CapX is the pro-capitalist think-tank that houses the Screaming Heads And Professional Trolls who have been rejected by other pro-capitalist think-tanks.  (Analogously, there is an animalarium in Borth, Wales that houses zoo animals rejected by other zoos in the UK.)  CapX is a drab celebration of dampening capitalism and exclusivity, written by contributors who have not mastered a good balance between quantity and quality.  

In 2017 sarcastic troll Oliver Wiseman banged his head on his keypad several times and produced some nonsense about Labour’s then shadow chancellor John McDonnell.  In Wiseman on McDonnell the “writer” pretended to compare the actions of the then Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling during the Northern Rock Bank scam with actions that McDonnell might take in a similar but hypothetical scenario.  Obviously, the intent of the article was to cast doubt on McDonnell’s competence and responsibility because Wiseman fears McDonnell might not genuflect at the altar of banking decadence and theft.  Conversely, Wiseman praises Darling for stealing billions from the people of Britain to feed a reckless bank.  It is a formulaic article that re-writes history, conflates “the country” with financial gangsters and reeks of fear.

In The teachers strike is the wrong move, for the wrong reason, at the wrong time Mark Lehain, ‘Head of Education’ at Centre For Policy Studies (CPS), said striking is “the wrong move because it’s divisive when we need everyone to be pulling together because the whole country is facing inflationary pain.  Those with least are feeling it most – including many in the communities that schools serve.”  The “inflationary pain” is applied by price-gougers, some of whom are donors to libertarian think-tanks like CapX and CPS.  Lehain’s plea for “pulling together” accompanied by blaming teachers’ strike for exacerbating problems “in the communities that schools serve” was typical conservative blame-switching and division tactics.  He stated his unambiguous encouragement of division: “Industrial action will split staffrooms across the country, pitch heads against teachers, teachers against support staff, and schools against their communities.”

Lehain doubled-, tripled and quadrupled-down on his attachment of blame to teachers.  “Unions were amongst the loudest voices calling for closures and other Covid measures to be kept in place the longest, so they hold a lot of responsibility.  One might have hoped that they’d be reluctant to hold children’s education to ransom again, but it seems to still be their go-to response.” 

He followed his assault on the teachers with demands from media, public and pupils.

I don’t think reasonably well-paid people demanding more off the backs of the less well-off and their kids will go down well once the media spotlight turns on them.”
It undermines the ability of teachers to command respect from their pupils.  Can teachers credibly insist students do as they’re told when they’ve refused to do the things they’re paid to because of a dispute with the Government?”

Donors for CapX and CPS require low wages and poor working conditions and, thus, despise industrial action.  Lehain knows who pays his salary.

Alys Denby pretended to write Gareth Southgate is a metaphor for the state of the nation – but not the one you think about Gareth Southgate and the England men’s football team and how much she disapproved of their intelligence and humanity but mid-piece she switched to the standard conservative strategy of criticism of NHS with no reference whatsoever to its deliberate destruction by Tory government.  “NHS consistently does poorly in international comparisons on the measure that really matters – keeping people alive.  Civitas [another libertarian think-tank] has found we have among the lowest survival rates in the OECD for five common cancers.  If this was a football tournament we’d barely make it past the group stage.”  Civitas, CapX and CPS receive generous funding from privateer racketeer healthcare industry.  She added “doctors are holding patients to ransom by going on strike.”

It’s not unusual for right-wing think-tanks to join in culture war battles.  They declared the culture war and they supply politicians and columnists with ammunition and targets.  Tom Jones observed in The culture wars are turning into the conservatives’ Vietnam that Tories were fighting wrongly but he didn’t note that the war is entirely a creation of libertarian imagination.  He claimed “it is hard to think of a single [art-based] institution in Britain that has not pivoted towards progressive ideology of one kind or another.  Many were formerly politically neutral, but have now been weaponised to advance a particular ‘liberal’ agenda’.”  He lied.  He invented.  Always, art institutions are more likely to be progressive and challenging unless restricted or censored by government.  Jones’ point is he wants adherence to conservative ideology.  He said some conservatives “withdraw from public appointments” and cited the examples of Katherine Birbalsingh and Toby Young.  Rightly, their bigotry, offensiveness and unpleasantness led to their departures.  Good riddance.

Jones’ proposal, to ensure all public bodies including art institutions are in line with conservative policy and ideology, is to remove funding from those that aren’t.  “Any future Conservative government that is truly interested in wresting control of the public sphere back from progressives is going to have to fight where it matters.  That means challenging the political consensus that has allowed ‘artivism’ to prosper with government funds.”  It isn’t “government funds,” it’s public money.  Political control of arts and other cultural bodies is not compatible with democracy.

In Even with Corbyn cast out, Labour still has a long way to go on antisemitism Nicole Lampert said “I am not a hysterical person, but in the run up to [December 2019] general election I was frightened enough to have told my family that if Jeremy Corbyn became Prime Minister, I wasn’t sure whether Jews like us would be safe in our country.  Jeremy Corbyn made antisemitism mainstream for the first time in a major UK political party.”  She’s not an “hysterical person,” she’s a liar.

The examples above show that CapX’s style is not coherent analysis.  It is agenda-driven bloggy opining bereft of factual accuracy, logic and sense. 

CapX personnell: (l-r) Robert Colvile (editor-in-chief); Alys Denby (deputy editor); John Ashmore (editor)

Links to brief descriptions of other right-wing think-tanksUK think-tanks


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