Recently I have been trying to organise my thoughts about what, in an ideal world, the British state and society would look like. After all, it’s no good railing against things as they are without having a better alternative in mind.
I thought I’d share my notes online. It would be great to hear other opinions, especially about where and why I’m barking up the wrong tree. What am I missing? What have I got hopelessly wrong?
This is a work in progress and I hope to come back to it. I’ve tried to include links to sites which underlie some of my ideas.
You’ll note that this doesn’t get into areas like education, health etc. That’s deliberate. The aim here is to cover what in my view are the fundamentals, which need to be got right if we’re going to tackle everything else.
Here we go…
- Lower chamber of Parliament elected by proportional representation – probably multi-member STV like in Ireland.
- Abolish the House of Lords and replace with an upper chamber drawn by sortition and supported by an independent secretariat providing evidence and analysis.
- Citizens’ assemblies every ten years or so, again drawn by sortition, to review the working of the constitution.
- As part of the Lords’ being abolished, remove the Bishops’ role in Parliament and disestablish the Church of England.
- Make voting compulsory – but allow ‘active abstention’, i.e. add a ‘none of the above box’ and also continue to permit ballot spoiling as a form of protest.
- Ban large political donations and institute state funding of political parties. Perhaps give every voter a voucher for a donation which they can give to any party they like.
- Make political lobbying transparent by creating a register.
- Carry out a full audit of UK land ownership, so that it becomes public knowledge who owns every acre of the UK.
- Introduce a Land Value Tax. This should probably allow other taxes such as VAT, Income Tax and Corporation Tax to be dramatically reduced.
- Outlaw offshore ownership of land or property.
- Outlaw foreign ownership of broadcasters or newspapers.
- Institute a fuller requirement for papers and broadcasters to give equal prominence to retractions and correcting aggravated factual errors. If the original story was a front page splash, the correction must also be a front page splash.
- Reform Council Tax and carry out a full revaluation
- No tax relief on second homes.
- Dramatically increase Inheritance Tax.
- Reduce VAT.
- Reform money creation, taking it out of the hands of the commercial banks.