This insightful and informative report makes an important contribution to our understanding of think tanks in Wales.
It might be argued that we are living at a time when there has never been more interest in politics – in how decisions made in Brussels, Westminster or the Senedd have a bearing on our everyday lives. Who would have thought, for instance, that the live-streaming service, BBC Parliament, would see the biggest ratings increase of any television channel in 2019?
We are seeing a heightened awareness within civil society of the inter-relationships between policy and wellbeing – whether, for example, this relates to fears about the potential economic and health consequences of leaving the European Union or the feelings of marginalisation that might be experienced by those who voted to ‘leave’ if we ‘remain’.
However, despite increasing awareness, current political debates appear to be fuelled by emotion rather than clarity of thought, by the demonization of the other side rather than a willingness to engage in dialogue.
In these febrile times, think tanks have an important part to play. They serve as crucibles for the generation of evidence-informed debate within civil society. They also provide a space for the dissemination and discussion of new ideas that seems to be lacking elsewhere.
Welsh-based think tanks are particularly important for Wales, whose interests are so often overlooked by the Westminster-dominated policy and media arenas. However, they face a number of challenges as well as opportunities, as this report demonstrates.
I would like to thank Victoria Winckler for this clear and scholarly account.
Professor Sally Power