Thursday, 24 October 2013

A response to Russell Brand who lit the touchpaper of revolution last night

What Russell Brand said on Newsnight last night has struck such a chord with people.  (as has his related piece in the New Statesman) So it made me wonder how we can make the change, make politics and politicians focus on the things that matter – people, humanity, the planet, and turn them from their increasingly venal practices. 

Those who are disenfranchised and disenchanted are from a vast political spectrum from UKIP to communism and everything in between and beyond.  There is no single new political party that could be formed that could deliver the revolution that’s required, the complete reworking of our dead in the water system.  So I offer up this alternative for our collective consideration.

We create a people’s manifesto for government.  We set a number of clear expectations of what we want from our government that they are duty bound to progress and achieve.  Call them rules, call them objectives, call them outputs, call them outcomes, call them goals, call them must haves, call them targets, call them no-brainers, call them whatever current Babel talk fits the bill, but make them the only imperatives, and the things that we measure government against.

I have hoiked these ten rules for politicians out of my head as starting points and they need
much debate and refinement, but I offer them, notwithstanding, as something to chew on. Cry against them as naive and socialist, but naivety may be what’s required here.

  1. Ensure that the most vulnerable in society and those teetering towards vulnerability are the first priority for support and guidance.  We are working towards being a place where vulnerability is minimised and opportunity is equalised.  This is a FIRST PRIORITY and the needs of other groups become irrelevant in the face of vulnerability. The others can stand up only too well for themselves.
  2. Delete choice from the menu: we do not want choice in education or health – we want the best possible health and education for all. Make our National Health Service and our Education system the best in the world.
  3. No-one should be homeless or be bringing up a family in a B&B.  Homes are needed for everyone.  This might mean that no-one has more than one home within the UK.
  4. Profits should not be made out of natural resources that the whole world needs.  Government should be running the utilities and transport systems with all profit ploughed back into those systems to make them the best they can be.
  5. Create a moral touchstone within political decision making.  If you can honestly say and prove wherever possible that the decisions you are making will improve the lot of society, then that is probably a good decision.  If you have whispering doubts, say so, discuss them and make better decisions.  There is no longer a party line, there is just government for the betterment of society (yes, it does exist).   This moral touchstone is critical in making decisions that impact on the environment.  You can not make decisions that will enrich the pockets of the few whilst ruining the lives of many, now or in the future.  We must hand over a planet that is healthier than it is currently to future generations – making things better, not worse is your mantra.
  6. Regarding the environment you must make decisions that are scientifically, not politically based.  Do not ignore the advice of world experts on climate change, Bovine TB, fracking (etc etc etc), unless you are able to show that their advice is based on inadequate evidence.  Do not be bullied by lobbyists – we are not interested that your future consultancy career depends on them, your political career depends on US.
  7. Whenever corporate bodies pit themselves against individuals, believe in the David and Goliath principle and do not be swayed by men in suits, not until they also abide by a people’s manifesto (and even then, be wary).
  8. Remove religious considerations absolutely from decision making – we ARE a secular society and no group should be able to discriminate against others on the basis of religious belief.  We are all equal.  No religious schooling (people can do that in after school hours if they wish), no right to say women can’t be bishops or that being gay means you can’t have absolute equal rights. 
  9. Stop using others as reasons for failures in society.  Single mothers, Moslems, immigrants, women, homosexuals, it goes on and blooming on.  Prejudice under the aegis of a honeyed rational voice is the lazy way to hide failures in other parts of the system.  Do not go down this route, it is a dead end and leads to horribly frightening consequences.
  10. Become a politician to make the world a better place.  Retire from politics knowing that you did make the world a better place.  You will have our thanks.
I'm tempted, in complete contrast to Brand, to make a rule for the rest of us... perhaps voting should be compulsory...