Torrin Wilkins

Founder and Director of Centre Think Tank

Torrin is the Founder and Director of Centre Think Tank. He has worked on a broad range of campaigns including the 2016 EU referendum and for the government to include more people in the income support schemes set up during the pandemic.

Interview with Torrin

This interview was originally recorded with Torrin Wilkins and Pushkin Defyer asking the questions.

I think my earliest memory was when Tony Blair stood down as Prime Minister but that is a very vague memory. My first proper political memory was the 2010 election including the first election debate. That was the first time I really engaged with politics.

During my time at Long Road I started to get more involved in national politics. I was interviewed on the radio talking about the new Metro Mayor for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. I also appeared on BBC Look East asking Chris Skidmore, Minister for the Constitution, about the new Mayor and whether it risked turnout issues similar to those seen during the Police and Crime Commissioner elections. I also made a speech about the US election in 2016 at the US embassy to the United States ambassador to the United Kingdom. Unsurprisingly I supported Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump.

When politicians speak about changing politics it's often hard to see what they want the UK to look like in the long term. I think in that sense the Nordic countries have systems we could learn from and they are a model we should, for most parts, copy.

I said this a lot during the EU referendum. Whilst we had MPs discussing what leaving the EU could look like, we had some very clear examples of countries outside the EU. In the end I think the UK should join EFTA like Norway and Iceland. Both during and after the referendum I took part in multiple in person debates, radio interviews and TV appearances all on the issue of Brexit.

It’s also a more general goal. These countries combine both strong welfare states with strong economies. This is something the UK should also aim for and we know it is possible as all of the Nordic countries have been able to achieve this balance to some degree.

Protecting the environment has always been something I have been passionate about. I grew up between Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire which is surrounded by nature. Around us we have plenty of nature reserves and wooded areas. From a young age I also enjoyed climbing mountains and I still do it. It showed me why we need to protect the environment and why every generation, especially mine, needs to take care of it.

Before I studied at Aberystwyth I supported devolution and the Welsh language. My experience at Aberystwyth taught me a lot about the importance of devolution and the history of Wales. It was also the place I started Centre working alongside other students at the University. We even filmed our first ever advert there and I’m not sure Centre would have happened without going here.

Work by Torrin

This paper focuses on think tank transpareny within the UK. It includes rankings of every think tank within the UK, some of the major issues with the lack of transparency in the current system and proposes solutions which increase transparency.

This paper outlines a roadmap for future devolution, including expanding devolution in nations and establishing new devolution deals in England.

I'm assuming if you’re reading this you have heard of Ikea, the global furniture company founded in Sweden. That or the music streaming service Spotify which also comes from Sweden. Sweden is also the home of Ericsson, Volvo, H&M and Securitas.

With gas bills going up our current system is failing. Families are being pushed into a situation where they have to choose between heating their homes or eating properly.

We have railway workers on strike over pay, terms and conditions changes, redundancies. The workers going on strike are those employed by Network Rail, a company owned by the Department of Transport, alongside London Underground workers who will also be going on strike.

During Brexit the UK government decided to leave the Erasmus+ scheme. Instead, the UK would start a new scheme called the Turing Scheme.

When Universal Credit was created it was in part to solve a large issue with the benefits system, the benefits trap. The benefits trap was the issue that sometimes earning more money at work could actually mean making less money overall.

My name is Lauren and I’m absolutely delighted to be the new Justice Spokesperson for Centre. I’ve long admired the work that has already been done, and I’m so excited to get started. 

As a 21-year-old owning my own home seems like an unreachable goal which I couldn’t be further away from. I’m not alone. Eight million people have some kind of housing need and the issue itself has been a political minefield for years.

A few months ago, I published an article on 1828 talking about how we can learn from the Japanese rail system. Whilst our railways are notorious for delays and overcrowding the only thing Japanese bullet trains are notorious for is punctuality and a flawless safety record.

The UK has three main types of property tax. The first is council tax which uses a series of bands to decide how much someone should pay.

Just over a month ago, I spoke in front of the Gaps in Support All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) about employees who could not access the furlough scheme. There are up to 800,000 people who so far haven’t been able to access the furlough scheme either because their employer didn’t want to add them or they couldn’t afford to add them.

In the UK possessing or supplying drugs is illegal and in theory this should stop people from getting hold of drugs to begin with. In reality this approach has failed with drug deaths per 100,000 people standing at 4.23.

The Nordic model is famous for three things; free markets, strong public services and high taxes. Free markets and strong public services are popular but the great public services come at the cost of higher taxes. There is, however, a choice between flat taxes or progressive taxation to raise money for these services.

Across Northern Ireland and in a few areas of England a system called academic selection is used. This means that schools will select who can go to there based on whether they are deemed as "academic" or not. In England this comes in the form of the 11+ test which is often taken at the age of 10 whilst in Northern Ireland they use a similar test called the Transfer Test which servers the same role.

Despite years of reducing the number of nuclear weapons' the UK has the government has changed course. After the Defence review by the government the cap on the number of nuclear weapons will now rise from 180 warheads to 260.

To find out the state of the centre ground today we worked with Millbank Think Tank on a poll to understand which words people associate with their political views. The paper also proposes ways the political centre can increase its support.

The following is a transcript of an interview between the Director of Centre Think Tank Torrin Wilkins and Ben Crewe who is the Deputy Director of the Prisons Research Centre at the Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge. This is the second paper in our series looking at the prison system within the UK and how we can learn from Norway.

Closing loopholes sets out a plan to close loopholes and reduce unfairness in the tax system.

This paper shows how the UK could implement a new scheme to support small businesses and workers whilst also filling skill shortages.

This paper shows why we should keep local justice areas and how removing them would impact the justice system.

This paper sets out the case for a public inquiry into those excluded from the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme and the Furlough Scheme.

This paper shows how the government could expand the furlough scheme to support more workers during the pandemic.

This paper provides solutions for those individuals excluded from the governments income support schemes.

This paper looks at how we can improve working from home with COVID-19 causing a shift away from in-person work.

This paper explores options for high speed rail within the UK including maglev, HS2/3 and hyperloop.

This paper explores a potential treatment for HIV and how similar drugs could be rolled out.

Our vision Working Together Our vision for how the government can support better public services and businesses. Our vision This plan sets

In this video Torrin and Jasneet try to say as many Centre policies as they can in just 30 seconds.

As COP26 a new agreement was passed and it will take real changes to ensure we meet our climate commitments. Thats why we have a plan which includes: investment in renewable energy sources, taxing pollution, allowing new nuclear energy if it uses up nuclear waste and rewilding areas of the UK.

Torrin speaks about what Centre is and its vision for how the UK can be. He also looks at how we can learn from the Nordic countries in the UK. The video was shot in Aberystwyth on constitution hill, the Aberystwyth beach and the Trefecha suspension bridge.

Connect with Torrin