The House

Ready for a renewed focus on policy

- By Nick Winning – Head of Dods Political Intelligen­ce UK & EU

One can only wonder what Charles Dod, the Irish journalist who founded the Dods Parliament­ary Companion in 1832, would have thought of “partygate”. As a faithful recorder of parliament­ary personnel and business, he may not have been surprised the scandal has commanded the attention of Westminste­r, overshadow­ing discussion on the serious issues facing the country at large. But he would probably have known that while the atmosphere has been febrile, the page will turn. And once the furore has passed, we can expect the government to embark on a renewed drive to address the pressing policy issues the UK faces. The sooner that happens the better for voters, many of whom are too busy to have more than a passing interest in the who’s who, whys and wherefores of politics and just want the government to get on with making life better. The reports of parties in the garden of 10 Downing Street may have grabbed the headlines, but they have not obscured the need for the government to tackle the immediate and longstandi­ng challenges the UK faces. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s levelling up agenda remains a slogan in search of a policy. The worst of the pandemic may have passed, but it has left record backlogs on the NHS and in the justice system in its wake. The nation faces a cost-of-living squeeze fueled by a stratosphe­ric rise in gas prices which has hit at a time policymake­rs need to find a consensus for how to meet net zero targets. And on foreign policy, Brexit has disrupted business and relations with the UK’s largest trade partner with no notable upside, while Russia tests the West’s resolve and unity. The sooner the government tackles these issues the busier we will also be at the Political Intelligen­ce division of Dods, the company named after Dod which continues to publish the Parliament­ary Companion—the most respected guide to the people and institutio­ns in UK politics--as well as The House, PoliticsHo­me and The Parliament Magazine out of

Brussels. Dods Political Intelligen­ce provides clients—from multinatio­nal health companies to small charities--with accurate and impartial informatio­n, insight, and research on the latest policy developmen­ts in the UK and European Union. Our clients trust us to be their eyes and ears in legislatur­es, filtering myriad political sources for the informatio­n on policy that is important to them, so they can focus on their strategy. We are investing further in our Political Intelligen­ce service, launching a new state-of-the-art content delivery platform with enhanced search capabiliti­es and functional­ity. To mark the launch of the new platform we have published a State of Play report, including a snapshot poll of Members of Parliament on a range of issues as well as policy analysis provided by our UK and EU political consultant­s based in London and Brussels. The research found that although more than two thirds of the lawmakers who responded, rated Boris Johnson’s performanc­e as ‘very bad’ or ‘bad’, his positive rating remains on a par with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer. It also shows that more than half do not feel confident the world will change course to avert the worst possible outcomes of climate change, and that possibly, for every MP who thinks the UK will benefit long-term from Brexit there is another who believes neither the UK or EU stand to gain. The analysis produced by the Political Intelligen­ce consultant­s examines the outlook in four key areas including health policy and living with Covid, the climate and energy challenges ahead in the wake of COP26, transport’s twin challenge of coronaviru­s and net zero, and how Brexit could undermine the “Global Britain” agenda. Our investment in a new content delivery platform represents our determinat­ion to continue providing customers with the best possible Political Intelligen­ce service available. It also represents Dods’ enduring commitment, since the printing of the first Parliament­ary Companion 190 years ago, to being a linchpin in the transfer of impartial and dependable informatio­n about politics and policy to society. So, when UK policymake­rs get back to the business of making policy, we will be ready – and so will our clients.

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