Saturday , November 27 2021
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Hello all!

Summary:
Never one to take the conventional option, I declined my place at a top university to embark upon a gap year. However, unlike many of my peers who take gap years, I am taking a break from formal education to do something more academically challenging. I have always loved debating controversial issues, taking stances which seem objectionable to my audience but convincing them of their merits. In the homogenous environment of school, the only way to do this was by presenting arguments with which I (and everybody else) fundamentally disagreed. Now however, I look forward to advocating for neoliberal policies and winning round a begrudging population. I believe this is needed in order to make significant progress in transforming the NHS and Social Care. Intensified through the pandemic, the

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Never one to take the conventional option, I declined my place at a top university to embark upon a gap year. However, unlike many of my peers who take gap years, I am taking a break from formal education to do something more academically challenging. 

I have always loved debating controversial issues, taking stances which seem objectionable to my audience but convincing them of their merits. In the homogenous environment of school, the only way to do this was by presenting arguments with which I (and everybody else) fundamentally disagreed. Now however, I look forward to advocating for neoliberal policies and winning round a begrudging population. I believe this is needed in order to make significant progress in transforming the NHS and Social Care. Intensified through the pandemic, the British public are intent on resisting any change to the NHS, making reform contentious despite economic merit.

Coming to politics (relatively) late, my interest is driven by academic curiosity, rather than dogmatic ideology, and I look forward to my opinions and beliefs continuing to be shaped and challenged throughout the year. My current particular interest is exploring immigration policy, and am looking into the Nationality and Borders Bill. After working within the system at a refugee support service I discovered how harsher policy towards asylum seekers often doesn’t deter entry but simply prevents people from becoming economically constructive.

With the Budget just around the corner, both in time and geography, I am excited to critique and challenge it. During the initial stages of the pandemic, I competed in the IEA National Budget Challenge, and Economics Horizons Competition, coming 2nd and 3rd respectively, giving me an insight into the process and trade offs required when creating the budget. It will now be interesting to examine a budget from Johnson’s Government that gives a more long term indication of the economic priorities of the Government, rather than simply short term crisis control.

As someone who brings the political conversation to every party or pub I go to and am frequently told that there is a time and place, I am looking forward to spending the year with people who, like me, believe that it is always the time and place.

Fiona Townsley is joining the Adam Smith Institute for the next academic year as a Research Associate

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