The Wilberforce Society | Policy Papers
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Policy Papers

By Qu Tianlu, Chia Jeng Yang, Beatrice Chan, Chiu Chai Hao

In this paper, we will examine briefly the background of Islamic State and its manifestation over various social media platforms. We will study how IS capitalised on the advantages conferred by each type of platform to achieve its ends. Subsequently, we will look at social reactions against these activities over social media. Most importantly, we would like to highlight the lack of coordinated UK governmental presence with social media providers to address the problem of IS. This is largely attributed to a confused relationship between the government and social media companies, which will be explored. In the last but most important part of the paper, we will offer our recommendations for a possible framework in which governmental bodies and social media companies could cooperate with minimal compromise of privacy and security. Our strategy involves directly engaging IS over social media platforms to regain the attention of youths in the short-run, assisting social media companies in mining and analyzing big data from their databases, followed by utilising the data to identify and respond to potential recruits. We believe that this will not only completely take apart IS’ social media campaign but also construct a foundation over which the government and social media companies could work together against any future threats.

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It seems counterintuitive to argue that football is in crisis, considering the huge profits clubs around the world have been making. However, that is the premise that underpins this paper on football reform. Despite the vast economic benefits the beautiful game brings to our country, football has been shrouded in controversy, lurching
from allegations of institutional corruption to claims of racism levelled at former international captains. The solution lies in returning to the roots of the game, which made it the most popular pastime in the world.

The prison population currently stands at around 84,000. This constitutes a 100% increase on the 1993 prison population. During this time the rate of reoffending has remained stubbornly high, with about 50% of offenders  reoffending within a year of release from prison. The reoffending rate has remained consistent despite  a range of initiatives and policies aimed at tackling this problem.

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Whilst based in Cheltenham GCHQ evidently operates communications surveillance across both the UK and the wider world. The recent allegations of a GCHQ run listening post at Britain’s German Embassy would seem to support the suggestion that the organisation is involved in collecting data for defending Britain’s interests, in a wider sense than the “What we do” page of the GCHQ website implies, with its focus on the threats faced. Furthermore, it implies a physical geographical extension which is not apparent from the neat division of the services previously attested to.

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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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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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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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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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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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