So, a few years ago, I started my own “Policies by Baz”, a short canter round some issues that I think would be good for the country. Now I am an Independent, what could those be now? Do they change? Actually, probably not very much. I was lucky enough to set the agenda for the majority of my own campaigns as well as organise Labour manifestos, so there are likely to be few surprises. However there are probably things that I hadn’t considered, or institutionally blind to. Therefore, I have put some ideas below, what do you think? What would you do differently? What would you change?
Fundamentally I think that all policies should be built on a set of values. That means you bring people together of the same heart, rather than just the same head. Whilst some politicians may see this as a career, it is peoples lives that we are working with. Fundamentally, we need to care, for ourselves and each other. But we should also be looking at:
- Human Rights
- No-one left behind
Competition and Public Ownership
There is a place for public ownership, and my view on this hasn’t changed. If a service can not meet my competition test, then they should be brought into public ownership.
Remove the middle tier of government and have combined authorities. The lowest level of government should be the town/parish or community council. In my heart , I think the lowest tier should not be political at all. But his may be difficult to achieve. The borough tier and country tier are often conflicting and there are more councillors than you can shake a stick at. Lets be clear, councillors are valuable, but you can have way too many of them. This move would save money and resources.
Universal Basic Income – UBI
This, combined with a complete shake up of welfare, and the tax system, would increase everyone’s standard of living. If everyone has UBI, then the tax free element of salary would lower.
Should People in Public service pay tax?
When you think about it, there is a slush fund of money that for those pwople in public sector get paid and immediately had a third of their tax back to the crown, who then give it back to them next month, and they then hand it straight back. This is generating work, and not being very effective. Therefore those people who are paid directly by national government (Forces, NHS, etc) should not pay income tax.
Politics and Compulsory voting
We take politics for granted and the majority of people do not vote. Voting should be compulsory but it should also be more accessible. IE voting should be in places that are accessible. Also, there should be voting online. Political education in schools is a must.
Change the voting system to an AV+ type system (Scottish/welsh versions) perhaps? I wasn’t a fan of that originally, but having been through the Police and Crime elections, I think transferable vote works, but I do think that anyone who wants to change it should probably win under the current method before doing so.
Build community hubs
Libraries themselves are used by fewer and fewer people, for two reasons, firstly the change in readership to e-books and secondly the ability to access knowledge on the internet (smart phones and computers). We are seeing libraries increasing used for computer access, a place for reading based activities (for children etc). We should be building and ensuring every community has a community hub, which as a minimum has a community meeting room, a library room, an IT room, a social club and an area to meet your elected representative.
A proper rent to buy scheme.
Social housing should be aimed properly at encouraging tenants to buy, if and when they can. However, this should be coupled with the demand that every house sold should be replaced by a new build house to go on stock.
NHS and Social Care
Rather than hiving off bits of the NHS, bring it all together. End to end service. This should be a priority, but I have written more on this here
Drive more vocational skills in schools, teach hands on skills. Practical life skills as well as academic stuff. What is education there for, to educate children so that they will be useful members of society. Make school exciting and inspirational. Make it coincide with the working day. Talk to industry about their needs. Raise the bar for university, make vocational equivalents. Also we need to push for through life learning.
What about you?
These are just a few of the ideas, areas we need to look at. I am looking at many things with new eyes, but my heart hast changed. However it is a fantastic time to look at everything openly and see at what opportunity we now have.
But what do you think – what does new politics look like to you???