Someone want to help me start the Equality Party?
We all know, now, three years after the release of The Spirit Level, that inequality causes suffering in so many ways. We live it every day. We know things need to change.
Our parliament would like us to believe that we can choose our way out of this. That we can make 'informed choices' as 'empowered consumers'. But some of us know, and many more of us suspect, that this is a false choice. Reading Richard Murphy's recent book The Couragous State helped me understand this, and I recommend it unreservedly.
So how do we fix it?
I think the time is right for a new political party. And here are some things I think it should do:
- Rather than pushing the responsibility for education onto the individual, it should acknowledge the state's role to grow the workers of the future, in all fields and at all levels, on the public purse, for the good of us all.
- Rather than asking the markets to magically and inexplicably innovate for the good of mankind, it should acknowledge the state's responsibility to fund research and incubate good ideas into viable industries.
- Stop fiddling around the edges of the climate change challenge and work wholeheartedly for a zero-carbon energy solution.
- Require residency and full tax reporting and compliance for all companies wishing to do business in the UK. No pussy-footing, no fines – if they don't comply, they can't trade here.
- Acknowledge our role and history in the continuing humanitarian crisis across the developing world, and work with (not dictate to) them and their governments to make the world fairer and to help the human race move beyond collonialism and slavery.
- Make politics a vocation, not a job. If you are elected to central government, you can never hold another job or receive any other income from any source, ever, from the day you are elected. This would cost us in pensions for politicians who have lost their seats, but would effectively make it impossible to bribe those who are meant to be our servants.
- Acknowledge that a person's worth is not limited to their financial income. Some people cannot earn a wage. That doesn't make them worthless. As fellow human beings, we have a duty to support them.
- Support the NHS as a national, state-funded institution providing restorative and preventative care to all, free at the point of need. It is one of the best things this country has ever built. (If you truly believe that nationalised healthcare is a bad idea, I'm not really sure I want you in my species.)
- Make use of new technology (much of which has transitioned to a post-scarcity state) to improve democracy and political responsiveness.
Most of these ideas are not mine. I can't do this on my own, and if it was just me, then that would be proof that it was the wrong thing to do. I think this is a good set of ideas. A good starting point. What do you think?