If the seagulls follow the Tory, it is because they expect thinktanks will be thrown in the water

Something else. This week saw the Tories deploy yet another inflatable thinktank – rightly mocked here, here, here, and essentially everywhere blog is sold.

Clearly “ResPublica” is hilariously vacuous, and where it’s not vacuous, it’s fucking frightening, as well as being weirdly reminiscent of Iranian revolutionary political thought according to Alistair Crooke. But it’s far from the worst instant thinktank to separate from the rocket, deploy its antenna, and commence transmitting this week.

I see that Norman Lamont has launched a “Foundation for Global Warming Policy” in the same week as the HadCRU smear campaign. Interestingly, it’s already being puffed by the “TaxPayers Alliance”. Looks like enemy action to me, sir.

Now I used to think that Daniel Davies was a little too concerned with chasing micro-thinktanks’ accounts up, rather as I used to think that Tim Ireland was perhaps too obsessed with fighting endless rows over netiquette with obscure Tories. But it’s become increasingly clear that the other side care deeply about Tim’s activities, especially when things like this happen.

Clearly, this has become a major form of political action – a new non-kinetic weapon. But how best to get rid of them, in the absence of funding for my TV show?

I think one of the first steps is to come up with a good word for it. “Astroturf” is good, but it’s very specific – it’s a fake grassroots campaign. The instant thinktanks are more of a fake elite campaign, a simulation or simulacrum of intellectual life. Snackthinktank, as in snackthinker? Too obscure. Doublethinktank is good, but worth saving for a headline. Don’tthinktank?

I’d also be interested to know if any of them have expired yet. What is their life expectancy?


  1. Tom

    When I met Paul Staines a few years back the first thing he asked me was ‘do you know Tim Ireland?’, which I didn’t at that point and wasn’t sure what he was bothered about. This was late 2006.

    I’m up for discrediting the whole concept of a thinktank as something a rich person sets up to justify his selfishness by the production of paperwork.

  2. Neil

    Puerile I know, but Wanktank? Sums them up well, for me.

  3. Matt McG

    Wanktank is, indeed, pretty good.




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