Hopi Sen, writing over at The Guardian:
When I worked for the Labour party I had a cordial disdain for thinktanks and their staff. While we humble servants of the party were out winning elections and helping MPs change the country (ahem), someone from an acronym or a misspelled Latin word was pontificating on TV about the best way to reform the relationship between citizen and state in the post-reality information age, or some such gubbins.
But! He's had a change of heart:
The best thinktanks, and the best people in them, take the job of developing policy incredibly seriously. Some, such as the King's Fund or the Institute for Fiscal Studies, are respected across all parties for their knowledge of individual fields, and our political system and the accountability of government would be far weaker without them.
I've even come to believe that most thinktankers are modest, thoughtful, slightly worthy, do-gooders who want to contribute ideas that might possibly make things a little better for people. Boring, I know.
Annoyingly, some of them are even good at it, and the reason they transfer in and out of ministerial offices is because the ideas and proposals they offer can be really useful.
That's quite a turnaround. Where do you stand on think tanks? Do you identify more with the former or the latter.