Bow Group

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Bow Group
The logo of the Bow Group bears white text on a blue dark square
Formation February 7, 1951; 63 years ago (1951-02-07)
Type Public policy think tank
Headquarters London
Official language English
Chairman Ben Harris-Quinney
Key people John Major, Geoffrey Howe, Michael Heseltine, Norman Lamont, Michael Howard, Peter Lilley, Kenneth Clarke, Daniel Hannan
Affiliations Conservative Party
Website www.bowgroup.org

Founded in 1951, The Bow Group is the oldest conservative think tank in the United Kingdom run by a group of volunteers. It holds no corporate view, and is thus open to all strands of conservative thought. Although often associated with the Conservative Party, the group is an independent organisation funded largely by members' subscriptions. The Bow Group exists to publish and promote the research and policy proposals of its members, through policy papers, policy briefs and larger collaborative projects. Its members are predominantly people in their 20s and 30s, and also include leading Conservative politicians. A major influence on Conservative party policy for many years, the group is again attracting notice as a source of fresh ideas on public services, welfare, the condition of inner cities and crime policy.

The group's journal, '''Crossbow''', published three times a year, and the group's programme of meetings during the parliamentary year also provide its members and guest speakers and writers with a forum for political debate.

Although a members' association, the group does accept outside donations, sponsorship and advertising.

History[edit]

The Bow Group was founded with the aim of providing an effective counter to socialism and the Fabian Society. Since then, it has flourished under chairmen such as Geoffrey Howe, Leon Brittan, Norman Lamont, Michael Howard, Peter Lilley and Sir Christopher Bland. Much of the group's thought can be categorised as supporting both a market economy and social responsibility. The reputation of the group was founded on the need for innovative thinking to address the pressing problems of the day. In keeping with this trend, it was The Bow Group which promoted the idea of a World Refugee Year in the late 1950s. In the 1960s the group attracted significant controversy in Conservative circles over its support for Kenyan independence. In the 1970s and early 1980s, the group was closely associated with the development of post-Keynesian economics and policy. The publication in 1973 of Peter Lilley's Alternative Manifesto marked the beginnings of the intellectual shift from the policies of the Heath government. The group was later in the vanguard of developing policy on privatisation and new enterprise zones, and promoting the extension of share ownership. The group continued to publish pamphlets on an enormously wide range of issues during the 1980s and 1990s.

In July 2012 the Bow Group, reflecting on 60 years of its history in British politics, appointed former British Prime Minister The Rt Hon Sir John Major KG CH as its President and Lords Howe, Howard, Lamont and Heseltine as its Senior Patrons to serve on the advisory board of the organisation.[1]

Their appointment was announced officially at the Bow Group's 60th Anniversary Summer Reception.[2]

Chairmen of the Bow Group[edit]

Years Chairman
1951–52 Bruce Griffiths
1952–53 James Lemkin (first time)
1953–54 Stone
1954–55 Williams
1955–56 Geoffrey Howe
1956–58[A] James Lemkin (second time)
1958–59 Russell Lewis
1959–60 David Hennessy (first time)
1960–61 Tom Hooson
1961–62 David Howell
1962–63 David Hennessy (second time)
1963–64 John MacGregor
1964–65 Leon Brittan
1965–66 Henry Bosch
1966–67 Julian Critchley
1967–68 Dr Reginald Watts
1968–69 Christopher Brocklebank-Fowler
1969–70 Christopher Bland
1970–71 Michael Howard
1971–72 Norman Lamont
1972–73 Peter Lloyd
1973–75[A] Peter Lilley
1975–76 Patricia Hodgson
1976–77 Clarke
1977–78 Michael Stern
1978–79 Douglas French
1979–80 Barber
1980–81 Richard Simmons
1981–82 Nirj Deva
1982–83 Colin Coulson-Thomas
1983–84 David Shaw
1984–85 Michael Lingens
1985–86 Nick Perry
1986–87 Nigel Waterson
1987–88 Cheryl Gillan
1988–89 Marie-Louise Rossi
1989–90 Ian Donaldson
1990–91 David Harvey
1991–92 Jerome Dexter-Smith
1992–93 Nick Hawkins
1993–94 David Campbell Bannerman
1994–95 Alexander Nicoll
1995–96 Nick Button
1996–97 Jeremy Bradshaw
1997–98 Nick Green
1998–99 Nick Edgar
1999–2000 Andrew Jones
2000–01 Guy Strafford
2001–02 Damian Hinds
2002–03 Jocelyn Ormond
2003–04 Giles Taylor
2004–05 Chris Philp
2005–06 Kwasi Kwarteng
2006–07 Sam Gyimah
2007–08 Chris Skidmore
2008–10[A] Annesley Abercorn
2010–11 Brian Cattell
2011– Ben Harris-Quinney
^A Two consecutive terms.

Recent contributions[edit]

In 2006 the Group published a paper called 'Keep It Simple',[3] which details the extent of maladministration in the UK tax system and gives some ideas for reform.

2010 saw the Bow Group publish an pamphlet on the future of UK rail transit, "The Right Track", authored by Tony Lodge and Lord Heseltine. The paper set out a proposed route for the UK's High Speed Rail Network (HS2) as an alternative to the then Labour Government's route. The paper was later to be the source of controversy in 2011 when though the Conservative-led Coalition Government did not implement the proposals set out in the paper, in October 2011 the Shadow Transport Minister adopted the "Bow Group Route"[4] as Labour Party Policy.

In 2011 current research secretary Richard Mabey produced a paper with Bernard Jenkin MP on the Alternative Vote system[5] "Death of the Conviction Voter - Fairness and Tactics under AV", which was often cited during the 2011 AV referendum debate and was seen as being an influential contribution to the thinking of the "NOtoAV" campaign.[6]

Also in 2011 Bow Group Chairman Ben Harris-Quinney co-authored a paper with Dr Charles Tannock MEP on "The Eurozone & Germany - understanding the German Mind". The paper argued for greater engagement and dialogue between the UK and the German populace, and the necessity for policy makers in the UK to better understand the economic and foreign policy motivations of Germany as the nation at the centre of the eurozone.[7] The paper was seen to advocate EU realism as an antidote to the increasingly controversial debate on EU membership within the UK Conservative Party.[8]

In March 2012, the Bow Group released a report opposing the Government's plans to trial badger culling in England, stating that the findings of Labour's major badger culling trials several years earlier were that culling does not work. The paper was authored by Graham Godwin-Pearson with a foreword by Dr Brian May and contributions by leading tuberculosis scientists, including Lord Krebs.[9][10][11]

In April 2012, at a Bow Group debate with Dr David Starkey, Shami Chakrabarti and Kwasi Kwarteng MP, Starkey described Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond as a "Caledonian Hitler".[12][13]

On 2 May 2012, the Bow Group published a short article supporting directly elected mayors in large English cities.[14]

In July 2012 the Bow Group released a report by Dr Liam Fox and Dr James Boys critical of the Coalition government's lack of progress to reform the UK National Security Council.[15]

The Bow Group published "A Fourth Way - Ideas for a New Conservative Manifesto"[16] to the 2012 Conservative Party Conference and "Party Shrugged - The Lost Conservative: How the Conservative Party lost its base and how it can win it back" to the 2013 Conservative Party Conference.

In May 2013, the Bow Group warned MPs of the dangers of privatising Royal Mail, including the potential for stamps to increase in price, the threat to rural Post Offices and the political danger to the Conservative Party.[17]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.bowgroup.org/people
  2. ^ "The Bow Group at 60". Bow Group. 2012. Retrieved 2012-07-19. 
  3. ^ "Keep it simple". Bow Publishing. 2006. Retrieved 2012-04-21. 
  4. ^ "Labour is now supporting original Conservative route for HS2". ConservativeHome. Nov 2011. Retrieved 2012-04-21. 
  5. ^ "Death of the Conviction Voter: Fairness and Tactics under AV". Bow Group. Apr 2011. Retrieved 2012-04-21. 
  6. ^ "Bow Group argues the AV will bring an end to conviction voting". ConservativeHome. Apr 2011. Retrieved 2012-04-21. 
  7. ^ "Charles Tannock MEP - The need for new thinking in the Conservative Party". ConservativeHome. Sep 2011. Retrieved 2012-04-21. 
  8. ^ "Whoever controls Germany controls Europe: why Britain must better understand the German mind". The Commentator. 19 Sep 2011. Retrieved 2012-04-21. 
  9. ^ "Bow Group urges the Government to Scrap Badger Cull plans". Bow Publishing. 25 Mar 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-28. 
  10. ^ "Badger Cull divides Tories". The Guardian. 26 Mar 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-28. 
  11. ^ "Now even Tories are calling for the badger cull to be scrapped". Western Morning News. 3 Apr 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-28. 
  12. ^ "Starkey compares Salmond to Hitler". Press Association. 20 Apr 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-28. 
  13. ^ "Anger after Historian compares Salmond to 'a Caledonian Hitler'". Daily Express. 20 Apr 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-28. 
  14. ^ Godwin-Pearson, Graham (2 May 2012). "Bow Group - Why England's cities should say 'Yes' to elected mayors". bowgroup.org. Retrieved 2012-05-03. 
  15. ^ http://www.bowgroup.org/policy/intelligence-design-uk-national-security-changing-world
  16. ^ http://www.bowgroup.org/magazine/crossbow-magazine-conference-2012
  17. ^ "'Poisonous' privatisation of Royal Mail will cost the Conservatives votes in 2015, Bow Group warns Tory MPs". Daily Telegraph. 13 May 2013. Retrieved 2014-05-12. 

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Copping, Robert, The Story of The Monday Club - The First Decade, Foreword by George Pole, Current Affairs Information Service, Ilford, Essex, April 1972, (P/B), p. 28.

External links[edit]