by Oliver Thomas
Ok, so I’ve lived in sunny old England for quite a while now. Where I am from is not important to this post, but it is a very English place, and has even more political problems.
I want to suggest a few things that might actually solve England’s economic and social issues, in the tradition of the internet list article, with less snappy images and hopefully more sensible, well spelt words.
1. Make all party manifesto pledges legally binding.
I have seen this appear in a few places and frankly, it’s genius. As long as the punishment that comes with breaking it is severe. Imprisonment for a year sounds good, with no special privileges (if anything politician prisoners should be kept under observation, their powers of persuasion are, after all, professional level.)
2.Deny politicians a salary.
This will cause cries of outrage and dismay no doubt, but indulge me a moment. What do we actually pay most politicians to do? Make decisions, for the sake of all of us. In business, if you make a decision that is actually good for the business, then and only then should you be rewarded. When you can reward yourself, or pay yourself BEFORE you have done anything good, well, you get a financial crisis abit like 2008. Or a political system like the current one in England. Additionally, the salary a politician receives is incentive to achieve the position, without thought to the purpose. A politician should be in power because they have won the hearts of the people and want to help the people. Not because of big money.
3.Legalise and regulate the cannabis industry.
I know I know, typical of a person born in the 1990’s, but again, think about it. Right now, across the UK, millions of jobs are waiting to spring into existence off the back of this industry. Unskilled and skilled labour, admin and so on ready to leap out of the shadows and start adding to the country’s coffers rather than taking away from them. Oh sure, most of the big growers and so on are ruthless profiteers….but that sounds alot like our banking system, right? Point is London had quite a good global reputation as a finance centre for a while. We legalise, regulate and TAX the cannabis industry, and we get into a market that is growing globally, as well as updating the image of England to other countries. In short, we look nicer, smarter and we get abit wealthier.
A counter argument that occured as I edited this, is that cannabis would be hard to tax because it grows so quickly. Well, no. We tax food. Alot of food can be found out in the hedgerows and fields of Britain, but people trust that bought from a shop because more people have worked on it.
4. Renewable Energy Investment.
Oh no, you groan, another stoner-hippy eco keyboard warrior. Well, no, actually. It’s quite simply, logical. Concerns about nice views aside for a moment, turbines could produce a sizable chunk of the power we need for our homes. Of course using renewable energy would not be easy, and it would require investment (hey, that means jobs!) in multiple technologies (which means even more jobs!) and R & D (you get the idea) but it does something much more important. It will change how England feels about itself. We can lead the charge on technology. Once, we were hailed as a nation of inventors. Now, we aren’t even hailed at all. We are mentioned, often as an afterthought. If we combine this with….
5. Sustainable living policies
Charging for carrier bags is a good idea. It’s awkward, but it helps. It is the kind of bitter medicine that works best. But this is the merest icicle on the tip of a large iceberg of problems in this regard. English public transport is a joke, and needs a serious overhaul. This means work which is good for the nation and it’s people. Fracking is also massively environmentally damaging, as is excessive sheep farming and bad, profit-hungry farming practices generally. For the sake of those to come, we cannot keep these things up.
6. Proportional Representation.
This is really fundamental to democracy. The current voting system is not democratic. I don’t even need to go into the topic of the current prime minister. In an un-democractic, farcical system such as ours, it is little wonder that so few of the young or the busy bother to vote. Anyone with an eye to see can tell the system is archaic. First past the post representation is sham democracy, and has seen the same two parties stay in power in Britain for far too long. Of course, all systems break, and in time others might improve on Proportional Representation, but for now it appears to be the simplest and most effective democratic system going.
None of the ideas in this list would benefit us right now. Shocker, some would say, silly, but this is about going forward, not remaining static. We can uphold a status quo for so long until it changes, violently, without our consent. Or we can embrace the change, command it and usher in a new and brighter future, for everyone. Not for you, or for me, but for those who will come after.
Right now the people in the street are trudging, because the battle for survival is hard and without incentive. Under polluted skies and over dead concrete and stone people struggle from one job to the next just to survive. Very few people seem to really live anymore in England. This might well be my inner poet talking, but I see this nation bleeding. I see her people weeping, and it breaks my heart. So pass these ideas around. Let some people hear them. Don’t keep to the shadows anymore if you have something good to say. Speak up and speak proud. We will be heard if we are loud.