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Happy Friday and welcome to the Onward Newsletter. 

Failing is hard. Failing in public is even harder. Millions watched as Elon Musk’s SpaceX Starship rocket exploded yesterday minutes after launch. Brits got a tough reminder of our own aerospace accident earlier this year when Virgin Orbit’s Cosmic Girl suffered an “anomaly” and couldn’t release its satellites. Given Musk’s public misstep came the same day as blue ticks disappeared across Twitter, there’ll be more than a few people questioning his judgement.

We need to get more comfortable with failure. Not the sort of long-term failures that gum up our planning system or constrain our productivity. But the short, sharp failures we experience as we take a risk in trying something new. The brief episodes where we learn what doesn’t work so we can focus on what does. The failures that are often inherent to the moonshots that Science Minister George Freeman described in a speech at Onward earlier this year. These are the moments that help us break through to new frontiers – and yes, sometimes they hurt.

Failure is bad. Stagnation is worse.

✍️ Research

Deputy Director Adam Hawksbee appeared before the Commons Education Select Committee this week, to give evidence to their inquiry on support for childcare and the early years following our report First Steps.

At the Committee, Adam made the case that while an injection of new investment is welcome, more needs to be done to support providers. He made suggestions on upskilling the childcare workforce, increasing choice for parents, and streamlining regulations for nurseries and childminders. The full transcript of the evidence session can be found here.

Click here to see Adam’s thoughts on proposal to relax staff ratios in childcare settings.

📰 Media Mentions 

The Sun referenced our Clacton Levelling Up In Practice Report in a piece on anti-social behaviour in the seaside town.

Deputy Director, Adam Hawksbee joined Matt Chorley for ‘Think Tank Thursdays’.

Our Future of Conservatism project is mentioned in the New Statesman.

Workington Man is mentioned in The Week.

Michael Gove MP’s speech to launch Onward’s Future of Conservatism project is referenced in a piece for ConservativeHome on Levelling Up.

🌐 Onward Online

Deputy Director Adam Hawksbee shares a clip from our first Future of Conservatism debate on Monday this week.

Tweeting live from Monday’s event, Gavin Rice shares a thread of the event. 

🗓️ Upcoming Events

Reclaiming the Realignment: Can Conservatives build a voting coalition for the future?

Despite some recent gains, the Conservatives remain 15 points behind in the polls. Some forecasts project a dire electoral outcome for the Government if recent voting intention were to be replicated at the next general election.

The Conservatives also face long-term demographic challenges. While the age of the average Tory voter continues to rise, younger voters no longer seem to be becoming Conservatives as they get older In 2019 the party won a convincing majority in the wake of Brexit, securing seats in traditional Labour heartlands outside the South East – those seats are now under threat. With a shaky Red Wall and “Blue Fade” in the South, how can Conservatives build a sustainable voting coalition for the future?

Sign up for the event here.

Event Graphics 2023 1 - Onward's Weekly Round Up - 21/04/2023

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