Robert Skidelsky
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Conferences

Russia under Putin –the Domestic Setting
Robert Skidelsky
Wiston House Weekend Conference | Friday, November 03, 2000

 
President Putin remains an enigma to the West. Yeltsin nominated him as his successor because of youth, ability, pragmatism, and strong character. His KGB background linked him to old Soviet elites; but youth would make him forward-looking. Yeltsin saw him as person best able to protect his legacy. But has turned out to be very different type of ruler, and much harder to fathom.
 
 
His agenda seems to be up for grabs. He has announced a competition of ideas and programmes. German Gref’s Centre for Strategic Studies is a clearing house for ideas from intellectuals and advisers. The Security Council, headed by Sergei Ivanov, has prepared a defence doctrine and a concept of national security. The President has appointed his seven

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Speech at Fringe Meeting, Conservative Party Conference
Robert Skidelsky
Hansard | Friday, October 20, 2000

 
 
The late Lord Beloff ended a speech he gave at St. Andrews University in 1995 by saying 'I would like to see some major British universities looking for endowments...to end their relationship with the state'. I am extremely glad our Party has now committed itself to an endowment policy, in revival of the ancient tradition wherby monarchs and churches gave universities the financial sinews of independence.
 
I don't propose, though, to follow Theresa May down this path today, but instead to devote my few minutes to doing something which may be unique at party conferences -which is to give an elementary lesson in economics. Not because I think that in economics we will find the whole clue to the riddle of higher education, but because I

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A Conservative Economic Policy
Robert Skidelsky
Wednesday, January 19, 2000

 
 
1. There is a basic philosophical divide between Conservatives and Labour, which has survived Labour’s transition to ‘new’ Labour. The Conservatives believe in lowering taxes when it is prudent to do so, and conducting the rest of their economic & social policy in such a way as to enable this to happen. ‘New’ Labour believe in increasing public spending when it is prudent to do so. This division has emerged again, only this week in the debate about how to finance the NHS: encourage private spending on health care versus increasing public spending.
 
2. We have yet to rediscover a way of making our approach a popular rallying cry. The call for more freedom and more choice starts to bite when bureaucratic interference and public sector

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‘The Future of the Welfare State; should we be forced to save more?’
Robert Skidelsky
Hansard | Monday, September 29, 1997

 
It's commonly assumed that the Welfare State stands in need of drastic reform. Our chairman, Frank Field, has been made reformer in chief: it is said he has been told to 'think the unthinkable'. Right now, we are waiting for his thoughts with bated breath.
 
 
But why this feeling that something needs to be done about the Welfare State, done urgently, done radically? I suggest there are four main reasons.
 
The first, off the top of the head, is that we cannot afford it. In any simple sense, that's not true. Of course we could afford to spend a bit more of the national income on health, education, pensions, social security and so on. The question is whether, as a community, we want to.
 
Here we come to the second reason. Some bits of

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