Politics

The Politics pages were first added to the vinceunlimited.co.uk site, version 02.00 in May 2005.  Just imagine what could have been…  And thank your lucky stars…

Introduction

Translucent Politics – An Alternative System

“Political interest is drying up and my intention is to make it damp again.” Vince, 2005.

Well perhaps not with that particular sound-bite but you can see my intention.  Too many times I hear that people are disinterested in politics whilst claiming that they could do better themselves.  I share their sentiments but instead of spouting off without providing the proof I intend to offer an alternative.  A new set of rules to re-engage the voting electorate.  And what better time to launch this section of the site, just after the [2005] General Election and ready for four or five years of preparation before the next run.

Navigating

Select the issue you most want to get irate about by heading to the section that most intrigues you below.

Note that these paragraphs were originally in sections which used to be located in a menu on the left but many rightwing types refused point blank to consider anything on the left.  However, now you will need to scroll down to each section.

Clarifications

Although the style that these ideas and opinions are presented is in a light hearted way, designed so that the concepts are readable and entertaining there is a serious side to these issues and it would be good to see the best ideas making it into mainstream politics.  However the author is a mere amateur at this political business so cannot claim that this list is a comprehensive manifesto.  Exhausting to read perhaps, but certainly not exhaustive.

The System

Regovernmentalisation (Try that in your spell checker)

Currently we have a party based system of representation.  Although relatively simple to understand it does have its limitations and within this section I analyse the advantages and disadvantages then conclude that a major shake-up is necessary.

Old Party Order

One of the most frustrating things about being non-political yet expecting to make a difference is the modern lack of choice.  In essence this is a relatively good thing as historical choices provided a black or white choice between rampant socialism bordering on communism or policies so far right they needed a wide load sign.  Now we have centrist political parties so they all offer mild degrees of the same thing.  But nevertheless you still need to align yourself with one of the major players in order to make a real difference and that doesn’t suit everyone.

Have you ever read a party political manifesto.  No, I didn’t think so and neither have I.  However I watch enough Newsnight to know the differences between red, blue and orange politics and no colour answers all my needs.  Admittedly, one does not have to agree with everything a particular party says because if you find most of the things are acceptable then by becoming part of the team you can make a difference from within.  There is one big caveat though – The Whips.

Whipping Boys

For those not in the know essentially a whip is a party employed ex-debt collector who ‘encourages’ the party membership to vote for the party policies.  If you do not tow the line then you will be effectively ex-communicated.  And no one wants to serve on the Coventry seat.  So if you align with a party expect to preach all their policies no matter how foul.  There is an option.

Independence Day

Why not scrap the party system altogether?  There are some independent candidates out there, most may be familiar with Martin Bell, why not the full parliamentary 652 (or so), just as long as they don’t all wear crumpled white suits.  If every candidate at an election was an independent you could judge them on their qualifications or policies, which would almost certainly be closer to what your community needs.

The Independent Cabinet

One issue that may spring to mind is that by every candidate being independent there would be no natural Prime Minister.  The solution is a vote by all successful new MPs for the most suitable candidate for the job.  The same would apply to all other cabinet posts so in theory we could have an elected successful economist running our national budget as opposed to a shopkeeper.

Local Government

Local government should also be elected on a non-party basis in much the same way.  Although I suspect many of the candidates would be the ones who failed to become an MP.

Funding

There would be no party funding as there would be no pressure groups jostling the fat cats for policies to suit them.  So funding would have to be made centrally.  However a limit on the advertising expenditure would be needed to ensure that the richest candidates would not have an unfair advantage.  They would have to be celebrities to get this free publicity from the red rag tops that symbiotically live with these people.  Katie Price for PM, I’m sure.

The Term

All candidates would be allowed a maximum of three consecutive periods in power or six overall.  This would ensure a fair balance between having a good candidate and that candidate hogging the show.  The term should be a fixed five years and we should all have a day off to vote.  Not that it should be compulsory, if people do not think they can be bothered to have their say then that is fine by me.  That way all the votes would come from people who do care.  And whilst I’m on the subject I do not agree with the ‘none of the above candidates’ voting box or ‘undecided’.  This only poses a danger of a party calling themselves None Of The Above and getting elected.  I suggest that if you can’t decide then why bother me with your abject lackadaisical apathy.

Disadvantages

None. Let’s all do it.

The Economy

Taxing Problems

With a single mathematics ‘O’ level and no further education in economics it would be naive of me to assume I could find a better way of dealing with the economy.  Just remember though that Einstein failed his exams.  Read here to read more.

Limitations

As you have probably already read above, under the title ‘The System’ I have proposed a radical way in which important issues such as the economy of our country should be dealt with.  By appointing the most suitable Chancellor of the Exchequer I would be foolish to think I could do better, so I will not attempt to detail how I would keep our country’s taxes at bay.  However, even the most astute Chancellor would need to have some guidance on policy.

Taxation

This is not a new idea but it is radical.  I believe that revenue collection via general taxation on earnings is fundamentally flawed.  It would be a far better thing to shift that taxation burden onto expenditure, in other words from earnings based taxation to purchase tax.  In this way taxation becomes a choice.  If you don’t buy anything you don’t pay any tax.  Obviously there would need to be controls to prevent earning in this country and spending in another and our balance of payments would need to be carefully controlled but there is no reason why this system could not be made into a global issue.  Additionally, there may need to be some incentives to spend when the mood of the country is gloomy, such as when England loses at football.

Naturally there would be big benefits such as the shifting of offshore accounts back into our economy, incentives for individuals to work harder without unreasonable penalty and the general feeling of fairness.

However I would work on reducing the number of taxable areas.  Just adding another layer of purchase tax to all the myriad of other taxes would be unacceptable.  It is ludicrous, for example, that presently when you purchase a car a special car tax is added on before the application of VAT.  I would certainly not propose another layer.  There will be no tax on tax on tax!  If we can resolve the issue of purchase rather than income tax then the purchase system will be a single agreed percentile, perhaps varying for certain products.  Our clever Chancellor will have to decide the levels.

Spending

Again, because I am not familiar with the details of expenditure for each governmental department I cannot glibly quote figures and blind you with facts and figures.  In fact from where I’m sat in relation to you reading this I couldn’t blind you in any way at all.  Unless I suggested you increase the contrast to maximum and stare at the screen for three days.  But I wont, you’ll be pleased to learn.

However I am aware that the big areas of expenditure are defence and social security, both of which are drains on our economy that we would be better off without.  I will not attempt to resolve these complex issues here but release of just a small fraction of defence or social expenditure could release enough expenditure to almost double some other areas of need.  Well worth mulling over a pint or two with the newly redundant Brigadier.

Pensions

As we are an ageing population there has been recent discussion about the inadequacies of our future pension needs.  Current thinking is to raise the retirement age to accommodate the predicted shortfall.  Instead, why not add two or three years more pension contributions on at the beginning rather than the end by commencing schemes from an early age.  I would investigate national compulsory pension contributions from around age eighteen, after all it is this young generation that has true freedom of wealth.  They may bemoan the ability to pay but this is usually done whilst propped up in a bar spending ten times as much on temporary gratification.  I would explain that early adoption would ease later hardship.  And if anyone decides to opt out of this then I’d get them to sign a contract and waggle it under their nose when they deride the basic, non-means tested, inflation proof, limp set payout.

National Debt

I’m no fan of debt.  I do understand why we have a national debt but would personally work towards reducing this burden to nil, then become an effective creditor.  Just think of the interest we could then charge the French.

Law and Order

Criminal Writing

For some Law and Order would mean persecuting the motorist, criminalising the drug users and sentencing all menaces to civilised society.  When you check out Law and Order you will see that I argue it should mean the security of freedom.

Fair Sentencing

My first gripe with the current system we have is the apparent unfair sentencing we see time and time again.  One of the main problems is our system of letting convicted prisoners leave after just a low proportion of their sentences have been served.  Surely it is not beyond the realms of imagination to alter the structure so this doesn’t happen.  If the intention is that the inmate serves five years then do not sentence him to ten.  The reward for good behaviour should not be needed, people should understand that good behaviour is the norm so apply the sentence as five years and add time on for bad behaviour.  Perhaps a range of tariffs such as an extra day for instances of abusive language, another week for taking a cell-mates shepherds pie dinner, a month for placing a colleagues head in the head (to use a naval term) and another year for breaking the TV remote.  Maybe the last one needs some work but you get the picture.  Unless the remote is broken, that is.

Drugs

Whilst on the subject of prisons why is it so easy to access drugs inside (I’m told).  I thought these buildings were secure.  Keep illicit stuff out and the reprobates in – its a simple enough formula.  However my view on drugs is more liberal than most.  It’s not that I’m a user or even want to be, if I want to alter my mind I switch to BBC4.  No my interest here, like everyone else, is that of a potential victim of drug fuelled crime.  If drugs were not illegal crime would rocket – in a downward trend.  I think the few idiots who get caught up with addiction could be treated in the same way as any other disease, through the health service.  I support the Don’t Ban Them – Tax Them Campaign.  Or I would if there was such a campaign.  The only way I would limit drugs is where their use impinges on others.  And the biggest change would be in smoked drugs and I include the humble tobacco plant.  Smoking should be banned everywhere another person may be and that includes your car if you intend to sell it.  I even have the slogan – Be harsh on hash.  Well, maybe not.

Alcohol

Another treacherous drug is alcohol.  It pervades every aspect of our society, its spiritual home, the pub, is endemic and even features in all our main soap operas.  I’m not anti-drink but I despise loutish behaviour brought on by alcohol and wonder why is it so necessary?  Do these drunkards have so little in their lives that getting into a state where they can’t remember what they do is so fulfilling?  Beats me, but then I have a life.  And I have little respect for those that drink and drive, but not just those that do it to excess, they have an excuse of sorts – they are drunk.  My respect diminishes the moment anyone says “I only have one” – I assume they mean brain cell.

The Motorist

All of which brings me neatly onto the motorist and the law.  If you are a regular reader of pages from my web-site, or have just read through it all a few moments ago then you will probably know where I’m going to go with this.  And it won’t be under the speed limit.  So first off take down all the speed cameras and place them near schools, busy shopping areas and old people homes near roads.  Then destroy the other seventy percent of them.  Incidentally I’d also move these homes away from the roads.  Then re-assess all speed limits, this time using the advice of skilled drivers, not the cyclists and pensioners that form our local councils.  Add a dash of modern technology so that variable signs can be used for different times of the day, seasons and weather.  Then make advanced driving in association with the police compulsory.  This way the police can concentrate again on being the good guys, not a bunch of tax enforcers, a reputation they do not want themselves.

Boys in Blue

On the subject of the police lets put more back on our streets and give them the power to cusp an ear or two when needed.  It’s about time we all learnt respect and the place to start is with our law enforcers.  Followed very briefly by teachers, parents and last but not least our elders.  And to most of you reading this that means me.

Working System

Local Networking

Why do we spend a quarter of our working time just getting there.  This radical solution could end commuting and increase community spirit.  Without checking in this section you will never know what I mean.

The Nightmare

I am slightly biased here because currently I spend about thirty percent of my working day commuting and sometimes have to use a range of unpleasant forms of public transport.  I know this doesn’t apply to everyone but the more you commute the more you will appreciate my radical proposal for work.  I cannot claim it is a brand new idea but one that no-one seems to have the commitment to implement.  Until now.

Local Working

I propose that we scrap all unnecessary commuting by utilising a range of political incentives.  It is about time we started to use the technology that we have created to ease our working lives.  It is about time to work from home.  I know that some are already doing this but this should be the norm, not the exception and there are three basic things that we need to make this happen.

Basic Thing One – Trust

Much of my work over the last ten years could have been done at home.  The underlying reason behind this not happening is lack of trust.  Clients and employers are reluctant to trust an individual to work from home because of an irrational fear that instead the employee would be watching daytime television in their pants because lets face it, we do.  We need to get out of this cycle.  Employers should trust the worker and employees should not abuse the position.  After a while it will become the norm so this basic thing is a temporary problem.

Basic Thing Two – Facilities

This is where the key to the solution lies.  People working from home shouldn’t necessarily actually be doing it from their own house.  A network of village and town facilities should be constructed to allow workers to gather together, locally, to share resources such as administration, copying and paperclips.  This would ensure that everyone would network together and not die of boredom in front of the tele.  The current ‘national’ city offices would be transformed to serve as occasional meeting places.  An added bonus would be the national construction programme that this could generate.

Basic Thing Three – The Political Will

That is served by this page of this web-site.

Downside

The negatives may all really be positive in the long run.  Firstly, the reduction in tax revenue on ‘commuting fuel’ and other stealth taxes like the financial gain from speed cameras.  Then there would be the reduction in use of public transport services and finally Young Boris M’lad would have to raise the London congestion charge to about £5,000 per vehicle to make it economical to run.

Upside

By re-engaging community spirit and having more hours to work rather than be in the car or on the train we would all be able to complete our work within three or four days instead of five or six.  Isn’t that what we all expected computers to provide us with in the first place?

Exceptions

There will always be some exceptions to the rule.  Airline pilots will still need to commute to Heathrow, they will not be able to transform their front porch into a runway and make the in-flight bookings on their kitchen table.  Sportsmen will have to gather together unless we all want to watch Jensen Button take on Lewis Hamilton using a Playstation network link.  And the Changing Of The Guard is much more impressive all together in The Mall than simultaneously in Basingstoke, Oxford, Little Thrumpton and Portsmouth (or wherever the Guards live).

Vote For It

No, not supporting the IT Department.  Nailing the colour

Finally, after due consideration of the above you think I may be onto something, so check out below to see how you can show your support.

How To Register Support

Now you have read what my proposals are and my alternative way of doing things you may feel that I have a few good ideas.  If so then this bit is there to guide you on how to register your support for my policies and methods.  So far all I have done is launch the political section of my site, it isn’t yet fully rounded and needs more content before it is a complete manifesto of my ideas and this will happen in due course.  However you may still want to follow the options below.

Supporting Vince

When all is complete, and providing I have received the support I intend to run formally for office.  To help start this ball rolling I need some positive feedback.  Or negative, if you feel that I’m missing the mark.  When I consider that support is there I’ll advise where and when I’ll stand.  I’m not daft, I don’t want to lose a deposit.  So email your comments and we’ll see what happens.

Your Turn

You may have been encouraged by my ideas and want to run yourself using similar policies.  That is fine, the whole point of my system is that it is democratic.  Use and quote the ideas at will.  When Will is bored quote them to others and let me know how you get on.  I assure you that if you are a major political representative wanting to jump policy ships then discretion will be given – right up to the point of me shouting it from the rooftops.

Lobbying

If you want to lobby your own MP for any of my ideas pass on the details of this site to them and let me know what sort of response you get.

Final Thought

Finally, to finish on a point of interest I thought I would choose a colour for my party.  This isn’t strictly necessary as you will see from the System choosing my way means not aligning to one party, so it would be an amalgam of all political hues.  When considering light all colours together make white but this choice would signify cowardice so wouldn’t really represent the brave ideals.  I could chose to have no colour at all, which in light terms is black.  But black is too sinister and anyway shows all the fingerprints.  So I’ll use paint colour mixes instead.  Having no paint colour is transparent but advertising any logo in this colour would be useless in campaigns – people would just see straight through it!  So the colour, if there is to be one, should be a mix of all paint colours together and we must look to our childhood to see this in action.  My political system will be launched in ‘plasticine brown’.  Yecch.

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