institute of economic affairs

Sat, 2015-01-24 00:01Brendan Montague
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This Is The Exact Moment An Oil and Tobacco Funded Think Tank Imported Climate Denial To Britain...

The DeSmog UK epic history series investigates how Thatcherite John Blundell challenged the young Roger Bate to set up an Environment Unit within free-market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs.

Future historians interested in establishing how Britain became a chief cheerleader of scepticism only 30 years after Thatcher led the world on climate change science and policy will have to begin on the morning of 1 January 1993.

It all began at the offices of the free-market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) in Lord North Street (pictured). Here, historians will discover that it was John Blundell, a diehard Thatcherite and the IEA’s new director general, who undid this part of Thatcher’s legacy.

Almost as soon as he arrived in Westminster to head up the IEA, Blundell called the young, erudite Roger Bate into his new office and “challenged” him to establish a new Environment Unit within the institute.

Wed, 2015-01-21 00:01Brendan Montague
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Britain's First Climate Denier Was Bag Carrier for Oil Baron Charles Koch

DeSmog UK’s epic history series continues with a peek into the intimate friendship between free-market libertarian John Blundell and the Koch brothers.

Without… Charles and David Koch… without their far-sighted commitment, we would not be here today and we would not be witnessing a world-wide move toward freedom and free markets,” John Blundell once wrote.

The free-market libertarian had just been recruited as the new director of the free-market Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA). Handing in his notice at the Institute for Humane Studies (IHS) – a hardline neoliberal think tank funded by oil billionaire Charles Koch – Blundell booked a flight to England.

Sat, 2015-01-17 00:01Brendan Montague
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That Time a Tobacco Tycoon Halved Funding to a Think Tank That Dared Fire His Chosen Boss

DeSmog UKs epic history series recounts the moment when John Blundell was recruited into Antony Fisher’s free-market think tank, the Institute of Economic Affairs.

The free-market libertarian John Blundell (pictured) was at home in Fairfax, Virginia, when late one afternoon he received a phone call from his old friend Mike Fisher, the younger son of Antony and a trustee of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), from London.

There had been a putsch at the free-market institute and the trustees were recruiting a new leader.

Wed, 2014-12-03 00:01Brendan Montague
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The Kochtopus Spreads its Tentacles To Strangle Climate Science

DeSmog UK tells the story of how the ideologically matched and politically inseparable Blundell and Dr Fred Singer became close and controversial allies, in our epic history series.

One evening John Blundell arrived at the Hickory Farm neighbourhood watch meeting in Virginia, and to his surprise discovered he was living close to Dr S Fred Singer, who he had met on the free market think tank circuit.

Singer was with his new wife Candice Crandall, who Blundell had met separately as a press officer at the Koch funded George Mason University (GMU).

Thu, 2014-11-27 00:01Brendan Montague
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Chick Lit Star Dana Is Living The Dream - Her Husband Is Every Climate and Cancer Campaigner’s Worst Nightmare

The beautiful and talented Dana Bate is living the American dream - her second populist chick-lit novel is currently arriving in bookstores across Britain and the United States.

But never judge a book by its cover. Behind her gleaming smile and professional friendliness hides a very American nightmare.

Dana is frantically publicising the latest in her oeuvre, A Second Bite At the Apple or The Stall of Second Chances, travelling across the US in December and a setting out on a “UK blog tour” which leads us right up to Christmas.

Wed, 2014-11-26 08:13Brendan Montague
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How Charles Koch Sent His Emissary to London to Launch Climate Denial

Climate denial was imported from the United States to Britain by a free market idealist employed by the billionaire oil baron Charles Koch. DeSmog UK tells their story for the first time in a two-part longread from our epic history series. 

John Blundell was an idealist. A curious, unassuming and softly spoken conservative. When a sixteen-year-old school student living in a three-storey semi-detached house in the affluent suburbs of Congleton, Cheshire, his father handed him an Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) pamphlet: “I was sitting up in bed, it was 1969 when I was trying to decide on A levels.

My dad was on the agricultural economy faculty at Manchester University and went to the library and brought home a pile of things to make sure I knew what I was doing,” Blundell told me just months before he passed away. “I was already leaning toward the market philosophy.”

Wed, 2014-11-12 06:26Kyla Mandel
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Sacked Environment Secretary Dodges Question on Whether he Will Challenge Conservative Party Leadership

Owen Paterson dodged questions last night on whether he’s organising a challenge to the Conservative Party leadership in the run-up to next May’s general election.

The sacked environment secretary simply answered “it’s a private dinner, you better ask the organisers,” as he left an event discussing the future of the free market economy.

Wed, 2014-11-12 01:10Brendan Montague
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Climate Denier Lord Lawson And The Art of Nest Feathering

Nine days after Lawson resigned protesters in East Berlin began tearing down the Berlin Wall, but a Lawson free from political restraints began forging his own doctrine in the newly available markets to the east, in his bid to remain in power and in the company of the world's industrial leaders.

Tue, 2014-11-04 23:14Brendan Montague
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Lawson's Break with Thatcher Over Her Free Market Zealotry

Lawson is almost always introduced as Thatcher's chancellor — but he was instrumental in her downfall. And once again, the tobacco- and oil-funded Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) and its radical free market ideology was at the heart of the debacle. 


Margaret Thatcher's chancellor Lord Nigel Lawson's last public engagement as chancellor was at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), where he was joined by Sir Geoffrey Howe: “It was a happy if piquant occasion,” Lawson would remember.

“Here were the two ministers who, of all Margaret's cabinet colleagues, had probably done most over the previous ten years to roll back the frontiers of socialism.”

Secretly, however, both Lawson and Geoffrey Howe were on the verge of breaking with Thatcher.

Fri, 2014-09-26 04:19Brendan Montague
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How Free Market Economics Was Smuggled into Britain - Alongside Factory Farming

The founder of the Institute of Economic Affairs argued free markets needed honesty. But his own financial success was based on smuggling - and the IEA was itself conceived with the help of a white lie.

Antony Fisher was determined to support Friedrich von Hayek's international campaign to transform the ideology of the age. But it took almost a decade, and a remarkable reversal of fortunes, for his ambitions to take form.

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