Full disclosure: I'm an opinionated moderate conservative who
supports the Pirate Party, for the most part. We need to talk about the
economy; the system we've got isn't working and the politicians are
just going round in circles recycling old policies. I've got a better
I have a dream, a sweet, simple dream in which we can all live happily
ever after if we just stop being epic douchenozzles to one another and
implement my awesome plan for economic wellbeing. Okay, it's someone
else's plan. Okay, the tweaks aren't my idea either. Let's take a look
I think we can agree that working gives us dignity and
purpose. There aren't enough jobs to go around but there are a lot of
needs that are usually met by volunteering, which provides skills you
can use in the real world of work.
I think it's reasonable to introduce an earned
component to the
jobseeker's allowance, or whatever they call it now. The idea is that
you get a basic, barely-there flat rate to live on plus housing
benefit, free prescriptions, and full council tax rebate. If you
volunteer, you get a free bus pass and an extra tenner a week for every
four hours you do.
There would be no limit on the hours you could do
but you should apply for at least five jobs a week.
Volunteering for work experience is one thing but the point of
volunteering is that it's done in your own time.
We need a welfare state that works for the people and
is based on empirical evidence, not airy-fairy ideology. It must
actually meet people's needs.
We also need to improve state-funded education and build more
infrastructure. The NHS must be ring-fenced and protected from
privatisation. Even the most rabid right-winger will agree that a sick,
thick, underfed and stinking workforce won't perform as well as a
healthy, educated one.
Community regeneration projects should be created in
accordance with the needs, demands, and resources of the community and
the people should be closely consulted.
The results of doing it that way are amazing: the East Lancs Railway
has revived the towns it passes through and there is now a Ramsbottom
music festival. Local industry is thriving as farmers sell their
produce to bakeries, restaurants, and pubs and artisans set up shop in
the market places and on the high street.
None of that was achieved by giving managers huge salaries and cutting
workers' pay. In fact, capping CEO salaries at 15 times the lowest-paid
worker's salary so that, if the CEO gets a pay rise, so does everyone
else, ought to redress the income inequality we're experiencing at the
Raising the minimum wage to a living wage is the key
to success; as part of a profit-sharing scheme it would give workers a
share of the wealth they help to create. lt's only fair. Labour IS
Who would do the work if they weren't there to do it? Don't say "Indian
Outsourcing jobs has not resulted in a fairer, more
open market. Far from it. The jobs market has been flooded with cheap
labour from abroad, forcing wages down by creating an artificial
shortage of jobs.
As a result, tax revenues have dropped - or gone to India, depending on
your point of view. Their middle class is growing because they've got
the jobs we used to have. Businesses need customers, remember, and they
have them now.
Needless to say, IPR has got to be reformed now.
Innovation is being stifled by the prospect of being sued for
infringement of broad patents or copyright.
According to the Copyright Office, "speculative invoicing," or
"extortion: pay a settlement fee or I'll sue you" is perfectly legal.
It's also a growing industry. Please note; new ways of trolling for IPR
rents is not a form of innovation.
When businesses are
paying £5k or more a year to play recorded music, that affects their
bottom line. Besides, the record companies fleece the artists using
work-for-hire agreements. Do you still
think copyright is all about paying the artists and creators? Patents
on medicine are actually a disincentive to produce new ones;
the pharmaceutical companies prefer to milk the old ones, making small
changes and re-patenting them. It's a scam called evergreening. And
Oh, and we should end the war on drugs and mass surveillance. What a
waste of money and resources they are!
If you can think of a better system than this, let me know and we'll
discuss it. The idea is to promote a sense of personal and social
responsibility, take a pragmatic approach to policy-making based on
empirical evidence, and build from the community outwards, not from the
top down. Let the people decide what's best for them.