This resumes ideas in the previous two articles for an eventual ‘renaissance’, a reformist agenda and positive thinking for the people of Britain as the nation regains its independence. Click for part one and part two.
In my view, the real debate is between, on the one hand, personal and national sovereignty and on the other, various forms of collectivised social engineering programmes enforcing political, social and cultural change. The last hundred years has seen the disastrous consequences of such attempts by political elites (taking over from the feudal ones) to bully the rest of society – and indeed the rest of the world. Enlightened nationalism had a short outing from around 1810 to 1850, was eroded and replaced by new empires of internationalism; communism, federalism, socialism and corporate globalism (in alliance with religions that often exert control). Such forces have always been associated in deliberate ways with this trend away from defending individual sovereignty and democracy – which should be the goal of good government.
What’s needed, as an antidote to all of this, is not the kind of myth or cult of the ego, the immortalised (Hollywood/Rock/TV/Obamaesque) ‘expert’ or ‘celebrity’, etc., (that we are all growing sick of having shoved at us from on high), ‘committees deciding what is best’ – all these tend to view the populace as stupid – but real democracy. A new kind of discourse – ideas that will attract votes and talk to people in a language that they have sadly now partly lost, yet strike a very deep chord within them that is both logical and humane – would not pander to doctrinaire and dogmatic ideology or follow secret plans but truly value the people in their contributions to society.
Every EU member and its citizens (as well as the rest of the world) is watching us and, if GB’s economy (already the most buoyant in Europe) expands and blossoms and makes overtures via business deals with local and international industries inside and outside the EU, the purpose and strategy of the EU itself will morph. So how should a free nation look after itself and encourage sovereignty?
The police have a crucial role; they should be visible and part of our communities. Shouldn’t they therefore be increased in size, with funding and salaries increased? Perhaps money saved on the BBC and the EU can be funnelled towards this. Many feel there should be more police presence with active participation by neighbourhood watch groups. By encouraging communities to keep an eye on their own members and having friendly de-briefings with the police on a regular community basis, as well as in person, and with schools where aspects of the law relating to crime and general standards of behaviour should be explained from primary school onwards, and using ex-prisoners etc. to talk on issues relating to drugs, theft and so on, the upcoming generations will feel more actively involved, as well as understanding their own responsibilities through discussion at home.
The police could be reorganised into different types, wearing distinct uniforms, (metropolitan, neighbourhood, countrywide, traffic etc). We know that respect for the police comes from their fairness and neighbourliness as defenders of the peace and not simply as law-enforcers.
Many feel that Britain should have a larger mobile army and, like any professional organisation, the armed forces have to demonstrate their adherence to values. These values include service and kindness, self-discipline, loyalty, truthfulness, honour and perseverance (brutality, senseless over-regimenting or punishment of course, do not belong anywhere in society).
The Armed Forces are rightly proud of their traditions and speaking personally, could reintroducing compulsory national service be a good idea, for six months at age 18?
For each 18-year-old to understand these and participate at a variety of levels – not only combat but social service too – would be good for all in valuing nationhood. (It may not be a vote-winner, however).
There is much hesitation over the role of the UK overseas – we should remain in NATO of course – and surely any diplomatic effort that prevents wars and conflict is to be encouraged.
Income tax, unemployment, pensions and the elderly:
A certain vote-winner is raising the zero tax rate. Any justifiable figure will attract them!
A top rate of 60% could perhaps be considered for very high incomes – probably the majority of people feel that the very rich can afford to pay more.
Could a benefits system providing a minimum unemployment benefit for all, for a period of six months, thereafter conditional upon evidence shown of attempts to find work in the six-month period, be feasible?
The homeless can surely be helped more for limited periods, setting up centres for the housing of the homeless on evidence of right of residence, delegating public work to these residents under funding from local authorities such as sweeping, maintenance of parks and care of animals and the elderly (under supervision and where there is no criminal record that would endanger anyone). After six months the residents would be expected to have found full-time work.
As the economy thrives, this kind of facility will be less needed.
The elderly should be respected and cared for with dignity. The cost I feel is a relative concern. Many certainly do not agree with the idea of population replacement because of an ageing population at all! – and more should be done to encourage people in the UK to have families, via reducing the basic tax threshold, extending maternity leave or encouraging fathers to be househusbands in the same way.
State pensions should ensure the minimum to allow the elderly to afford heating and food.
One possibility is building homes for retirement in concert with private companies to include a number of homes for the means-assessed in every newly-built development. Applications could be managed by the owner of the residential homes on the basis of government assisted funding provided and guidelines so that the owner may select freely in order to match the style and type of accommodation. With a stable population and strong economy, this becomes less necessary.
Reduce or even scrap the licence fee and cut back the BBC to just a few radio stations and one or two TV channels, making the licence fee only applicable to the BBC and making access to all other (ie commercial) channels free or via subscription (BBC journalists will find work elsewhere if they have the skills and their ideas are worth listening to!)
Is the BBC any more the voice of Britain – or just a mouthpiece for ‘political correctness’? The BBC’s charter arguably needs to be completely changed and should no longer have an educational function (inasmuch as it ‘portrays the culture of Britain to the rest of the world’ etc.) except perhaps for providing material that has been critically reviewed and can be challenged.
Part Four will wrap up with the issues of the economy, jobs and industry, the Bank of England, transport and public utilities, public/religious holidays, foreign affairs, and civic values and will be published tomorrow.