The aim of The Slog is to offer Homo sapiens a better and more realistic culture in which to nurture community and personal fulfilment.
In the immediate term, the key priority is to protect creative and vulnerable Small from controlling and powerful Big.
I would put some flesh on all that as follows:
If you’re genuinely radical about the West’s need to change direction culturally, a tremendous sense of isolation weighs on you at the moment. The biggest single trend of the last six or seven years in the US and the UK has been the retreat into tribalist views of socio-politically-defined economics – and the need to trash the other side’s viewpoint. Be it climate change, economic models, globalism or banking reform, everyone now is labelled “either with us or against us”.
As a ‘citizen species’, we are fracturing. And everywhere in the variously unpleasant but always braindead power centres of the West, lots of people are rubbing their hands with glee. For a divided Resistance is exactly what the Establishments want. I use the word ‘Resistance’ advisedly.
Those who come here regularly will by now understand that both status quo and Pol Pot Year Zero are the very opposite of what I’d like to see. My non-Utopian but achievable best bet follows below. The short-term objective, however, isn’t going to change: the need to protect creative and vulnerable Small from controlling and powerful Big.
In the longer term future, I advocate the development of a scaled-down and reconfigured model of economics and government in three main ways:
1. No State, less Bourse, and more mutuality in business.
2. Less global, less mercantile, more sufficiency, more entrepreneurial, more agricultural, more communitarian capitalist in political economics.
3. Abolition of the Civil Service, cutting of the MP/Constituency link from Westminster, massive devolution of power away from Parliament towards community, abandonment of nuclear weapons, withdrawal from any EU with federalist control aims, and a proper constitution driven by accountability in national governance.
I realise we are back in the cuckoo-land of systemics here, but none of the above will work without a massive cultural shift in citizen attitudes and behaviour. Much as this terrifies libertarians, I cannot see any way to drive it other than through education – which in turn remodels how people see families, school, sex, the workplace and the community.
Education, like health, has been a political scrum for decades: utterly f**ked up by ill-considered, anti-empiricist models of what education is for - and smothered by tons of pointless paper pouring out of Whitehall. My position is that education needs to be more holistic and grounded.
Holistic in giving a much larger role to civics, mental and physical health, cultural history, and personal responsibility.
Grounded in returning the role of ‘teacher’ (in its more eclectic sense) to being one of inspiration, discernment of individual student metier (talent), and the achievement of practical skills in all the key areas of maths, language, media, technology, business, and the Law.
The aim of such an education system would be to make future generations far less vulnerable, in possession of far more self-esteem, and able to grasp not just that fellow-citizens are as important as them, but why.
Now, the way to achieve none of this is by:
* Accepting the continued existence of any obviously dysfunctional item in the status quo
* Believing that with Just One More Heave, one’s own political tribe can dominate the scene and everything will be lovely
* Continuing to use the terms ‘Left’ and ‘Right’.
The Government of this country is a scam, and the Opposition is a sham. Grow up and get over it.
A Resistance united behind the aim of restoring ethical cultures and keeping extremist ideologies out of the process is the only path I can see likely to lead somewhere better – without degrading into a dictatorship very quickly…..as all rigid belief-think tends to do.
Anyone who thinks this can be achieved at this point without unpleasantness is clearly off with the fairies.
And anyone trying to claim me as a signed-up member of the Left or Right in British politics, please cease and desist: blinkered control freaks come in all the sizes, colours and genders available, but I am not of your number. Do try to take this on board before I die a frustrated old bloke scrunched up by tediously circular and point-scoring arguments on comment threads.
Which pronouncement (sorry about that, but subtlety rarely works) brings me back to where I started: people like me feel disenfranchised. But I don’t see why we should feel isolated. Literally millions of us know – without any reference to Party loyalties – that when we go to vote, it is for a choice between relative evils from the past, rather than between genuinely brave ideas about the future. In a democracy for which our grandparents fought so hard, that simply isn’t good enough.
British citizens need to vote for the dismantling of self-serving Party machinery – in favour of new ideas for tomorrow…ideas designed to free us from the controlling instincts of those in charge today. But above all, the Brits need to rise above their tribes, and work in concert to ensure they create a united front against The Dark Side.
Some specific policy aims
(The value of these ideas may go up or down depending on what the gargoyles do next. Before taking any financial decision, always consult a financial advisor, and then to do the opposite of what is suggested to you.)
To introduce list system PR as our voting form, and abolish the constituency system
To withdraw immediately from the EU
To reduce the power of Westminster in favour of local communities
To clear monied influence out of politics and fund Parties via the State
To clear commercial interests out of government
To ban the Party practice of whipping
To abolish the Civil Service
To abolish personal income tax
To cap inheritance from one generation to the next at an absolute level
To reduce the tax burden of small business
To ban media ownership by expats and foreign nationals
To drastically reduce citizen surveillance
To remove health and pension provision from government, and fund it via mutualised insurance and employer schemes
To reduce the role of the City in funding capitalism
To encourage banks to focus more on retail and small business banking
To bring social, health and curricular education closer
To stop all immigration regardless of skill level, ethnicity or gender
To cap new home-building, and invest heavily in extending the amount of farmed land in Britain
To depoliticise and increase investment in police numbers and training
To reintroduce free Grammar and Technical schools
To reintroduce University Grants for high-performing colleges attracting genuinely bright students regardless of background…and drastically cut the percentages going to University by raising standards
John Ward, June 2013