Policy Ideas

After my experience in UKIP, I’ve realised that there are huge issues with all the present political parties as none of them represent my views. So, over Xmas 2016 I sat down to work out all the policy areas which I would like to change (or at least spark a discussion about change) hence this list. This is not so much what I would do in office, as what a party I wanted to be part of would have discussed seriously – because as a sceptic I always believe that when considered in detail there could be fundamental issues I had not considered.

(In no particular order)

Citizens Jury to decide UK honours

This is simple. We do away with PMs giving honours to the biggest donor and we randomly select a panel as is supposed to happen for a jury and they sift through written proposals as to who is to get an honour and then invite those most likely to a oral interview. The process would be televised and there would be civil servants to help run the process and if necessary ask questions on behalf of the jury. The only deviation from a normal jury is that those on the panel would be paid for their time. A variant is to have several panels throughout the UK to help ensure we don’t get a London bias.

MPs/MSPs/etc. Salaries and conditions set by a Citizens Jury

As above, but this time they would hear submissions from MPs (and any other interested parties like the Taxpayers alliance) and the Citizens of the UK would set the pay of MPs (not as at present, a battle between self-interested MPs and do them down just for the sake of it press and media).

Upper Chamber appointed by a Citizens Jury

Again, a series of panels throughout the UK could hear proposals for appointments to the upper chamber. The panel would be selected each year and select candidates for that year. I also suggest they have the power to “fire” people as well, although any such decision would need to be agreed by the next jury.

Scottish upper chamber (appointed by a Citizens Jury)

As above, but a small revising chamber.

Scottish Land Reform

In Scotland far too much of the land is owned by far too few people. This is a result of historic injustice and has resulted in large areas being of little economic benefit, with few people living there. However, I am not in favour of simply removing land from people living today. Instead I propose that all current ownership of large tracts of land should be changed into a 100 year lease. Then we split down the land so that everyone in Scotland has a nominal parcel and hand everyone title to a small portion. Any adult with land will continue to be able to use the land as if it were theirs for their lifetime. So no one loses out. However, in 100 years the ownership pattern is dramatically different.

Basic Income

In the UK, anyone earning above ~£10,000 pays tax at 20%. As such they receive the same income as if they paid tax on all their income and were given £2000 . If you earn below £10,000 you enter a minefield whereby the more you earn, the less money you get. I propose to simplify this. Instead, lets get rid of all the complexity of welfare and just pay all adults £2500 (before tax) and tax everyone on all their income at 20%. Note this has no effect on those earning above £10,000 (except higher rate earners). And to a large extent the lost in benefits is offset by the “basic income”.

Note also, that there is no payment contingent on not working. Not working does not secure anything except no pay. So, no one is getting paid to not work. I’d also suggest private insurance schemes and special benefits for those disabled.

Decriminalise Marriage

I’ve been looking at marriage in very diverse societies and what comes over time and again is that marriage is marriage because it produces children. Indeed in some cultures you are not considered married until you have your first child. So trying to redefine marriage to include homosexuals will not work in the long term because society will always see the relationship of a man and women as special irrespective of what the PC nutters try to enforce through the law. However, whilst we have “equality” law it is inevitable that it will soon include polygamous marriages and marriages between related people, now called incestuous – but for “equality” reasons we won’t be able to call it that in the future. (Note marriage was also equal as homosexuals were not prevented from begetting children – otherwise the trait would have died out long ago).

There are in fact three aspects of marriage:

  1. Laws relating to a partnership of two adults (which need not be different sex)
  2. Laws relating to children born from the partnership (which is only heterosexual)
  3. Social “condoning” of sex within a relationship – which is no concern of the law
  4. And not part of marriage – adoption of children.

And the whole argument about “equality” has nothing at all to do with the legal aspects of marriage. Instead, it relates to the social “condoning ” of sex which is something I don’t think the law should be involved in. To put it frankly homosexuals want parliament to condone their sexual activities in the way they misguidedly assume parliament condones heterosexual sex activity. Why is it parliaments role to condone sex between consenting adults?

Proposal

First, laws will be set up relating to adults who wish to have “shared lives”. Anyone will be able to enter into such an agreement and if they do will have similar powers as given to spouses. So, e.g. one could agree to medical treatment. Public agencies would be under an obligation to inform them if they were held in custody, died, etc. And there would be automatic inheritance (but not necessarily any special tax arrangements – but it may be deferred until after the second spouse dies).

Second there would be laws related to relationships between men and women which are likely to produce children. (aka marriage). This will involve parental powers, inheritance and rules outlining the roles and responsibility of step-parents.

Third the part of “marriage” which is just a group of people agreeing “these two want to live together and have sex” … should be no concern of the law. Instead, I suggest that the law proscribes a method for external groups to set up their own marriage systems as an agency. So, a church or even a humanist group, could set up its own “marriage” system. And if they don’t want to marry homosexuals – or vica versa only want to marry homosexuals – it’s up to them and not the law.

So, except for the age of those who can be married, there would be no bars on who gets married to who. The various organisations can set their own rules … they can e.g. require people to be Roman Catholic, to have gone through a pre-marriage course. The only definite requirement is that there must be a means to end the “marriage” and there must be a public record. However, part of the “social marriage” ceremony would involve signing a legal contract. Men and women would sign under partners and parents. Same sex just as partners. So “marriage” would be broken down into its various parts, legal, moral, child-bearing.

Upgraded Scottish Roads

There are a number of roads in Scotland that need to be upgraded some like the M8 & M74 need to be three lanes because they are busy others like the A9 need dualling because they are long distance and it makes a huge difference to time and safety if they are easy to use as speed.

For a wider suggested network see: Proposed Scottish Motorway System

Increased Speed limits where time wasted is excessive

When considering speed limit, there should be a statutory duty to consider the increased wasted (waking) time by slower speed limits. What I mean by this is, that if a stretch of road has one fatality every human lifetime and on average it has one cars on it on average throughout the “waking hours”, then the cost in terms of human lives lost is equal to that of human life-time wasted. Slowing the speed, will increase the time wasted – therefore reducing life-hours. Raising the speed will likely increase deaths (on average). It’s a trade off – and pursuing either to excess wastes lives.

I’m not sure whether we’d want parity, but it’s clearly a sin to force people to spend much of their lives waiting in traffic queues and not count this in total as “a wasted life” even though it does not to one person.

One person (of any age) one vote

When the SNP gerrymandered the Scottish separation referendum (not independence as they intended to be in EU), they used the excuse that 16 years old should have a vote. But surely on the grounds of equality, all humans should have a vote – or is a 10 year old not worth the same as an adult? That may sound bizarre as we would not expect a 10 year old to vote themself as they are not old enough, but surely their parents can vote on their behalf. Obviously responsible adults would try to educate their children and depending on their maturity may actually encourage them to make their own choice – especially if they have a particular reason to vote.

Give businesses the Vote

The US have this saying “no taxation without representation”. But we tax businesses without them having any right to vote to change the government. Fortunately, having just increased the number of votes by giving children the right to vote (via their parents), I can also extend the principle to give businesses the right to vote (through their boards). As such I would allocate roughly the same percentage of votes that went to children. It would be allocated to businesses according to the number of UK employees.

If you are old enough to be tried as an adult, you are old enough to vote like an adult

One of the huge absurdities of the law, is that children as young as 10 or 11 have been tried as adults – in other words they are deemed to be capable of understanding the law like an adult – yet they are prevented from voting for the politicians that make those laws. To my mind, no one should be subject to adult laws, unless they can vote for those who make those laws.

Scrap “Enterprise” Agencies and all other similar government “help” for start up companies

From my own experience, start up businesses in the UK are being encouraged to join “enterprise” schemes, which sound a great idea, but in reality means that these new businesses are forced to get advice from the least enterprising group of people in the UK: civil servants. No wonder so many fail! But even worse – because these “enterprise” agencies often provide services needed by start ups for free which would otherwise be provided by private businesses, the “enterprise” agencies are destroying the commercial marketplace for businesses that are best placed to help new businesses. Government is literally destroying the commercial environment that ought to exist to help new businesses.

Require planning authorities to require to set aside space for all communities have start-up business units as part of normal housing.

We in the UK have business “deserts”: huge sprawling seas of housing without anywhere for small business start ups to locate. This is often because the cost of land is so high that any building is turned into housing. This is part of the problem of having so many people in such a small country. As such (unless we reduce population) we need controls to allocate space for small business. I would also use money saved from Enterprise agencies to reduce council tax for small business and startups.

Right to Jury Trial

We have a fundamental right to jury trial – and it’s time this was restored.

Breach of the Peace

In Scotland the law of breach of the peace is absurd allowing a policeman merely to say “I was concerned” to allow them to arrest people. Instead, not only must there be a real threat of some kind of wrong like an injury and not at present, that someone can be done for breach of the peace merely if someone (irrationally) fears the action of another. To give a simple example, a Muslim carrying a rucksack can be convicted of breach of the peace if people genuinely thought he was a terrorist. So, no actual crime, no way the Muslim can do anything about it.

Change in law on:

  • Joint Enterprise (UK) – it’s too easy to convict the innocent
  • Football (Scotland) – again the law is far too excessive
  • Libel – it must be made easier for the “small people” to get recompense when e.g. newspapers libel them. At the moment only those with deep pockets get redress.

Fox Hunting

Having lost two lots of chickens to foxes, and seeing ever increasing numbers, I have lost all sympathy with fox lovers. In addition, even though I don’t particularly like upper class toffs who ride horses – it is quite clearly an important historical culture which needs preserving in the same way we would want to preserve Amazon Indians. The only reason the two are not seen as equivalent is politics – and that is no reason.

Guns, Hunting with bows and Snares

Most of Scotland has become a wilderness due to excessive numbers of deer. We need to massively cut back the numbers to allow the forests to grow again. So, anything that increases the number of guns and sporting kills would be a benefit to the environment. Likewise, rabbits are not indigenous to the UK and are a pest. So if people want to hunt for animals with snares then it should be as easy as possible. (To put it in context, it is legally impossible to have a program like “10,000BC” in the UK. Because you can’t hunt with bows, you can’t snare, you can’t even have a dwelling without sprinklers etc.)

Post Boxes

There’s a road near me where the gardens are about 50m long (no exaggeration). Having delivered leaflets to that road, I can honestly say it takes around three times longer to deliver to them than houses where you can walk through the garden of one, through a gap in the hedge to the next.

And as such the people in the more densely packed areas are subsidising the (usually much richer) with their long gardens (which include most MPs and politicians).

I would therefore introduce a law, saying that the post box must be within 10m of a public highway (or for a row with pathway from one to the other – an average of 10m). And if houses do not have this, they need to create a separate box that is within that distance. And even parcels should be the same with e.g. a large “post box” for deliveries.

Flexible School Hours

In most modern work places there is the ability to work flexible hours. In no school that I know of, are they teaching children to work in a similar flexible way. Therefore I propose that the school hours have a period of flexi time and the beginning and end and that schools make it possible for parents to take approx 1week annual leave during school term.

The benefits of this will be huge: firstly it will allow more work-friendly hours. Second, the flexibility at the beginning and end of the day will reduce the “peak” demand on the roads, thus making commuting far more effective. And the flexible holidays will allow holidays to be planned more sensibly so we don’t have the same summertime rush and holiday resorts get used more efficiently (brining down prices for everyone)

Ban Dark Clothing

Many times as I drive I will suddenly become aware of a pedestrian who is wearing dark clothing and is all but invisible in the dark – I’m not sure if I’d “ban” dark clothing (too nanny state), but logically if cars need lights, it is not unreasonable to say that pedestrians need to be visible at night.

If a car knocks over a cyclist – it is the car driver who is to blame (unless the cyclist was clearly behaving badly)

Having ridden a bike regularly, I know that many car drivers act appallingly. And unfortunately, the less cyclists on the roads, the worse the behaviour of car drivers become until any reasonable person is afraid to cycle.

To put it in context, a car driver past a cyclist at 30mph, is a bit like a massive super tanker, taking up three lanes, driving past your car on the motorway doing 200mph. So the law must be that the car driver is at fault.

Research grants awarding bodies to contain a substantial number from private sector

One of the main reasons for the climate fiasco, is the self re-enforcing behaviour of academia. In that once it has a bee in its bonnet, those academics who do not agree with the PC dogma, end up not getting grants. So, the whole grant awarding process becomes politicised with money going to PC subjects and vital industrial research and pragmatic research being sidelined. As such I would ensure that all bodies awarding public money for research must contain a significant number (third?) from private sector.

Research post for the retired

I would set up a scheme to fund research by retired people. This would be less stringent than a PhD, but would try to utilise the experience and skills of a lifetime’s work to research areas of importance and disseminate the information to the public.

Car Insurance limits

If everyone drove a car costing £5000, then if there is an accident writing off a car, the most anyone will pay is £10,000 (assuming not injuries or others involved). As such our insurance would reflect this cost. In contrast, if everyone drives a vehicle worth £500,000, and if the likelihood of an accident is the same, then the cost of this on the insurance would be 100x as high.

Now imagine a world where everyone drives a car worth £5000 and one person has a car worth £500,000. Nothing has changed for the drivers with the £5000 cars and they get no benefit from driver with the £500,000 car, but all their insurance costs go up because of this one driver. Is that fair? Whilst there is often a fault with an accident, it is also true, that sooner or later you are statistically likely to have an accident and this is how insurance is calculated. So why should those in cheaper cars pay a lot more because of a few people in very expensive cars? I therefore propose a very simple rule that we are only liable for costs in an accident up to a reasonable limit (~£20,000?). This means that the system is as now for all those with cars worth less than £20,000. But for anyone with an expensive car, they will not get the full costs of their car in an accident and therefore they have to pay the additional insurance costs on their own premium.

End (not) Free Banking

As we all know there is no such thing as a free lunch. And this is especially true of banking. Banking costs us all a huge amount – and that is why bankers are so rich. But in the UK, they’ve found a way to avoid the people who actually pay for the banking (us) from knowing how much we are paying (and thus being able to rack up the prices and line their pockets). The way they do this, is to charge businesses for the cost of banking. In effect, rather than charge consumers & businesses for the service they BOTH use, they charge only the business – who because they all get the same charges, then just passes the cost on to the consumer. The whole scheme is to my mind a very illegal and immoral cartel – being run solely for the benefit of the bankers and to the detriment of consumers.

Because all banks charge extortionate fees to businesses – there is very little competition and so no price mechanism to bring down the cost of banking (which we all pay through massively). So, end it – it’s criminal!

Sea level ocean-going boat size canal from Clyde to Forth

With the Channel tunnel being such a bottle neck for traffic, and the only alternative being to go around the north of Scotland, I feel we could make a great deal of money and create a very vibrant port if we broadened and deepened the present Forth Clyde canal and made it big enough for large ocean going vessels. We would also create a port either on the Clyde and Forth – which I’ve no doubt will soon be the most important port in the North of the UK.

Elected Monarchy

Constitutionally the UK has an elected monarchy – it’s just that no one is ever told about it – even those doing the “election” (it is now incorporated in a chant by the choir of Westminster school). So the change is not to an elected monarchy, instead it is do the election properly (which means telling the public they can vote!!!).

Constitutionally – the right to elect the monarch has never been done away with – so constitutionally we have a right to elect the monarch, but having a right and being allowed to exercise it are two different matters.

However, what our constitution allows for is a choice between Royal “contenders”. So presumably, we’d get to vote between the idiot Charles and William/Harry. They then become king (queen) for life. (The only fly in the ointment is that this only applies in England because it derives from the powers of the Anglo-Saxon monarchs who did not have the power to bind the succession – and as parliament is bound by the same limitation – laws on succession are not binding on the people, only advisory).

The right to reject all candidates

In my view, if a majority of people do not vote, then they do not believe any of them is worth voting for. As such if a majority abstain from voting, it should be seen as a rejection of all candidates and none of them should get in.

The right to death

I have struggled throughout my life to stop busybody politicians trying to interfere in all aspects of our lives. But being politicians they want to control our whole lives and that includes our death. Most people faced with a terminal illness that they did not want to endure, would be able to end their lives by choice. So, the number of people affected by a right to death is small. But for that small minority, they have a simple choice: end their lives by choice … or continue living knowing that they will have that right to death taken away from them by some busybody politician, nurse, doctor, relative.

Who, faced with a terminal illness can predict how it will progress and what has to be endured? That is why a right to death, is in reality a right to life – because with a right to death, no one need take their own life for fear of being trapped in life by the busybodies of society.

Public Sector workers paid to get experience in Private Sector

When I left school, I couldn’t see the point of geography. Despite at least one good teacher (and another appalling one) It’s only relevance seemed to be to teach people to become geography teachers. Years later I did an MBA and as part of it did a formal course in marketing which included aspects of market research.

Suddenly all that useless human geography seemed to be relevant. And through an interest in geology and industry, I realised the physical side of geography was also important in mining, road building etc.

Likewise, when I encountered civil servants (particularly the idiots in climate and Scottish “Enterprise”) it was clear to me that I may as well be talking to a dumb chimpanzee (although that is probably an insult to chimpanzees). Because many civil servants are totally clueless about the world outside the public sector.

Also, at the moment we in Scotland have a recruiting ban in the civil service. Which mean we have too many.

So, here is a simple idea to improve the understanding of all public servants: require them to work for a year in the private sector. The idea is that simple: we seek private sector jobs for 10% of teachers, civil servants, etc. each year. This is purely optional, but after 10 years, only those qualified (i.e. with experience outside the public sector) will get pay rises or promotion.

And no! Working for fiends of the earth or Greenspin will not count! It must be a organisation that pays tax on its activity.

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