Centre for Policy Studies, London, Week 1

James Walker

My first week at the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) in London began at an incredible pace! After a day out exploring Westminster, Kensington Palace, HMS Belfast and Stamford Bridge Stadium I was thrust into a whirlwind of work on my first day. The CPS was in the process of frantically preparing for their Security2017 Conference which was to take place at the Guildhall on my second day of work. Speakers at this conference included significant figures such as Dr Henry Kissinger, His Royal Highness Prince Turki Al Faisal of Saudi Arabia and Sir Peter Westmacott.

Making everything is ready for the Security2017 Conference
On my first day at work, my tasks involved gathering information and reviewing the outputs of other think tanks in Westminster while, at the same time, answering phone calls and arranging speaker transportation. I took phone calls from contacts of the CPS, such as the BBC and the High Commission of Pakistan, while the staff of CPS worked tirelessly to organise arrangements. The highlight of the day for me was briefly meeting Lord Saatchi, who is also the Chairman of the CPS.
The next day I was involved in registration and Q/A duties during the event. The Q/A duties allowed me to stand in the guildhall and listen to the various speeches and discussions held on the topics of geopolitical topics in Europe and the Middle East, innovation and technology in security, and upholding western cultural values. A large variety of ideas, beliefs and perspectives were brought forward throughout the duration of the conference.
An interesting characteristic of the discussion regarding security challenges faced in Europe was the consistent clash of perspectives between speakers from western Europe such as Former Secretary-General of NATO, Lord Robertson, and Russia’s Presidential Commissioner for Entrepreneurs Rights’, Boris Titov. The name and actions of Russian President, Vladimir Putin, were often raised and it was fascinating to hear about the current as well as historic economic and political relationships between Russia and Western Europe. The CPS Security2017 conference was an enormous success and was the most tweeted topic by British MPs on that day.

Outside the CPS building
Over the next couple of days, I was able to settle into my research while still taking the odd phone call. I was required to send briefing documents analysing the Republic of Ireland’s fiscal consolidation programme and funding cuts to the United Kingdom Fire Service for my supervisor, Daniel Mahoney, who is head of Economic Research at the CPS. I am also excited to be writing a research report analysing the effects of Brexit on London’s property market in the coming weeks!

Aboard the HMS Belfast