I noted as much on Twitter, and it prompted me to have a bit of a rant. Well, a bit of a rant may be an understatement. I'll save what I said about the public schools thing for the post about that, but I came up with a few laws that I'd like passing, and people asked me to blog them, so here they are.
(CAUTION - THIS MIGHT GET A BIT SWEARY. THIS POST IS GOING TO BE A LOT LESS SERIOUS IN TONE THAN THE USUAL ONES.)
Bearing in mind that I'm keeping my feelings on public schools for a later date, I have taken those out of my list, and substituted a couple more that I feel important.
- People wishing to enter politics must prove that they have spent at least five years living in the 'real world'. I am absolutely sick to the back teeth of people who have absolutely no idea what it's like to not be obscenely wealthy, white or male making decisions about people they know nothing about. People who have grown up not knowing what it's like to not be sure if you'll be able to pay rent this month, or having to decide whether it's you or the cats that eat tonight, because the electricity bill is higher than you thought. They grow up in their upper-class bubbles, only exposed to people like themselves, with the end result that they genuinely do not know how it feels to be one of the electorate. I had an interesting discussion with LissyNumber the other day on Twitter, where we came to the conclusion that most politicians genuinely do not see us as people. We are 'other'. We are like an interchangeable, homogenous, poor blob to them. They see us merely as commodities to extract money from. Products that can be discontinued if we're not profitable enough, or they have to put too much money into us. And do you know what? It's not fucking on. However, as BookElfLeeds sagely pointed out, this 'real world experience' can not be "doing work experience for an MP, "researching", or washing lepers for 27K a year". I'd like to see them doing a year behind a bar, a year in a call centre, a year in a shop, a year in a care home and a year on the dole. Those that can hack it and don't call up Mater and Pater demanding a hand-out will be deemed fit to continue in their quest to be elected. However, just in case they forget what they learned in that time...
- Every MP is to be given a 'real world adviser', whose job it will be to hit them with a big stick if they favour the overprivileged minority at the expense of others. Ideally, this role will be taken by the most diverse people we can possibly find. I'd like an army of disabled, transgender, single parent, LGBQ, asylum seekers patrolling Westminster, telling MPs how it actually is to live on benefits, or to be discriminated against, or to raise children without a wifeling at home and three nannies on standby. How necessary the NHS is, or how much an extra £10 a week can really mean to people. This will also have the wonderful side-effect of making the offices of the Mail, Sun and Express spontaneously combust with rage.
- Being an MP is a full time job. There are to be no 'second jobs', no 'advisory roles', no paid places on panels, nothing. Any MP caught breaking these rules will be fired. From a trebuchet. And do you know what? I will damn well use the money they got from these second jobs to pay for said trebuchet. Any money left over will go towards the welfare state.
- MPs: If the only person you can find to be your 'researcher', or 'envelope licker', or 'head in charge of wafting about being a bit bloody useless' is one of your rah-rah offspring, or your spouse, or your friends, YOU'RE NOT LOOKING HARD ENOUGH. All jobs working for MPs will be allocated by an independent interview panel. Your sprogs/spouses/mates are, by all means, welcome to apply for the roles, but jobs will be allocated on merit alone.
- MPs will not be allowed to privately meet with the heads of big business. Any correspondence they wish to conduct will be carried out in the letters pages of at least 5 national newspapers. If they wish to meet socially, fair enough - but they will be chaperoned by three 'real world advisers' (just in case one needs the loo and another needs a smoke, there's still one there). They also have to pay for the meals, transport, and child-care for the advisers. Anyone caught flouting this rule is liable for a trebucheting.
- Any MPs caught ascribing false meaning to, misrepresenting, lying about or in any way 'massaging' (or ignoring - I'm looking at you Lansley) key statistics or facts while making points about policy must publically (and I damn well mean publically) a) correct their wrongdoing, b) apologise and c) explain what they were hoping to achieve with their falsehoods. Also, all studies quoted must be given in context (looking at YOU, Dorries), with any conflicts of interest/noted limitations in the study, and overall results looked at. It is not permissible to simply pick one line that suits your rhetoric and hope people fall for it.
Now, I think that's enough on MPs for the time being, so I shall turn my attention to other places that could do with cleaning up.
- Business owners: If you want to run a shop in the UK, will all the benefits that arise from it, you can damn well pay the taxes we charge. Now, there's lots of debate surrounding Corporate Tax and all that, which is frankly, more than I'm willing to get into here. So, I've thought up a new solution. Shop Tax. Anyone who owns a shop/business can either a) choose to take their profits as their wage (if they are resident in the UK), which will be then taxed at the appropriate income tax level, or b) pay Shop Tax. Shop Tax will be like income tax, in that it will rise in steps according to your profit margins. If you don't like Shop Tax, don't have a shop in the UK. Go on, Philip Green, I'd like to see you move all your shops to the UAE and see how much profit you make there. I must point out that I'm not necessarily against business, but I'm damn well against businesses reaping the benefits of being in this country (educated staff, access to police, having their bins emptied, use of the fire brigade etc.) while doing nothing to support them. It's immoral, and it's wrong, and it has to be stopped. Anyone caught avoiding/evading these taxes will be shut down. Simple as. If you don't support us, we won't support you. Think of it as an enforced boycott.
- Bankers: Bonuses are now taxed at 95%. Deal with it.
- Newspapers: You must all use citations when quoting studies. As with the rule for MPs, all quotes must be given in context. Headlines and opening paragraphs must not be misleading in any way, shape or form. If a columnist is expressing an opinion, they must do so obviously (this will be known as the 'Littlejohn' clause). Which leads me nicely on to the next rule...
- Newspapers: If you have to make a correction, clarification or apology (and believe me, you will have to), it should be given equal or greater prominence to the original story and printed for at least seven consecutive days.
- Religious types: Feel free to believe in whatever you wish, if that's what makes you happy. However, do NOT use your personal spiritual beliefs to infringe on the rights or wishes of others. Not everyone believes in your god/s. Not everyone subscribes to your particular religion's (often skewed) sense of morality. People are capable of being good without the threat of eternal damnation, thank you very much.
- Everyone must remember that we are all human. We all have feelings, needs and desires. We exist autonomously, but together. No one is, by virtue of their personal wealth, gender, ability, age, sex, class, skin colour, race, country of origin, sexuality or belief, better or worse than the next person. People can only be judged on the actions they undertake, and the way that they behave as individual people.
So, who's voting for me?