2 June 2010

Organizing for Influence

The above-titled new Chatham House report on British foreign policy by Alex Evans, once an adviser to Hillary Benn, and David Stevens, is worth reading. It is full of sound reasoning and sensible suggestions, therefore it has the proverbial icicle's chance in hell of influencing policy. The core problem is contained in an early paragraph:
Influence starts with building shared awareness with other policy actors: developing the data, analysis, ideas and proposals capable of underpinning a new consensus, whether on financial institutions, resource scarcity or fragile states. This requires the UK to excel in the role of thought leader.
What the authors do not address is how a society whose educational system is in free-fall and which cannot even decide how it should be organized domestically can possibly aspire to being an international 'thought leader'.

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