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  • Writer's pictureStephen Hill

WHAT USE ARE POLITICAL MANIFESTOS?



I never read them as they cannot be relied on and they tend to miss the matters that concern me. As a result I created this list to hand to any party canvasser who knocks on my door, headed "COMMITMENTS REQUIRED FOR MY VOTE"

 

 Here's my list.. let me know what yours would be!

 

PLANETARY REGENERATION/CLIMATE CHANGE/ENVIRONMENT

 

·      No government support of any kind for fossil fuel industries.

·      Government tax/grant support only to regenerative companies and regenerative product development. Tax disincentives applied to all other companies with over 50 employees.

·      New government department reporting directly to PM is set up to ensure climate is returned to pre-industrial level, with mandatory, legal powers to manage climate to that level (also applies to b and c).

·      Independent research projects funded to look at and report within 6 months upon all aspects of regeneration, not just carbon-neutrality – such as actual environmental impact of wind turbines, electric cars, etc. Published widely, circulated in detail to citizen assemblies in every town and city.

·      Auditing rules modified to include: all audit companies decoupled from consulting arms; audits to report on all aspects of Regeneration (not just ESG), with corporate taxation levels adjusted up or down massively according to regenerative achievement.

·      Preferential trading terms with partner countries who adopt agreed policies in line with our climate plan.

·      Preferential lending by banks to our partner countries or banking licence withdrawn.

·      Stop imports from countries which are not rapidly reducing carbon emissions.

·      Require special visa with a 3-month delay for visitors/businesspeople from those countries which are not rapidly reducing carbon emissions.

 

NATURAL ENVIRONMENT

·      All infrastructure construction projects over $10m value should be subject to citizen panel review (especially including questionable projects like HS2).

·      Water companies are fined 10% of profits for every sewage leak into rivers, estuaries, or the sea, and executives (and non-execs) are subject to prison terms if persistent.

·      Tax incentives created to build more reservoirs or extend existing ones.

·      A new means of evaluating overhead power lines vs underground is created and implemented, taking account of value of scenery.

·      Utility companies may only be owned by an organisation that operates from a country that is a UK climate action partner.

 

ENCOURAGING INNOVATION

·      Government business investment support and incentives (including tax breaks etc) are subject to approval by freely elected or randomly assigned citizen panels. These panels will use guidelines that include: regenerative impact, societal good (cohesion, diversity, liberalism, etc), before profit.

·      All quangos and other similar public/charitable bodies are subject to audit of how appointments are made – complete transparency of process, assessment method, and any relationships (personal, familial, political) to be declared. Any such relationship reduces candidacy ranking assessment by 50%, and all appointments are subject to citizen panel approval.   

 

BANKING

·      Investments or loans are provided only to oil or gas companies that are actively reducing their production. They must also be switching to non-fossil fuels at a rate of least 10% of revenues per annum.

·      To encourage innovation and improve lending responsibility, no personal guarantees are allowed. All prior personal guarantees are written off.

·      Banks and trading houses must use minimum of 5% of income for investments into businesses below 10 people, and 10% of income for investments into businesses below 20 people, located within UK. Penalties for failure will be severe, including cessation of all trading activities and Directors’ legal liability.

·      Factoring and reverse factoring are illegal (whether using similar names such as invoice discounting etc).

·      A specific license to operate in UK is created and is subject to annual performance review and approval by a citizen panel randomly selected. These will use criteria as described above.

·      Banks and trading houses must have a randomly selected employee on Board, plus a representative from citizen panel (changed bi-annually)

·      Restrictions and taxation imposed on speculative trading in any UK-based share.

 

ENSURING ETHICAL INNOVATION

·      All government and large business (over 100 employees) systems interacting with the public must be certified as ethical, with purpose, fairness and efficacy reviewed and approved by a citizen panel. This applies to governmental and private systems, including those based abroad that provide service (via the internet or other means) to UK citizens.

 

ETHICAL GOVERNMENT

·      Limits are set on expenditure for elections and on donations to political parties.

·      Any donor must cease all direct or indirect contact with the recipient party.

·      Any sponsorship or funding must be published and readily readable on the party website and updated daily.

·      Any “research” created by or on behalf of any political party must be clearly labelled as such.

·      No lobbying is allowed unless publicly declared in advance on the party’s website, and a paper is published regarding its intent, purpose and extent.

·      Politicians must produce and publish on .gov a daily list of all people met (including socially), including duration and notes of any discussions that may affect their role or decisions. Details must be searchable and held online for a minimum of twenty years.

·      Details of people with access to parliament must be published in advance of any visit.

·      No political influence over media ownership or appointments is allowed, with severe penalties for any infringement.

·      Media ownership (of any kind – print, internet , tv etc) is reviewed annually and approved, denied, or removed by a citizen panel, taking into account any political bias.

·      No senior appointments of any relatives of politicians may be made. The, reason for any senior appointments must be published, and such appointments are supervised by citizen panel.

·      Any media in private ownership must maintain editorial independence, with no editorial influence by owner or Directors. Senior editorial appointments and dismissals are subject to randomly appointed citizen panel approval.

·      All Government advertising is supervised and approved by a citizen panel (including those annoying motorway signs that say useful things like don’t drink and drive).

·      No political position may be held for more than 5 years.

·      Public expenditure plans are reviewed, approved or denied by a citizen panel.

 

CITIZEN PANELS and ASSEMBLIES

·      Paid compensation for attending is equivalent to any lost earnings.

·      Attendees are elected at random, and exclude any government department employees.

·      Attendees changed every two years (and their prior jobs must be kept open).

·      Citizen assemblies are held monthly in all cities/counties to discuss policy issues, make recommendations, and assess citizen panel effectiveness.

 

SURVEILLANCE (STATE and PRIVATE)

·      All existing and future CCTV cameras must have a published purpose, be approved by new planning laws, and may only be used for the (single) purpose defined for a period of three years.

·      A citizen panel reviews othe stated requirement every three years.

·      All companies must publish full details of any AI/ML algorithms used and how they are applied.

·      All business or government data held about a person is readily accessible online by that person at any time.

·      Summary data (fields, descriptions, purpose, uses) must be presented monthly to randomly selected citizen panel, who have the right to order a full audit or immediate deletion.

 

INDEPENDENCE OF ACADEMIA

·      No political or public control over any aspect of Universities’ research funding.

·      All university research is monitored by a citizen panel that is independently elected.

·      All government research must be supervised by citizen panel selected at random.

 

NHS/HEALTH

·      Split into two bodies, renamed “National Ill-Health Service” and creation of new “National Health Guidance Service”.

·      Former is focused on care for sick, with appropriately skilled management and reduced medication, and with published criteria for care established that include degree of self-care, likely longevity.

·      Latter is based upon education, influence and facilities encouraging healthy living, making accessible and understandable peer-reviewed medical research, (without influence from big pharma), ensuring buildings and other construction are designed for healthy living, and making alternative approaches (like yoga, meditation…) readily available.

·      Funding split equally.

·      No borrowing allowed; total budget per region strictly adhered to annually.

·      Expenditure of both bodies reviewed and approved by regional citizen panel.

·      Taxation increased on unhealthy foods, pastimes.

·      Tax relief on healthy pastimes.

·      Pharma companies have a legal obligation to provide the best treatment which overrides their legal obligations to deliver profits.

·      Pharma companies are not allowed to fund any public bodies in any form. They are not allowed to incentivise healthcare professionals in any way. Failure to adhere to these entails prison time for all Directors, exec and non-exec.

 

OPEN TRADING RELATIONSHIPS

·      Open, tariff-free trading with all countries on equal basis, provided they meet agreed standards on hygiene, regeneration, climate action.

·      WTO rules elsewhere.

 

TAXATION

·      Transactional and corporate taxation is based on where service is delivered, ie where consumer lives, not on the location of company.

·      Individual taxation is progressive, with a maximum rate of 40%.

·      Reduce or eliminate VAT entirely.

·      Eliminate stamp duty entirely or reduce it to a fixed fee per transaction at cost of registration.

·      An upper limit is created on wealth absorption and ownership of $250m per person.

·      Points at which taxation applies must linked to inflation to avoid gradual real ‘stealth’ increases (eg death duties, stamp duty).

·      Supervision of taxation rules and their interpretation via randomly selected citizen panels.

·      British legal system protection is only open to companies and individuals who pay tax in UK.

·      Strict financial limits are imposed on HMRC’s use of legal system.

 

IMMIGRATION

·      Open immigration policy for any European or Commonwealth country, or any other country that has an entirely tariff-free relationship with UK, subject to:

·      Skills and abilities tests, as in Australia.

·      Business sponsorship required.

·      Limited to close family ties.

·      Those from NATO members are given priority.

·      Numbers per annum and per skill are agreed after study into what country needs and our environment can support (in terms of total population).

 

 END

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