the Mayor's equal and make Londoners believe they are one of them?

Anonymous said...

Hmm..Don't you think we are able to form a judgement about what these 'trolls' are saying ? Don't you trust us to form the same opinion as you, that the attacks on Policy Exchange have no substance ?


Or are you worried that intelligent, free thinking types that read 'Iain Dale' might have minds of their own, and come to a different view from the one you hold ??

Or do we need to be 'protected' from dangerously divergent views?

Just a thought..

Letterman said...

Boles seems like a top bloke its a shame he's becoming a politician. All the parties have associated or sympathetic think tanks, most have more than one but being in Government and offering taxpayer funded freebees is different.

Chris Paul said...

But go on Iain, admit it. This PX thing was/is more than a little like TSI which you lot have been laying into. Sauce for the goose etc. To exonerate your one as completely different is a bit silly. If it is different it certainly is not completely different. It is a political think tank with clear party colours that is also a charity. And charities aren't supposed to do anything party political. Sheesh, Oxfam have been prevented from some of the development campaigning they wished to do under this rule. The use of govt buildings possibly FoC or at MC is another matter. If the ICM poll is correct and remains the case then we may soon be able to test PX's mettle on that.

Newmania said...

Does this not being allowed to slag anyone off extend to not being allowed to "slag Nicholoas Boles off", then ?

I happen to think he would be a calamitous choice for the Conservative Party to run for Mayor for various reasons I have dealt with a great length before. This has nothing to do with the status of Policy Exchange .The nature of the Smith Institute’s activities , as I understand them , have been suggested to be of an entirely different nature . It isn’t really something I take a lot of interest in myself .

I am interested in campaigning for a candidate for Mayor that is not an admission of defeat before we start and preferably someone who has been employed outside politics and not gone straight from Eton into a career in the masses.
( That is not to say of course that he ,or indeed anyone ,would not be vastly preferable to the present incumbent)

I am hoping that this sort of remark is not unacceptable. There is no malice in it .

tom_r said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
julie said...

wow. the timescale, if nothing else, suggests that the recent digging on PX hasn't been completely misplaced. don't tell me you and boles have had this in the pipeline for a while, it's just not believable. so tell us iain, what prompted this?

Iain Dale said...

Julie, I know people love conspiracies, but I was called this afternoon by Charles Moore (Policy Xchange chairman) to tell me of Anthony Browne' appointment and Nick's departure. I then phoned Nick to wish him well on his mayoral campaign and told him I thought I would probably stand down as a trustee and asked his opinion. I haven't been able to do much for PX in recent times so I thought it a good time for someone new to take over.

And that is the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Guido 2.0 said...

And that is the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

(sfx: audience laughter)