I’m sick of it.
I’m sick of talking and thinking about it.
I’m sick of hearing about prescriptions for working life that treat only the symptoms, not the disease. Of cures, not prevention.
I’m sick of people being treated as assets, talent and capital.
I’m sick of a headlong rush to build a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world of work.
I’m sick of the term work/life integration.
I think better work is less work. Someone asked me this morning “So, do you think Mother Theresa should have worked less?” I answered yes, because I’d prefer to live in a world where we didn’t need Mother Theresa because more people had more time to be compassionate and caring towards those around them.
And so, as that conversation developed, I started to think about how we set about creating a world that allows for people to to do less so they can give more. About how we address some fundamental inequalities. So this is a bucket list manifesto. A list of things I think we could do. Some positive actions. Creating, not disrupting. It’s all uncosted. I’m no economist. I don’t do numbers. There’s plenty of people better qualified than I am. I’d challenge the numbers folk to find ways to make this stuff work. Still more might say I’m being naïve. That this will never work. To those people I’d say the same thing, why not try helping to figure out how to make it work. It’s better to create than it is to tear down.
I’ll probably add to this list but this is where I’ve got to so far:
Kids don’t start formal schooling until they’re seven.
State funded full time childcare for everyone is available until children start school.
Nutritious, healthy school meals are free for all, all of the time.
Maternity/paternity leave is fully funded by the state and for the same duration of 52 weeks for any parent of any type.
Children may be encouraged to take them, but exams will no longer be mandatory.
Schools must set aside at least two full days per month for the promotion of social values.
Everyone does one year of paid community service on leaving school.
The minimum wage shall be £15 per hour.
The starting salary for nurses, nursery nurses, teachers, police, ambulance and fire service front line staff shall be £60,000
The community policing ratio shall be no less than 100 per 10,000.
The NHS shall operate at a ratio of no less than one nurse for every four patients.
Every penny over £200M in profit made by any business shall be collected by HMRC for a central social fund.
Tuition fees will be scrapped for those studying vocational qualifications. Everyone else pays £10k.
MPs draw a salary of £80k and may not have any other business interests for as long as they serve.
Lobbying a public servant will be a civil offence.
Constituents may trigger a by-election if more than 50% vote in an online poll to remove the incumbent.
The universal retirement age shall be 50.
Everyone does two years of paid community service after retiring.
Everything the NHS does will be free excepting elective cosmetic surgery.
If you want to build a skyscraper you may do so but you will also be required to fund the building of a new school every time you do so.
Employers shall be forbidden from communicating with employees outside of their contracted working hours.
The working week shall be four days. Employees may choose which four days they work and how their contracted hours are spread across those four days.
Advertising will not be allowed on any electronic media before 9pm.
Every device must have a function that allows for advertising to be turned off and this function must be free.
Voting will be compulsory. All voting will be done online.
PMQs in its current format will be scrapped. It will be replaced by a weekly session in which the PM is held to account by members of the public.
MPs are not required at Westminster excepting for a monthly full session of Parliament. The remainder of the time they will work in their constituency and all voting will be done online.
If any public works are contracted out to a private business any profits made may not be realised unless all conditions of that contract are met. Until that time only operating costs will be paid.
Pay ratios may not exceed 25:1
The state will fund large scale long term rewilding programmes across the country.
Audit businesses will be forbidden from working with any client if they employ a single individual who previously worked for that client.
All tax loopholes will be closed.
If you wish to be a non-dom you may exercise that right but your citizenship will be revoked.
A subsidy will be levied on all national and multinational businesses and the proceeds used to support small local businesses operating in the community alongside them.
If developers buy land and building on it doesn’t start within 4 months they will forfeit the land.
Employees will be given two paid days off every month to take part in community projects.
No financial product may be sold unless it’s construction and the associated risks and benefits can be explained with laser-like precision in plain English on half a side of A4.
The public debt will be written off.