Archive of Published Policy Papers

This page lists all the policy papers the society has published.

Many of these, particularly those proposing specific legislation, may be out of date (e.g. anything about health). Some may never fall victim to the passing of time (John Kwan’s paper on a written UK constitution comes to mind). But when the society met to discuss these, we read, questioned and improved them, and that approach is why people attend our meetings, write papers, and commission further study.

Go straight to key policy areas:

Economic Policy

The Mutual Fund Industry Download Paper

Michael WalkerMay 2013

This report offers some suggestions directed at how quality of service can be improved in the mutual fund industry, how competition can be made more effective and thereby the results for customers as well as successful fund managers improved. It does this by firstly conducting a broad narrative analysis of the many issues which have affected the industry in the past and which still affect it. It then makes a series of policy recommendations setting out what each party involved can do to contribute to better overall outcomes.

How does this market work, and as importantly, in what ways is it not working as well as it could? What are the reasons for this? What is its history, and structure? To what extent is the power of consumer choice the driver of services delivered? Where this is lacking, what are the fundamental reasons for this? What is the effect, both good and bad, of current regulation? What is the range of business structures used and what is their history? Why is it important for fund managers to be able to trust their clients? What should investors look for in a fund manager’s description of themselves? How, and by whom, can consumer understanding of “what active management actually is” be best maintained?

These are some of the questions dealt with in this wide-ranging, narrative, non-technical and discursive report which also makes a series of policy recommendations in the following areas:

  • That open debate on the merits of different business structures is needed.
  • Why and how funds should improve the way they communicate with their investors, and the gains for all parties that can be made from doing so.
  • Why it is crucial for the consumer to understand the basic choice they must make between passive and active management, why current regulation actively confuses this choice, and how the regulatory approach should be modified.
  • What the consumer should look for when they choose an active fund.
  • What the regulator, state or otherwise, should and should not be doing to help.

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Credible Policy-Making after Quantitative Easing Download Paper

Joseph Bell & Rafe MartynSeptember 2012

The increasingly errant forecasting of the Bank of England (the Bank) and the challenges presented by unconventional monetary policy (in particular, quantitative easing [QE]) which it has used to counter the UK’s fall into economic stagnation have placed its credibility under scrutiny.

This paper identifies the key threats to the credibility of the Bank of England, both now and in the near future, which it must address if it is to maintain efficacy in a world after QE.

  • First, the Bank’s CPI inflation target is inadequate in an environment of increasingly volatile food, and upwards trending commodity prices.
  • Second, following a comprehensive review, we find that the Bank’s stated exit strategy from QE — resting on a mirror-image asset sale and the issuance of Bank of England Bills — is unsatisfactory, particularly given the predominantly long-dated nature of the Bank’s bond-holdings.
  • Third, the communication challenge presented by QE, and indeed any attempt to exit it, is straining the Bank’s communications framework. To be credible in this new world of multiple monetary policy instruments, the Bank needs to recognise that there is no one-size-fits-all strategy for central bank communication.

We present three recommendations to address these threats and restore the Bank’s credibility:

  • A core inflation target would align the Bank’s tacit objective with its stated one,
  • Committing to not selling the assets purchased under QE would clarify the Bank’s exit strategy, and
  • Adopting a tailored approach to communicating different policy instruments would create a more coherent communications framework.

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TWS Annual Conference Policy Document 2012 – Introduction to Public Policy for Cyberspace Download Paper

Albert Beardow, Joseph Bell, Luke Fernandes, Tom Powell & Johnathan ZemlikJanuary 2012

TWS’s first Annual Conference, held in January 2012 on the theme of ‘Public Policy for Cyberspace’, was accompanied by our introduction to the policy debates surrounding this area.

The paper was written by our specially-formed subcommittee on cyberspace, chaired by Albert Beardow.

Please email policy@wilberforcesociety.co.uk for more information.

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Eurozone — the Road to Fiscal Union Download Paper

Tom PocockDecember 2011

This paper discusses several key issues, including how the Eurozone member states’ relinquishment of their monetary levers has caused economic booms and busts, why equilibrium hasn’t been settled by free movement of persons, how certain European institutions need strengthening to support stability, recommendations for the creation of further federal institutions, proposals to strengthen the criteria for Eurozone entry & Greece’s future in the Eurozone

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Road Charging and Privatisation Download Paper

Ben WattsFebruary 2010

An argument for the privatisation of Britain’s major roads, with compulsory GPS trackers fitted in cars to monitor road use, in order to rebalance the cost of driving vis-a-vis rail trainsport and to improve efficiency in the upkeep of the road network.

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Corporation Tax in Northern Ireland Download Paper

Anna StansburyApril 2011

A paper assessing the potential costs and benefits of lowering corporation tax in Northern Ireland. We conclude that while potential benefits of a reduction in corporation tax may be high in the very long term, the costs are very likely to be high in the short term and may well remain so in the future. Potential benefits are far too uncertain for Northern Ireland to risk a significant corporation tax rate reduction; and a small reduction may be ineffectual in attracting significant amounts of new business.

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Student Finance: Repayment of Graduate Debt Download Paper

Anna StansburyJanuary 2011

An assessment of mechanisms to repay graduate debt, with four proposals to improve the system: median earnings to be the income threshold at which repayments are made, CPI + 3% to be the interest rate paid on graduate debt (with rate relief for low earners), early repayment to be permitted with no penalty, and the progressive aspects of the system to be publicised clearly and aggressively.

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The “Robin Hood Tax”: a rejection Download Paper

Benjamin DanielsMay 2010

An analysis of the popular proposal for a “Robin Hood Tax” on financial transactions, focusing on its international applicability and the additional cost it would impose upon transactions; and a rejection in favour of a “Tobin tax” focused only on foreign exchange transactions.

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Fiduciary Duty on Bankers: Imposing Liability for Faulty M&A Advice Download Paper

Henry LiMarch 2010

In the context of strong academic and judicial support within the UK, and precedent from abroad, this report proposes the imposition of a fiduciary duty on Merger & Acquisition advisers.

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Stabilising House Prices Download Paper

Arun AdvaniFebruary 2010

In order to remove excess volatility in the housing market, this report proposes to replace stamp duty with a capital gains tax on all houses, with the tax rate dependent on the growth rate of house prices in the region. Its revenue would be hypothecated to house-building schemes in order to lower house prices in general.

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Avoiding Tax Avoidance Download Paper

Tom PocockDecember 2009

A comprehensive assessment of the situation on tax avoidance and non-domicile status in 2009, proposing to alter Low Value Consignment Relief (LVCR) firstly by raising charges on imported goods exempt from VAT, and secondly by investigating possible breaches in EU law on LVCR by companies operating in UK and Jersey.

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Stop the Lights Going Out: Maintaining a Reliable Power Supply in Britain Download Paper

Ben WattsNovember 2009

An assessment of the demand-side and supply-side measures that could be taken to improve the capacity and reliability of Britain’s energy network, proposing compulsory smart meters by 2014, the introduction of a carbon tax, the extension of the life of coal-burning plants until 2020 and consumer awareness campaigns on efficient energy use.

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Improving Britain’s Drinking Culture Download Paper

Tom DavenportOctober 2009

With the aims of creating a more civilised drinking culture and reviving the pub as a centre of community life, this proposes the reduction of the drinking age for beer and wine in pubs, restaurants and bars to 16, and that this consumption be subject to a very low rate of tax; while the purchase of alcohol, particularly spirits, from off-licences should be highly taxed with a legal minimum age of 18 rigidly enforced.

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Domestic Policy

Students and Alcohol Download Paper

Claudia Long, Debayan Dasgupta, Gabriel Lambert, Helena Barman, Ingrid Hesselbo, Jonathon Hazell & Richard Stockwell (Ed.)July 2013

Written exclusively by students, this paper is uniquely placed to present a broad range of perspectives on issues surrounding young people and alcohol.

  • In the opening chapter, Claudia Leong argues that media presentation of a youth binge drinking culture is unfair and counterproductive: unfair in light of comparable levels of alcohol consumption among other generations and counterproductive in reinforcing negative stereotypes.
  • Debayan Dasgupta, the author of chapter two, targets his proposals for community level partnerships at the problems of underage drinking and cheap, superstrength alcohol, which are in his eyes the key factors in reducing antisocial behaviour surrounding alcohol misuse.
  • The provision of explicit, personalised information is the key proposal of the third chapter, by Gabriel Lambert. He sees potential in making the medical effects of alcohol consumption easier to conceptualise by linking alcohol intake directly to life expectancy. In addition, he makes a wider case for full disclosure of information by alcohol producers, which he hopes would lead people to reduce their consumption, obviating the need for punitive measures.
  • In chapter four, Helena Barman points to the success of graphic health warnings on cigarette packets in arguing for the adoption of a similar strategy for tackling alcohol misuse. Visually arresting images that target heavy drinkers would add shock value to a message, which could be communicated more effectively overall with the help of representative student bodies.
  • Ingrid Hesselbo adopts an anthropological perspective in chapter five. She emphasises the importance of separating the medical effects of alcohol from its cultural associations, and highlights the issue of personal responsibility for actions while intoxicated. She also advocates more liberal licensing laws in the long term, as part of normalising moderate alcohol consumption.
  • Finally, in chapter six Jonathon Hazell argues for further alcohol taxation over minimum pricing as a potentially more progressive system that would see the proceeds go to government rather than alcohol companies. In addition, he draws attention to the fact that, despite the government’s outward concern with phenomena such as preloading, young people are not disproportionately heavy drinkers compared with the general population.

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Public Health: an Integrated Perspective Download Paper

David NealJanuary 2013

The Health and Social Care Act 2012 comes into full force from April 2013. In many ways a controversial piece of legislation, it heralds considerable changes, not least to the governance and practice of Public Health. The changes are designed to enable the health and social care systems to adapt to the shift in the demographic profile of society and the changing prevalence of different types of disease. However, in the area of Public Health in particular, do these changes go far enough?

This paper briefly discusses some of the changes coming in and the challenges that we face as a society if we are to tackle the major limitations to our health. Regardless of the specific health issue in question, as our knowledge of health and disease grows, we are starting to understand in more detail the complex ways in which many factors can interact to contribute to our health. To tackle issues rooted in such complex interactions a combined effort is needed across areas of society which are currently distinct and, in many
cases, disconnected.

The major conceptual change that is still required to make a significant impact on health improvement in the future is to view the health of the public from an integrated perspective. Combining the knowledge and skills from a wide range of disciplines and sectors from central government right through to individual local communities will yield more progress than any one person, profession or sector working alone.

This paper therefore begins to outline some of the ways in which such an integrated perspective might be practically constructed and woven into society at all levels. It is by no means an exhaustive list of possibilities and indeed, the hope is that future thinking might follow the philosophy of the paper, adding to the practical suggestions for how this might be realised

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What is the 21st Century University for? Download Paper

Cosmos Fung, Chris Watkins, Jenny Steinitz, Gregory Burke, Nick Wright, Daniel Rey & Ravi Prasad (Ed.)January 2013

A 2013 Conference Paper

This paper comprises of eight individual pieces of policy research which each aim to evaluate the purpose universities play in the society of today. It seeks to contribute to this contemporary debate by designing policy in a way that allows universities to achieve those purposes indefinitely.

Proposed policies are:

Degree content

  • A government-backed work-related learning accreditation for university undergraduate degrees
  • Give undergraduate students the opportunity to take a wider breadth of courses as part of a single degree
  • Integrate entrepreneurial elements into the curriculum

Research

  • Replacement of the HEFCE as the main funding body for university research by a body which assesses research and grants funds with increased flexibility
  • Boost private investment in research through government subsidy and backing

Improving opportunity

  • Exclude international students from net migration figures
  • Expand foundation pre-university courses
  • Affiliate state schools with independent schools
  • Compulsory University Admissions Coordinators in each secondary school
  • Wider use of interviews in the university application process
  • Redistribute financial provision for Master’s courses to £12,000 per capita
  • Provision of a low interest government loan for postgraduates
  • Application of a postgraduate tax

Increasing investment

  • Embrace privatisation
  • Use of the bond markets to secure funds
  • Increase endowment funds

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New Ideas for Higher Education Download Paper

Christie Rolley, Clare Williamson, Edd Bankes, Frances Brill, Megan McPherson, Patrick Kirkham, Patty Wyllie, Sarah Layzell Hardstaff, Sarah Stopforth, Sophie Luo, Megan D. Walberg, David Woo, Maria Jose Gomez Ruiz, Emma Ramsay, Susannah Clark & Freya Rowland (Ed.)January 2013

A 2013 Conference Paper

This compilation explores the idea that a new way of teaching and learning could replace the traditional on-campus, set-syllabus university model.

The focus of the first twelve reports is on e-learning. This body of research and analysis evaluates almost every aspect of e-learning, including (but not limited to):

  • An exploration of the application of online learning methods;
  • Implications of e-learning for access;
  • Implications for the national curriculum;
  • Whether current courses can be taught wholly online;
  • Potential financial models for MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses); and
  • How universities in Britain and abroad can approach e-learning.

The final two reports explore different alternative education models that, given a blank state, one might want to adopt. One considers self-set syllabi, something that could take off in conjunction with the rise of e-learning as it becomes more feasible for students to construct and tailor the content of their education. The other is a report authored by two ex-Cambridge students who now run Action Tutoring, a self-started social initiative seeking to provide free tuition to underprivileged children through working with volunteers. This special report ex- plores the theory and practice of applying a private tutoring model on a voluntary basis and the implications it has for our existing educational framework.

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Reconceptualising Post-16 Education in Britain Download Paper

James Atkins, Solomon Elliott, Sarah Jackson, Guy Edwards, Claudia Leong, Wesley Cox & Sean Keeley (Ed.)January 2013

A 2013 Conference Paper

This paper comprises of four pieces of policy research undertaken by members of The Wilberforce Society which each aim to explore ways of reconceptualising post-16 education and training in society today. It seeks to contribute to this vast debate by designing policy in a way that seeks to improve upon current provision and offer new alternative solutions to long standing problems with the education system in Britain.

Proposed policies are:

Examination Reform

  • External assessment at the end of Key Stage 4 should be limited to mathematics and English alone
  • Abolish equivalence of qualifications
  • The shortening and simplification of the National Curriculum
  • Universities should publish recommendations on appropriate qualifications
  • The introduction of a brand based system of quality assurance
  • Awarding bodies ought to publish details of who they have worked with or consulted
  • on their qualification syllabuses and examinations

  • Applications to university made once pupils have received their grades

Raising Perceptions of Vocational Training and Education

  • Maintain the momentum of transnational Vocational Training and Education pro- grammes
  • Ensuring central government follow through on their proposals for VET schemes
  • Offering VET schemes to prison offenders
  • A media campaign encouraging positive coverage of vocational education
  • The creation of youth ambassadors for vocational education
  • The organisation of an annual VET conference
  • Investment in a communications campaign
  • Provide employers with incentives to take on apprentices
  • The transferal of careers advice to schools

Learning for Work and Life

  • Train people in appropriate non-directly occupational skills which are vocationally based.
  • More emphasis on fostering creative business talent

Vocational Education in England

  • De-stigmatise the perception of VET
  • Private firms or groups of firms should be allowed to create their own qualifications
  • Introduction of regional sector skills councils
  • Funding of apprenticeships through SFA funds
  • Offering greater literacy and numeracy skills to help the unemployed
  • Improving facilities to remove private sector input in training

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Love thy Teammate: Using Sport to Bring People Together Download Paper

Freya RowlandOctober 2012

Prejudice and discrimination, inequalities of opportunity and social alienation are significant problems both within and without the sporting world. I suggest using sport as a tool to change the attitudes of people in the victimised groups as well as those who discriminate; and consequently to increase the opportunities for people from minority groups to participate in sport and in a more inclusive society.

Proposed policies are

  • In school, increase the quantity and diversity of school sports and promote diverse sports scholarships at universities.
  • In communities, introduce village sports days, draft minorities consultants on local projects, integrate specialised & regular sporting facilities, and subsidise outreach & regeneration projects by socially significant sports.
  • In the workplace, target coaching programs at minority groups.
  • In the media, introduce government-sponsored coverage of diverse sports.
  • Investing in big sporting championships is a way of advancing equality issues on a national and international stage.

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Sexuality and Discrimination in the United Kingdom Download Paper

Justin Kempley, Emma Brookes, Rebecca Hadgett, Ayaz Manjii & Nathan MerciecaApril 2012

A paper based on data kindly provided by our Partners at YouGov-Cambridge.

Reviewed at a seminar with Chris Bryant, MP for Rhondda and former Minister for Europe, and Symon Hill, Associate Director of Ekklesia Think Tank.

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Reform of the Legal Profession Download Paper

Samarth Patel, Christopher Howarth, John Kwan & Philip McdonaldFebruary 2012

This paper examines the English legal profession as it stands, as well as assessing the major proposals for reform. The paper also analyses recent changes to the legal profession and their potential impact, including the LSA 2007 and the role of ABS models.

The paper’s proposals include that the legal education system in England and Wales should have a common starting point for both barristers and solicitors, similar to the Hong Kong model; that a merger of the professional regulatory bodies would be unworkable in the short term; and that while the two professions of barrister and solicitor should not be merged forcibly, a gradual movement towards solicitor-advocacy should be encouraged.

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Childhood Obesity in the UK Download Paper

Alison AndrewApril 2012

This paper proposes a series of population interventions to improve children’s diet with the aim to both directly reduce the incidence of childhood obesity and to encourage the development of healthy eating behaviours in children. Proposals are split into three population levels at which they can be enacted – industry, schools and parents and carers.

At the industry level, the paper proposes a comprehensive system of Pigouvian taxation on foodstuffs, based on their nutritional content; the introduction of compulsory front-of-pack labelling using a joint GDA and traffic lights system; and the regulation of advertising of unhealthy foods directed at children on the internet or before 9pm on television. At the school level, this paper proposes the provision of free school lunches to all pupils, as well as strict policies on what can be included in packed lunches; Ofsted inspection of whether schools ensure their students eat one healthy meal per day; and the introduction compulsory cookery classes. Finally for parents and carers, this paper proposes providing materials and educational sessions to parents on how to provide a healthy diet and how to recognise when their child is overweight.

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TWS Annual Conference Policy Document 2012 – Introduction to Public Policy for Cyberspace Download Paper

Albert Beardow, Joseph Bell, Luke Fernandes, Tom Powell & Johnathan ZemlikJanuary 2012

TWS’s first Annual Conference, held in January 2012 on the theme of ‘Public Policy for Cyberspace’, was accompanied by our introduction to the policy debates surrounding this area.

The paper was written by our specially-formed subcommittee on cyberspace, chaired by Albert Beardow.

Please email policy@wilberforcesociety.co.uk for more information.

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Regulation and Reform of the Greyhound Racing Industry Download Paper

Justin KempleyNovember 2011

This paper sets out to evaluate the state of the greyhound racing industry in the United Kingdom, looking at regulatory structures and mechanisms, and incentives for racing and animal welfare. The paper argues for the closure of unregulated tracks, and for the industry to look into accessing funds from unclaimed winnings and dormant betting accounts to increasing support for animal welfare and effective self regulation.

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Tackling Homelessness Download Paper

Anna Stansbury & Akshay PhakeyDecember 2011

Tackling Homelessness proposes a set of 13 policies to reduce the number of people becoming homeless and to make it easier for the homeless to be re-housed. Proposals cover increased provision of services to the homeless, including an expansion of the government’s duty to provide emergency housing, the provision of specialist mobile health care clinics, and the provision of a PO Box and voicemail service to the homeless. Significant reforms to the way housing benefit is administered are also called for, to make it easier for the homeless to re-enter housing and to prevent new homelessness occuring. Finally, a set of policies are presented to increase available housing by maximising use of existing homes and by increasing the housing stock.

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Public Health Regarding Medical Treatments Download Paper

David BaynardNovember 2010

A proposal to improve efficacy, safety and cost-effectiveness of medical treatment in five ways: firstly, to publicly run all Phase III clinical trials, secondly to only approve drugs for treating a particular condition rather than for general sale, thirdly that NICE must consider a treatment cost-effective for each condition for it to be approved to treat that condition, fourthly to cap NHS drug prices at £20k/patient/QUALY, and finally to allow the NHS to produce combined medications. Updated in August 2011 in response to the impending move to value based pricing.

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Penal Reform for Alcohol and Drug Related Crime Download Paper

Albert BeardowDecember 2010

A call for a radical alteration of the legal penalties for alcohol and drug related crime, in addition to prison sentences for serious crimes and replacing prison sentences for non-serious crimes; the report proposes compulsory placement of offenders on a programme which tests daily for excessive drug and alcohol levels and imposes an immediate 24 hour prison sentence if offenders fail the test.

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Introducing Money-saving Policies in the NHS Download Paper

Ira KleineDecember 2009

A proposal to levy a £5 surgery fee for each GP appointment, on the German model, with exemptions for certain disadvantaged groups, and to levy a fine on patients who do not attend appointments at GP surgeries or hospital outpatient departments, to raise awareness of the cost of appointments, reduce non-attendance and discourage unnecessary GP visits.

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Increasing Government Support for ‘Temporary Urban Space’ Initiatives on Abandoned Brownfield Sites Download Paper

Roger ClarkeNovember 2009

A proposal for British cities to emulate Berlin’s success in regenerating abandoned areas, by funding cultural regeneration activities, by giving special incentives such as reduced tax rates to investments in the area, and by reducing regulation on the spontaneous creation of youth-culture areas including graffiti zones and skate parks.

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Stop the Lights Going Out: Maintaining a Reliable Power Supply in Britain Download Paper

Ben WattsNovember 2009

An assessment of the demand-side and supply-side measures that could be taken to improve the capacity and reliability of Britain’s energy network, proposing compulsory smart meters by 2014, the introduction of a carbon tax, the extension of the life of coal-burning plants until 2020 and consumer awareness campaigns on efficient energy use.

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Improving Britain’s Drinking Culture Download Paper

Tom DavenportOctober 2009

With the aims of creating a more civilised drinking culture and reviving the pub as a centre of community life, this proposes the reduction of the drinking age for beer and wine in pubs, restaurants and bars to 16, and that this consumption be subject to a very low rate of tax; while the purchase of alcohol, particularly spirits, from off-licences should be highly taxed with a legal minimum age of 18 rigidly enforced.

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Foreign Policy

Modelling Stability after Revolutions Download Paper

Dominic AitsOctober 2013

The most noteworthy aspect of the recent political revolutions in the Arab world is that there is nearly always a failure to suddenly superimpose a democratic style of government based on Western political constitutional foundations onto a set of domestic government institutions. Here, I argue that there is a need to consider the notion of a ‘learning equilibrium’ — to recognise that it takes time for institutions and socio-economic agents to adapt their expectations about the new state of governing such that a stable democratic political environment is generated. I conclude with a generic road-map detailing a general pathway for which this learning equilibrium can be attained.

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Engaging with China: towards an assertive relationship with the People’s Republic Download Paper

Patrick Hoffman, Alasdair Phillips-Robins & Raphael LemahieuNovember 2012

This paper argues for a radical shift in the UK’s policy towards the People’s Republic of China (PRC), aiming at a political relationship that transcends the motivation of economic opportunism. It sets out two proposals which present an alternative to the current policy of containment. Instead they promote a relationship of trust and constructive engagement on issues where progress has been lacking for too long.

The first proposal calls on the UK government to recommit itself to the democratic development of its former colony of Hong Kong and to establish a Hong Kong Affairs Liaison Committee as a platform for exchange on this issue. Within this low-key framework of dialogue, the UK should negotiate a quid pro quo which would see the Chinese government put forward a credible roadmap to democracy in Hong Kong along the lines of its 2007 commitment. In exchange, the United Kingdom would lead the European Union in lifting the 1989 arms embargo on the PRC.

Going beyond the issue of Hong Kong, the second proposal calls on the UK to lead an ambitious and creative international effort to resolve the ongoing dispute in the South China Sea by establishing three nature reserves around the disputed Spratly, Paracel and Pratas islands. A focus on conservation and the creation of a sustainable maritime management system will serve as a precedent of cooperation while effectively suspending the sovereignty dispute.

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A Marketing Approach to Risk Factor Management in the Prevention of Non-Communicable Diseases in the Developing World Download Paper

Architha Padma Srinivasan, Arrash Arya Yassaee, Alison Andrew, Zoe W Li, Ira Kleine, Roger Lightwood & Alex JackmanJune 2013

The burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) is often eclipsed by the overriding demands of handling communicable diseases in the developing world. Developing countries are faced with a double burden of disease as they begin to face an increasing encumbrance from NCDs during an earlier phase of economic development than their high-income counterparts. The solution is of course, in the timeworn policy: prevention. However, unlike communicable diseases, the risk factors for NCDs are often flared up by lifestyle choices and change must therefore come from within the people.

This paper recommends that in order to achieve maximum return on investment, governments must recognise that changes in lifestyle are best achieved through a marketing approach, where the environment is modified in ways that make healthier actions the easier choices. This marketing model has been analysed under the 4P framework of marketing, looking at a variety of existing interventions around the world, and thereby constructing novel and exciting policy recommendations.

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Proposed Constitutional Framework for the Republic of Tunisia Download Paper

Riddhi Dasgupta & George Bangham (eds.)September 2012

Twitter: #TWSTunisia

The Wilberforce Society is proud to announce the release of its largest project of 2012, a Comprehensive Proposed Constitutional Framework for the Republic of Tunisia, commissioned by the Tunisian National Constituent Assembly. The Report features a new constitutional framework for Tunisia, supported by in-depth research.

“An impressive Constitution.”
Constitutional Law Professor and Supreme Court advocate, Laurence Tribe of Harvard Law School, on TWS’s project.

Media coverage includes article at Tunisia Live.

Press release

Contact: Mr. George Bangham
Telephone: +44(0)7854 392060
Email: chairman@wilberforcesociety.co.uk

CAMBRIDGE, UK, 26/09/2012 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY CONSULTANTS AUTHOR PROPOSED TUNISIAN CONSTITUTION
Commissioned Think Tank is the Only U.K. Group to Draft a Comprehensive Anti-Corruption Constitution of Tunisia

The Wilberforce Society (TWS) is pleased to release the product of its largest commissioned project to date. Today, it publishes a comprehensive report, comprising a constitutional framework for Tunisia and in-depth supplementary research.

The report was commissioned by the Tunisian National Constituent Assembly and Office of the General Rapporteur in early 2011. The Wilberforce Society’s proposed Draft and analysis may now be viewed at .

TWS’s report has been produced by an able team of 26 experts and students, chosen after a rigorous selection process. The Project was led by Dr. Riddhi Dasgupta, TWS’s senior advisor and the chief draftsperson, and Mr. George Bangham, Chairman of the Society. They have received consultation and briefing from lawyers, economists, diplomats and political advisors in Tunisia and around the world.

Dr. Dasgupta and Mr. Bangham jointly issued a statement describing the report as “TWS’s most ambitious project to date, and a rare and fascinating opportunity for scholarship to combine with real-life political change in the aftermath of the Arab Spring”. During their fieldwork in Tunisia, and North Africa generally, the Project utilised influencer analysis, social media analysis, scenario planning, future analysis, and crowdsourcing from Tunisian academics, politicians, NGOs, and citizens.

This Constitutional Draft is set apart from other submissions in three respects. First, it takes a vigorous stance against public as well as private corruption. Second, in Article 18 proposes restrictions on the injection of corporate and foreign funding into Tunisian elections. Third, it promotes a very clear separation of powers and some of the Executive’s non-unilateral powers. The accompanying documents lay out in extensive detail the political and economic choices that confront the Tunisian people as well as the need to balance constitutional permanence and flexibility.

A TEDx event, with the new Constitutional Draft as its centerpiece, will be held in 2013. The event will broadly address the stimulating theme of The Failure Paradox. More information will be released soon.

About The Wilberforce Society
The Wilberforce Society, the first student-run think tank to be established in the UK, is the country’s leading student-run think tank. It has no political affiliation, incorporating the wide range of views of students at the University of Cambridge. TWS links students with policymakers around the UK and beyond, publishing work in the last year on topics as varied as homelessness in Cambridge and the UK National Security Council. Papers have received significant media and political attention. More information can be found on the TWS website, www.thewilberforcesociety.co.uk

###

Contact details
For more information on the Tunisia Project, and for general information on TWS or other media enquiries including interviews, please contact:

Mr. George Bangham, Chairman of TWS
(chairman@wilberforcesociety.co.uk)

Dr. Riddhi Dasgupta, Senior Advisor to the Constitution Project
(rdasgupta@cantab.net)

Mr. Millad Matin, Director for Press
(press@wilberforcesociety.co.uk)

Project history

For the proposed Constitution TWS took special care to consult with lawyers and political experts from Cambridge and around the world. With its members drawn from the very ablest of Cambridge University’s students, this project proved to be TWS’s most ambitious and exciting undertaking to date.

The research involved the drafting of a new constitutional framework, with the accompanying research divided into 5 key themes:

1. Separation of Powers

2. Judicial Independence and Judicial Review

3. Individual Rights and Responsibilities

4. Democracy and Fair Elections

5. Anti-Corruption Laws and Practices

An international consultation

TWS’s involvement in this project was supported by its extensive network of academics, diplomats, politicians and think-tanks, with whom it will share research and findings. It is hoped that the involvement of a student think-tank in the Tunisian Constitutional Framework will help provide new and unexpected insights into the drafting of a 21st-century constitution, and the students involved will aim to apply their academic interests and expertise to the project’s benefit.

Research in Tunis

Representatives of the TWS Panel spent summer 2012 carrying out political research in Tunis. Amongst many meetings with representatives of Tunisian politics and civil society, they consulted the President of the Constituent Assembly, Mr. Mustapha Ben Jafar, the Minister for Culture, Mr. Mehdi Mabrouk, and representatives from the major political parties (including Ennahda and Ettakatol) and the UGTT, Tunisia’s trade union syndicate. Meetings were also held with independent observers including Tunisia Live news, The Carter Center Tunis, and the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF).

The TWS Tunisia Constitution Panel submitted its report to the Tunisian Constituent Assembly on Wednesday 26th September 2012. For more information on the project, please contact the Project co-ordinators, Dr. Riddhi Dasgupta (rdasgupta@cantab.net) and George Bangham (chairman@wilberforcesociety.co.uk).

About Dr. Riddhi Dasgupta

Dr. Riddhi Sohan Dasgupta has recently completed a PhD in Expropriation in International Investment Regimes at the University of Cambridge. He studied for a first degree at Columbia University, New York, before completing his MSc at the University of Oxford. His Doctoral dissertation is to be published shortly as a book entitled “International Interplay: Future of Expropriation Across International Dispute Settlement.”

For more information please visit Dr. Dasgupta’s website.

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TWS Annual Conference Policy Document 2012 – Introduction to Public Policy for Cyberspace Download Paper

Albert Beardow, Joseph Bell, Luke Fernandes, Tom Powell & Johnathan ZemlikJanuary 2012

TWS’s first Annual Conference, held in January 2012 on the theme of ‘Public Policy for Cyberspace’, was accompanied by our introduction to the policy debates surrounding this area.

The paper was written by our specially-formed subcommittee on cyberspace, chaired by Albert Beardow.

Please email policy@wilberforcesociety.co.uk for more information.

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National Security and the Prime Minister Download Paper

George Bangham & Sarang ShahMarch 2012

A new paper by George Bangham and Sarang Shah, examining the UK’s National Security Council since its formation by David Cameron in 2010.

Locating the NSC’s formation in wider debates on the UK’s constitution, the executive authority of the Prime Minister within Cabinet government, and the role of military intelligence in policymaking, it proposes two major changes to the NSC’s role and its associated regulatory framework.

Firstly, it is proposed that the NSC be placed on a statutory footing as an amendment to current legislation in the Intelligence Services Act (1994). Defining the NSC’s existence and requiring its decision on certain executive powers such as the declaration of war would, in this paper’s estimation, act as a valuable constitutional check on Prime Ministerial power.

Secondly, a strengthened framework is proposed for the regulation of the NSC by Parliament, though the Intelligence & Security Committee. The case is made that, if national security in the 21st century may be defined as a public confidence that normal life may be conducted without personal or national danger, the public interest is served by more open scrutiny of high-level security policy, thereby increasing public confidence and accountability.

The authors are grateful for the help of Lord Wilson of Dinton, Professor Christopher Andrew, The Rt Hon. Jack Straw MP, and the members of the Wilberforce Society in their seminar.

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Responsibility to protect – or right to interfere? Download Paper

George BanghamMay 2011

This paper argues that the UK should state its intention to adopt the Right to Protect as its sole grounds for international intervention, in accordance with the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty’s report, The Responsibility to Protect by G. Evans & M. Sahnoun. This was discussed at a meeting with the counsel of George Grant, Director for Global Security & Terrorism at the Henry Jackson Society.

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Long-term Strategy for Facilitating a Regime Change in Iran Download Paper

Albert BeardowDecember 2009

A four-faceted proposal for Britain and the USA to facilitate a peaceful limited regime change in Iran through increased engagement with Iran and moderate Iranian politicians and clerics, working with Iran to tackle domestic Iranian terrorism, implementing focused sanctions while lifting general ones, and proposing a permanent US representative in Iran.

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Legal and Constitutional Policy

Engaging Young People in UK Politics Download Paper

Richard StockwellOctober 2012

This paper offers five recommendations to address young people’s lack of political engagement.

  • Firstly, the Government should set the voting age at 16. An argument for votes at 16 need not be made solely from a `rights’ perspective, since it would lead to a healthier and more representative democracy.
  • Secondly, the Electoral Commission should be mandated to launch a website giving parties and candidates the chance to provide information about elections at every level across the UK.
  • Thirdly, compulsory civic service, advocated by some as a means to improve young people’s engagement with society at large, should never be introduced, as it would prove counter-productive, not to mention utterly illiberal.
  • Fourthly, citizenship education should be taught as an independently named and timetabled subject to improve its clarity, with its messages more relevant alongside a voting age of 16.
  • Fifthly, schools should promote political debate outside the classroom, with the freedom to focus on live and local political issues.

Finally, while this paper focuses on the role of government and schools in engaging young people in politics, there is also an onus on young people to take advantage of the opportunities they have to make their opinions heard, as well as a duty for politicians to reach out to young people.

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Sexuality and Discrimination in the United Kingdom Download Paper

Justin Kempley, Emma Brookes, Rebecca Hadgett, Ayaz Manjii & Nathan MerciecaApril 2012

A paper based on data kindly provided by our Partners at YouGov-Cambridge.

Reviewed at a seminar with Chris Bryant, MP for Rhondda and former Minister for Europe, and Symon Hill, Associate Director of Ekklesia Think Tank.

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Reform of the Legal Profession Download Paper

Samarth Patel, Christopher Howarth, John Kwan & Philip McdonaldFebruary 2012

This paper examines the English legal profession as it stands, as well as assessing the major proposals for reform. The paper also analyses recent changes to the legal profession and their potential impact, including the LSA 2007 and the role of ABS models.

The paper’s proposals include that the legal education system in England and Wales should have a common starting point for both barristers and solicitors, similar to the Hong Kong model; that a merger of the professional regulatory bodies would be unworkable in the short term; and that while the two professions of barrister and solicitor should not be merged forcibly, a gradual movement towards solicitor-advocacy should be encouraged.

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A Bill of Rights for the UK Download Paper

John Kwan, James Abbott-Thompson, John Flesher, Becky Hadgett, Philip Macdonald, Samarth Patel & Joseph SandersonNovember 2011

TWS was invited to submit its views to the government’s independent Commission on a Bill of Rights’ public consultation. In response, a seven person committee was formed under John Kwan, TWS’s Head of Legal Policy, and worked to produce a substantial 50 page report. The paper proposes that a new Bill of Rights should recognize and legislate for new rights — to Internet access, to education and healthcare, and for victims of crime.

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A Parliament for England: The unfinished project of devolution in Britain Download Paper

Justin KempleyMay 2011

This proposal sets out to address the inequalities of the unfinished project of devolution in Britain. It advocates the creation of a devolved English Parliament, modelled on the Scottish Parliament. The paper was discussed with the counsel of Prof Andrew Gamble, Head of POLIS, Cambridge.

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Internet Access as a Fundamental Right Download Paper

John KwanMarch 2011

The UK should recognise a right to Internet access which reflects public opinion within the country and beyond. This will put the UK in a strong position in any future discussion on a European-wide or even international Convention on the recognition of such right, which seems inevitable.

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A Written Constitution for the United Kingdom Download Paper

John KwanFebruary 2010

A presentation of the case for the adoption of a UK written constitution, after society-wide consultation, to entrench fundamental human rights and to clarify constitutional arrangement regarding the roles of different branches of government and parliament, and to vest the power to interpret the constitution in the judiciary.

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Featured

Modelling Stability after Revolutions Download Paper

Dominic AitsOctober 2013

The most noteworthy aspect of the recent political revolutions in the Arab world is that there is nearly always a failure to suddenly superimpose a democratic style of government based on Western political constitutional foundations onto a set of domestic government institutions. Here, I argue that there is a need to consider the notion of a ‘learning equilibrium’ — to recognise that it takes time for institutions and socio-economic agents to adapt their expectations about the new state of governing such that a stable democratic political environment is generated. I conclude with a generic road-map detailing a general pathway for which this learning equilibrium can be attained.

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Students and Alcohol Download Paper

Claudia Long, Debayan Dasgupta, Gabriel Lambert, Helena Barman, Ingrid Hesselbo, Jonathon Hazell & Richard Stockwell (Ed.)July 2013

Written exclusively by students, this paper is uniquely placed to present a broad range of perspectives on issues surrounding young people and alcohol.

  • In the opening chapter, Claudia Leong argues that media presentation of a youth binge drinking culture is unfair and counterproductive: unfair in light of comparable levels of alcohol consumption among other generations and counterproductive in reinforcing negative stereotypes.
  • Debayan Dasgupta, the author of chapter two, targets his proposals for community level partnerships at the problems of underage drinking and cheap, superstrength alcohol, which are in his eyes the key factors in reducing antisocial behaviour surrounding alcohol misuse.
  • The provision of explicit, personalised information is the key proposal of the third chapter, by Gabriel Lambert. He sees potential in making the medical effects of alcohol consumption easier to conceptualise by linking alcohol intake directly to life expectancy. In addition, he makes a wider case for full disclosure of information by alcohol producers, which he hopes would lead people to reduce their consumption, obviating the need for punitive measures.
  • In chapter four, Helena Barman points to the success of graphic health warnings on cigarette packets in arguing for the adoption of a similar strategy for tackling alcohol misuse. Visually arresting images that target heavy drinkers would add shock value to a message, which could be communicated more effectively overall with the help of representative student bodies.
  • Ingrid Hesselbo adopts an anthropological perspective in chapter five. She emphasises the importance of separating the medical effects of alcohol from its cultural associations, and highlights the issue of personal responsibility for actions while intoxicated. She also advocates more liberal licensing laws in the long term, as part of normalising moderate alcohol consumption.
  • Finally, in chapter six Jonathon Hazell argues for further alcohol taxation over minimum pricing as a potentially more progressive system that would see the proceeds go to government rather than alcohol companies. In addition, he draws attention to the fact that, despite the government’s outward concern with phenomena such as preloading, young people are not disproportionately heavy drinkers compared with the general population.

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Engaging with China: towards an assertive relationship with the People’s Republic Download Paper

Patrick Hoffman, Alasdair Phillips-Robins & Raphael LemahieuNovember 2012

This paper argues for a radical shift in the UK’s policy towards the People’s Republic of China (PRC), aiming at a political relationship that transcends the motivation of economic opportunism. It sets out two proposals which present an alternative to the current policy of containment. Instead they promote a relationship of trust and constructive engagement on issues where progress has been lacking for too long.

The first proposal calls on the UK government to recommit itself to the democratic development of its former colony of Hong Kong and to establish a Hong Kong Affairs Liaison Committee as a platform for exchange on this issue. Within this low-key framework of dialogue, the UK should negotiate a quid pro quo which would see the Chinese government put forward a credible roadmap to democracy in Hong Kong along the lines of its 2007 commitment. In exchange, the United Kingdom would lead the European Union in lifting the 1989 arms embargo on the PRC.

Going beyond the issue of Hong Kong, the second proposal calls on the UK to lead an ambitious and creative international effort to resolve the ongoing dispute in the South China Sea by establishing three nature reserves around the disputed Spratly, Paracel and Pratas islands. A focus on conservation and the creation of a sustainable maritime management system will serve as a precedent of cooperation while effectively suspending the sovereignty dispute.

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A Marketing Approach to Risk Factor Management in the Prevention of Non-Communicable Diseases in the Developing World Download Paper

Architha Padma Srinivasan, Arrash Arya Yassaee, Alison Andrew, Zoe W Li, Ira Kleine, Roger Lightwood & Alex JackmanJune 2013

The burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) is often eclipsed by the overriding demands of handling communicable diseases in the developing world. Developing countries are faced with a double burden of disease as they begin to face an increasing encumbrance from NCDs during an earlier phase of economic development than their high-income counterparts. The solution is of course, in the timeworn policy: prevention. However, unlike communicable diseases, the risk factors for NCDs are often flared up by lifestyle choices and change must therefore come from within the people.

This paper recommends that in order to achieve maximum return on investment, governments must recognise that changes in lifestyle are best achieved through a marketing approach, where the environment is modified in ways that make healthier actions the easier choices. This marketing model has been analysed under the 4P framework of marketing, looking at a variety of existing interventions around the world, and thereby constructing novel and exciting policy recommendations.

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The Mutual Fund Industry Download Paper

Michael WalkerMay 2013

This report offers some suggestions directed at how quality of service can be improved in the mutual fund industry, how competition can be made more effective and thereby the results for customers as well as successful fund managers improved. It does this by firstly conducting a broad narrative analysis of the many issues which have affected the industry in the past and which still affect it. It then makes a series of policy recommendations setting out what each party involved can do to contribute to better overall outcomes.

How does this market work, and as importantly, in what ways is it not working as well as it could? What are the reasons for this? What is its history, and structure? To what extent is the power of consumer choice the driver of services delivered? Where this is lacking, what are the fundamental reasons for this? What is the effect, both good and bad, of current regulation? What is the range of business structures used and what is their history? Why is it important for fund managers to be able to trust their clients? What should investors look for in a fund manager’s description of themselves? How, and by whom, can consumer understanding of “what active management actually is” be best maintained?

These are some of the questions dealt with in this wide-ranging, narrative, non-technical and discursive report which also makes a series of policy recommendations in the following areas:

  • That open debate on the merits of different business structures is needed.
  • Why and how funds should improve the way they communicate with their investors, and the gains for all parties that can be made from doing so.
  • Why it is crucial for the consumer to understand the basic choice they must make between passive and active management, why current regulation actively confuses this choice, and how the regulatory approach should be modified.
  • What the consumer should look for when they choose an active fund.
  • What the regulator, state or otherwise, should and should not be doing to help.

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Public Health: an Integrated Perspective Download Paper

David NealJanuary 2013

The Health and Social Care Act 2012 comes into full force from April 2013. In many ways a controversial piece of legislation, it heralds considerable changes, not least to the governance and practice of Public Health. The changes are designed to enable the health and social care systems to adapt to the shift in the demographic profile of society and the changing prevalence of different types of disease. However, in the area of Public Health in particular, do these changes go far enough?

This paper briefly discusses some of the changes coming in and the challenges that we face as a society if we are to tackle the major limitations to our health. Regardless of the specific health issue in question, as our knowledge of health and disease grows, we are starting to understand in more detail the complex ways in which many factors can interact to contribute to our health. To tackle issues rooted in such complex interactions a combined effort is needed across areas of society which are currently distinct and, in many
cases, disconnected.

The major conceptual change that is still required to make a significant impact on health improvement in the future is to view the health of the public from an integrated perspective. Combining the knowledge and skills from a wide range of disciplines and sectors from central government right through to individual local communities will yield more progress than any one person, profession or sector working alone.

This paper therefore begins to outline some of the ways in which such an integrated perspective might be practically constructed and woven into society at all levels. It is by no means an exhaustive list of possibilities and indeed, the hope is that future thinking might follow the philosophy of the paper, adding to the practical suggestions for how this might be realised

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Engaging Young People in UK Politics Download Paper

Richard StockwellOctober 2012

This paper offers five recommendations to address young people’s lack of political engagement.

  • Firstly, the Government should set the voting age at 16. An argument for votes at 16 need not be made solely from a `rights’ perspective, since it would lead to a healthier and more representative democracy.
  • Secondly, the Electoral Commission should be mandated to launch a website giving parties and candidates the chance to provide information about elections at every level across the UK.
  • Thirdly, compulsory civic service, advocated by some as a means to improve young people’s engagement with society at large, should never be introduced, as it would prove counter-productive, not to mention utterly illiberal.
  • Fourthly, citizenship education should be taught as an independently named and timetabled subject to improve its clarity, with its messages more relevant alongside a voting age of 16.
  • Fifthly, schools should promote political debate outside the classroom, with the freedom to focus on live and local political issues.

Finally, while this paper focuses on the role of government and schools in engaging young people in politics, there is also an onus on young people to take advantage of the opportunities they have to make their opinions heard, as well as a duty for politicians to reach out to young people.

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Cambridge University, Leadership and the Politics of the Common Good Download Paper

Maurice GlasmanJanuary 2013

A copy of Lord Glasman’s keynote speech to The Wilberforce Society’s Annual Conference, Friday 18th January at the Cambridge Union Society.

More details may be found on the Conference website.

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What is the 21st Century University for? Download Paper

Cosmos Fung, Chris Watkins, Jenny Steinitz, Gregory Burke, Nick Wright, Daniel Rey & Ravi Prasad (Ed.)January 2013

A 2013 Conference Paper

This paper comprises of eight individual pieces of policy research which each aim to evaluate the purpose universities play in the society of today. It seeks to contribute to this contemporary debate by designing policy in a way that allows universities to achieve those purposes indefinitely.

Proposed policies are:

Degree content

  • A government-backed work-related learning accreditation for university undergraduate degrees
  • Give undergraduate students the opportunity to take a wider breadth of courses as part of a single degree
  • Integrate entrepreneurial elements into the curriculum

Research

  • Replacement of the HEFCE as the main funding body for university research by a body which assesses research and grants funds with increased flexibility
  • Boost private investment in research through government subsidy and backing

Improving opportunity

  • Exclude international students from net migration figures
  • Expand foundation pre-university courses
  • Affiliate state schools with independent schools
  • Compulsory University Admissions Coordinators in each secondary school
  • Wider use of interviews in the university application process
  • Redistribute financial provision for Master’s courses to £12,000 per capita
  • Provision of a low interest government loan for postgraduates
  • Application of a postgraduate tax

Increasing investment

  • Embrace privatisation
  • Use of the bond markets to secure funds
  • Increase endowment funds

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New Ideas for Higher Education Download Paper

Christie Rolley, Clare Williamson, Edd Bankes, Frances Brill, Megan McPherson, Patrick Kirkham, Patty Wyllie, Sarah Layzell Hardstaff, Sarah Stopforth, Sophie Luo, Megan D. Walberg, David Woo, Maria Jose Gomez Ruiz, Emma Ramsay, Susannah Clark & Freya Rowland (Ed.)January 2013

A 2013 Conference Paper

This compilation explores the idea that a new way of teaching and learning could replace the traditional on-campus, set-syllabus university model.

The focus of the first twelve reports is on e-learning. This body of research and analysis evaluates almost every aspect of e-learning, including (but not limited to):

  • An exploration of the application of online learning methods;
  • Implications of e-learning for access;
  • Implications for the national curriculum;
  • Whether current courses can be taught wholly online;
  • Potential financial models for MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses); and
  • How universities in Britain and abroad can approach e-learning.

The final two reports explore different alternative education models that, given a blank state, one might want to adopt. One considers self-set syllabi, something that could take off in conjunction with the rise of e-learning as it becomes more feasible for students to construct and tailor the content of their education. The other is a report authored by two ex-Cambridge students who now run Action Tutoring, a self-started social initiative seeking to provide free tuition to underprivileged children through working with volunteers. This special report ex- plores the theory and practice of applying a private tutoring model on a voluntary basis and the implications it has for our existing educational framework.

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Reconceptualising Post-16 Education in Britain Download Paper

James Atkins, Solomon Elliott, Sarah Jackson, Guy Edwards, Claudia Leong, Wesley Cox & Sean Keeley (Ed.)January 2013

A 2013 Conference Paper

This paper comprises of four pieces of policy research undertaken by members of The Wilberforce Society which each aim to explore ways of reconceptualising post-16 education and training in society today. It seeks to contribute to this vast debate by designing policy in a way that seeks to improve upon current provision and offer new alternative solutions to long standing problems with the education system in Britain.

Proposed policies are:

Examination Reform

  • External assessment at the end of Key Stage 4 should be limited to mathematics and English alone
  • Abolish equivalence of qualifications
  • The shortening and simplification of the National Curriculum
  • Universities should publish recommendations on appropriate qualifications
  • The introduction of a brand based system of quality assurance
  • Awarding bodies ought to publish details of who they have worked with or consulted
  • on their qualification syllabuses and examinations

  • Applications to university made once pupils have received their grades

Raising Perceptions of Vocational Training and Education

  • Maintain the momentum of transnational Vocational Training and Education pro- grammes
  • Ensuring central government follow through on their proposals for VET schemes
  • Offering VET schemes to prison offenders
  • A media campaign encouraging positive coverage of vocational education
  • The creation of youth ambassadors for vocational education
  • The organisation of an annual VET conference
  • Investment in a communications campaign
  • Provide employers with incentives to take on apprentices
  • The transferal of careers advice to schools

Learning for Work and Life

  • Train people in appropriate non-directly occupational skills which are vocationally based.
  • More emphasis on fostering creative business talent

Vocational Education in England

  • De-stigmatise the perception of VET
  • Private firms or groups of firms should be allowed to create their own qualifications
  • Introduction of regional sector skills councils
  • Funding of apprenticeships through SFA funds
  • Offering greater literacy and numeracy skills to help the unemployed
  • Improving facilities to remove private sector input in training

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Proposed Constitutional Framework for the Republic of Tunisia Download Paper

Riddhi Dasgupta & George Bangham (eds.)September 2012

Twitter: #TWSTunisia

The Wilberforce Society is proud to announce the release of its largest project of 2012, a Comprehensive Proposed Constitutional Framework for the Republic of Tunisia, commissioned by the Tunisian National Constituent Assembly. The Report features a new constitutional framework for Tunisia, supported by in-depth research.

“An impressive Constitution.”
Constitutional Law Professor and Supreme Court advocate, Laurence Tribe of Harvard Law School, on TWS’s project.

Media coverage includes article at Tunisia Live.

Press release

Contact: Mr. George Bangham
Telephone: +44(0)7854 392060
Email: chairman@wilberforcesociety.co.uk

CAMBRIDGE, UK, 26/09/2012 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY CONSULTANTS AUTHOR PROPOSED TUNISIAN CONSTITUTION
Commissioned Think Tank is the Only U.K. Group to Draft a Comprehensive Anti-Corruption Constitution of Tunisia

The Wilberforce Society (TWS) is pleased to release the product of its largest commissioned project to date. Today, it publishes a comprehensive report, comprising a constitutional framework for Tunisia and in-depth supplementary research.

The report was commissioned by the Tunisian National Constituent Assembly and Office of the General Rapporteur in early 2011. The Wilberforce Society’s proposed Draft and analysis may now be viewed at .

TWS’s report has been produced by an able team of 26 experts and students, chosen after a rigorous selection process. The Project was led by Dr. Riddhi Dasgupta, TWS’s senior advisor and the chief draftsperson, and Mr. George Bangham, Chairman of the Society. They have received consultation and briefing from lawyers, economists, diplomats and political advisors in Tunisia and around the world.

Dr. Dasgupta and Mr. Bangham jointly issued a statement describing the report as “TWS’s most ambitious project to date, and a rare and fascinating opportunity for scholarship to combine with real-life political change in the aftermath of the Arab Spring”. During their fieldwork in Tunisia, and North Africa generally, the Project utilised influencer analysis, social media analysis, scenario planning, future analysis, and crowdsourcing from Tunisian academics, politicians, NGOs, and citizens.

This Constitutional Draft is set apart from other submissions in three respects. First, it takes a vigorous stance against public as well as private corruption. Second, in Article 18 proposes restrictions on the injection of corporate and foreign funding into Tunisian elections. Third, it promotes a very clear separation of powers and some of the Executive’s non-unilateral powers. The accompanying documents lay out in extensive detail the political and economic choices that confront the Tunisian people as well as the need to balance constitutional permanence and flexibility.

A TEDx event, with the new Constitutional Draft as its centerpiece, will be held in 2013. The event will broadly address the stimulating theme of The Failure Paradox. More information will be released soon.

About The Wilberforce Society
The Wilberforce Society, the first student-run think tank to be established in the UK, is the country’s leading student-run think tank. It has no political affiliation, incorporating the wide range of views of students at the University of Cambridge. TWS links students with policymakers around the UK and beyond, publishing work in the last year on topics as varied as homelessness in Cambridge and the UK National Security Council. Papers have received significant media and political attention. More information can be found on the TWS website, www.thewilberforcesociety.co.uk

###

Contact details
For more information on the Tunisia Project, and for general information on TWS or other media enquiries including interviews, please contact:

Mr. George Bangham, Chairman of TWS
(chairman@wilberforcesociety.co.uk)

Dr. Riddhi Dasgupta, Senior Advisor to the Constitution Project
(rdasgupta@cantab.net)

Mr. Millad Matin, Director for Press
(press@wilberforcesociety.co.uk)

Project history

For the proposed Constitution TWS took special care to consult with lawyers and political experts from Cambridge and around the world. With its members drawn from the very ablest of Cambridge University’s students, this project proved to be TWS’s most ambitious and exciting undertaking to date.

The research involved the drafting of a new constitutional framework, with the accompanying research divided into 5 key themes:

1. Separation of Powers

2. Judicial Independence and Judicial Review

3. Individual Rights and Responsibilities

4. Democracy and Fair Elections

5. Anti-Corruption Laws and Practices

An international consultation

TWS’s involvement in this project was supported by its extensive network of academics, diplomats, politicians and think-tanks, with whom it will share research and findings. It is hoped that the involvement of a student think-tank in the Tunisian Constitutional Framework will help provide new and unexpected insights into the drafting of a 21st-century constitution, and the students involved will aim to apply their academic interests and expertise to the project’s benefit.

Research in Tunis

Representatives of the TWS Panel spent summer 2012 carrying out political research in Tunis. Amongst many meetings with representatives of Tunisian politics and civil society, they consulted the President of the Constituent Assembly, Mr. Mustapha Ben Jafar, the Minister for Culture, Mr. Mehdi Mabrouk, and representatives from the major political parties (including Ennahda and Ettakatol) and the UGTT, Tunisia’s trade union syndicate. Meetings were also held with independent observers including Tunisia Live news, The Carter Center Tunis, and the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF).

The TWS Tunisia Constitution Panel submitted its report to the Tunisian Constituent Assembly on Wednesday 26th September 2012. For more information on the project, please contact the Project co-ordinators, Dr. Riddhi Dasgupta (rdasgupta@cantab.net) and George Bangham (chairman@wilberforcesociety.co.uk).

About Dr. Riddhi Dasgupta

Dr. Riddhi Sohan Dasgupta has recently completed a PhD in Expropriation in International Investment Regimes at the University of Cambridge. He studied for a first degree at Columbia University, New York, before completing his MSc at the University of Oxford. His Doctoral dissertation is to be published shortly as a book entitled “International Interplay: Future of Expropriation Across International Dispute Settlement.”

For more information please visit Dr. Dasgupta’s website.

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Improving Britain’s Drinking Culture Download Paper

Tom DavenportOctober 2009

With the aims of creating a more civilised drinking culture and reviving the pub as a centre of community life, this proposes the reduction of the drinking age for beer and wine in pubs, restaurants and bars to 16, and that this consumption be subject to a very low rate of tax; while the purchase of alcohol, particularly spirits, from off-licences should be highly taxed with a legal minimum age of 18 rigidly enforced.

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General News

Cambridge University, Leadership and the Politics of the Common Good Download Paper

Maurice GlasmanJanuary 2013

A copy of Lord Glasman’s keynote speech to The Wilberforce Society’s Annual Conference, Friday 18th January at the Cambridge Union Society.

More details may be found on the Conference website.

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Special Reports

What is the 21st Century University for? Download Paper

Cosmos Fung, Chris Watkins, Jenny Steinitz, Gregory Burke, Nick Wright, Daniel Rey & Ravi Prasad (Ed.)January 2013

A 2013 Conference Paper

This paper comprises of eight individual pieces of policy research which each aim to evaluate the purpose universities play in the society of today. It seeks to contribute to this contemporary debate by designing policy in a way that allows universities to achieve those purposes indefinitely.

Proposed policies are:

Degree content

  • A government-backed work-related learning accreditation for university undergraduate degrees
  • Give undergraduate students the opportunity to take a wider breadth of courses as part of a single degree
  • Integrate entrepreneurial elements into the curriculum

Research

  • Replacement of the HEFCE as the main funding body for university research by a body which assesses research and grants funds with increased flexibility
  • Boost private investment in research through government subsidy and backing

Improving opportunity

  • Exclude international students from net migration figures
  • Expand foundation pre-university courses
  • Affiliate state schools with independent schools
  • Compulsory University Admissions Coordinators in each secondary school
  • Wider use of interviews in the university application process
  • Redistribute financial provision for Master’s courses to £12,000 per capita
  • Provision of a low interest government loan for postgraduates
  • Application of a postgraduate tax

Increasing investment

  • Embrace privatisation
  • Use of the bond markets to secure funds
  • Increase endowment funds

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New Ideas for Higher Education Download Paper

Christie Rolley, Clare Williamson, Edd Bankes, Frances Brill, Megan McPherson, Patrick Kirkham, Patty Wyllie, Sarah Layzell Hardstaff, Sarah Stopforth, Sophie Luo, Megan D. Walberg, David Woo, Maria Jose Gomez Ruiz, Emma Ramsay, Susannah Clark & Freya Rowland (Ed.)January 2013

A 2013 Conference Paper

This compilation explores the idea that a new way of teaching and learning could replace the traditional on-campus, set-syllabus university model.

The focus of the first twelve reports is on e-learning. This body of research and analysis evaluates almost every aspect of e-learning, including (but not limited to):

  • An exploration of the application of online learning methods;
  • Implications of e-learning for access;
  • Implications for the national curriculum;
  • Whether current courses can be taught wholly online;
  • Potential financial models for MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses); and
  • How universities in Britain and abroad can approach e-learning.

The final two reports explore different alternative education models that, given a blank state, one might want to adopt. One considers self-set syllabi, something that could take off in conjunction with the rise of e-learning as it becomes more feasible for students to construct and tailor the content of their education. The other is a report authored by two ex-Cambridge students who now run Action Tutoring, a self-started social initiative seeking to provide free tuition to underprivileged children through working with volunteers. This special report ex- plores the theory and practice of applying a private tutoring model on a voluntary basis and the implications it has for our existing educational framework.

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Reconceptualising Post-16 Education in Britain Download Paper

James Atkins, Solomon Elliott, Sarah Jackson, Guy Edwards, Claudia Leong, Wesley Cox & Sean Keeley (Ed.)January 2013

A 2013 Conference Paper

This paper comprises of four pieces of policy research undertaken by members of The Wilberforce Society which each aim to explore ways of reconceptualising post-16 education and training in society today. It seeks to contribute to this vast debate by designing policy in a way that seeks to improve upon current provision and offer new alternative solutions to long standing problems with the education system in Britain.

Proposed policies are:

Examination Reform

  • External assessment at the end of Key Stage 4 should be limited to mathematics and English alone
  • Abolish equivalence of qualifications
  • The shortening and simplification of the National Curriculum
  • Universities should publish recommendations on appropriate qualifications
  • The introduction of a brand based system of quality assurance
  • Awarding bodies ought to publish details of who they have worked with or consulted
  • on their qualification syllabuses and examinations

  • Applications to university made once pupils have received their grades

Raising Perceptions of Vocational Training and Education

  • Maintain the momentum of transnational Vocational Training and Education pro- grammes
  • Ensuring central government follow through on their proposals for VET schemes
  • Offering VET schemes to prison offenders
  • A media campaign encouraging positive coverage of vocational education
  • The creation of youth ambassadors for vocational education
  • The organisation of an annual VET conference
  • Investment in a communications campaign
  • Provide employers with incentives to take on apprentices
  • The transferal of careers advice to schools

Learning for Work and Life

  • Train people in appropriate non-directly occupational skills which are vocationally based.
  • More emphasis on fostering creative business talent

Vocational Education in England

  • De-stigmatise the perception of VET
  • Private firms or groups of firms should be allowed to create their own qualifications
  • Introduction of regional sector skills councils
  • Funding of apprenticeships through SFA funds
  • Offering greater literacy and numeracy skills to help the unemployed
  • Improving facilities to remove private sector input in training

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Proposed Constitutional Framework for the Republic of Tunisia Download Paper

Riddhi Dasgupta & George Bangham (eds.)September 2012

Twitter: #TWSTunisia

The Wilberforce Society is proud to announce the release of its largest project of 2012, a Comprehensive Proposed Constitutional Framework for the Republic of Tunisia, commissioned by the Tunisian National Constituent Assembly. The Report features a new constitutional framework for Tunisia, supported by in-depth research.

“An impressive Constitution.”
Constitutional Law Professor and Supreme Court advocate, Laurence Tribe of Harvard Law School, on TWS’s project.

Media coverage includes article at Tunisia Live.

Press release

Contact: Mr. George Bangham
Telephone: +44(0)7854 392060
Email: chairman@wilberforcesociety.co.uk

CAMBRIDGE, UK, 26/09/2012 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY CONSULTANTS AUTHOR PROPOSED TUNISIAN CONSTITUTION
Commissioned Think Tank is the Only U.K. Group to Draft a Comprehensive Anti-Corruption Constitution of Tunisia

The Wilberforce Society (TWS) is pleased to release the product of its largest commissioned project to date. Today, it publishes a comprehensive report, comprising a constitutional framework for Tunisia and in-depth supplementary research.

The report was commissioned by the Tunisian National Constituent Assembly and Office of the General Rapporteur in early 2011. The Wilberforce Society’s proposed Draft and analysis may now be viewed at .

TWS’s report has been produced by an able team of 26 experts and students, chosen after a rigorous selection process. The Project was led by Dr. Riddhi Dasgupta, TWS’s senior advisor and the chief draftsperson, and Mr. George Bangham, Chairman of the Society. They have received consultation and briefing from lawyers, economists, diplomats and political advisors in Tunisia and around the world.

Dr. Dasgupta and Mr. Bangham jointly issued a statement describing the report as “TWS’s most ambitious project to date, and a rare and fascinating opportunity for scholarship to combine with real-life political change in the aftermath of the Arab Spring”. During their fieldwork in Tunisia, and North Africa generally, the Project utilised influencer analysis, social media analysis, scenario planning, future analysis, and crowdsourcing from Tunisian academics, politicians, NGOs, and citizens.

This Constitutional Draft is set apart from other submissions in three respects. First, it takes a vigorous stance against public as well as private corruption. Second, in Article 18 proposes restrictions on the injection of corporate and foreign funding into Tunisian elections. Third, it promotes a very clear separation of powers and some of the Executive’s non-unilateral powers. The accompanying documents lay out in extensive detail the political and economic choices that confront the Tunisian people as well as the need to balance constitutional permanence and flexibility.

A TEDx event, with the new Constitutional Draft as its centerpiece, will be held in 2013. The event will broadly address the stimulating theme of The Failure Paradox. More information will be released soon.

About The Wilberforce Society
The Wilberforce Society, the first student-run think tank to be established in the UK, is the country’s leading student-run think tank. It has no political affiliation, incorporating the wide range of views of students at the University of Cambridge. TWS links students with policymakers around the UK and beyond, publishing work in the last year on topics as varied as homelessness in Cambridge and the UK National Security Council. Papers have received significant media and political attention. More information can be found on the TWS website, www.thewilberforcesociety.co.uk

###

Contact details
For more information on the Tunisia Project, and for general information on TWS or other media enquiries including interviews, please contact:

Mr. George Bangham, Chairman of TWS
(chairman@wilberforcesociety.co.uk)

Dr. Riddhi Dasgupta, Senior Advisor to the Constitution Project
(rdasgupta@cantab.net)

Mr. Millad Matin, Director for Press
(press@wilberforcesociety.co.uk)

Project history

For the proposed Constitution TWS took special care to consult with lawyers and political experts from Cambridge and around the world. With its members drawn from the very ablest of Cambridge University’s students, this project proved to be TWS’s most ambitious and exciting undertaking to date.

The research involved the drafting of a new constitutional framework, with the accompanying research divided into 5 key themes:

1. Separation of Powers

2. Judicial Independence and Judicial Review

3. Individual Rights and Responsibilities

4. Democracy and Fair Elections

5. Anti-Corruption Laws and Practices

An international consultation

TWS’s involvement in this project was supported by its extensive network of academics, diplomats, politicians and think-tanks, with whom it will share research and findings. It is hoped that the involvement of a student think-tank in the Tunisian Constitutional Framework will help provide new and unexpected insights into the drafting of a 21st-century constitution, and the students involved will aim to apply their academic interests and expertise to the project’s benefit.

Research in Tunis

Representatives of the TWS Panel spent summer 2012 carrying out political research in Tunis. Amongst many meetings with representatives of Tunisian politics and civil society, they consulted the President of the Constituent Assembly, Mr. Mustapha Ben Jafar, the Minister for Culture, Mr. Mehdi Mabrouk, and representatives from the major political parties (including Ennahda and Ettakatol) and the UGTT, Tunisia’s trade union syndicate. Meetings were also held with independent observers including Tunisia Live news, The Carter Center Tunis, and the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF).

The TWS Tunisia Constitution Panel submitted its report to the Tunisian Constituent Assembly on Wednesday 26th September 2012. For more information on the project, please contact the Project co-ordinators, Dr. Riddhi Dasgupta (rdasgupta@cantab.net) and George Bangham (chairman@wilberforcesociety.co.uk).

About Dr. Riddhi Dasgupta

Dr. Riddhi Sohan Dasgupta has recently completed a PhD in Expropriation in International Investment Regimes at the University of Cambridge. He studied for a first degree at Columbia University, New York, before completing his MSc at the University of Oxford. His Doctoral dissertation is to be published shortly as a book entitled “International Interplay: Future of Expropriation Across International Dispute Settlement.”

For more information please visit Dr. Dasgupta’s website.

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TWS Annual Conference Policy Document 2012 – Introduction to Public Policy for Cyberspace Download Paper

Albert Beardow, Joseph Bell, Luke Fernandes, Tom Powell & Johnathan ZemlikJanuary 2012

TWS’s first Annual Conference, held in January 2012 on the theme of ‘Public Policy for Cyberspace’, was accompanied by our introduction to the policy debates surrounding this area.

The paper was written by our specially-formed subcommittee on cyberspace, chaired by Albert Beardow.

Please email policy@wilberforcesociety.co.uk for more information.

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A Bill of Rights for the UK Download Paper

John Kwan, James Abbott-Thompson, John Flesher, Becky Hadgett, Philip Macdonald, Samarth Patel & Joseph SandersonNovember 2011

TWS was invited to submit its views to the government’s independent Commission on a Bill of Rights’ public consultation. In response, a seven person committee was formed under John Kwan, TWS’s Head of Legal Policy, and worked to produce a substantial 50 page report. The paper proposes that a new Bill of Rights should recognize and legislate for new rights — to Internet access, to education and healthcare, and for victims of crime.

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