For the last couple of months I have been re-watching one of television's greatest dramas, The West Wing. It details the entire presidency of Josiah Bartlett, played by Martin Sheen. It's heavy on dialogue and doing the right thing. Last night I watched a great episode where one of Bartlett's staff attempted to save the future of Social Security (Pensions) for the good for the nation. He finally managed to persuade the opposing party to the agreement but they wanted to take the credit or they would seem weak in the press and within their own ranks. The White House agreed as although it would lose them valuable election brownie points, it would benefit the country regardless of who took credit.
It made me think and hope that one day OUR government would take such actions for the greater good and not bicker over who thought of it first. Have the balls to introduce, reform or drop any policies that would make Britain a happier, fairer and stronger state.
With this in mind I have compiled 10 ideas if I were in charge of the country. Obviously I'm no politician or economist so I couldn't say if it was possible to do these without a fight or a legal battle but I would say if the only thing in the way was party politics, then we're wasting time.
1. Alcohol and tobacco based medical treatment to be paid in part or in full by the patient.
People on the lash on a weekend can get in trouble on occasion, maybe hurt themselves on a club dancing pole. Yes it was an accident perhaps but they were under the influence and they are responsible for their own safety. Why not fund part of the NHS by emptying the pockets of those who needn't be there in the first place. Same goes for smokers. I'm sorry if you take part in this ridiculous ritual but you're swallowing smoke in your body and you expect for us to help you when you get lung problems?! Yes smokers and drinkers already fund the NHS but it wasn't built for this reason. Where there's smoke, there's fire and where there's a bar, there's a bell-end.
2. Tighter Immigration
Just because I say this, doesn't make me a member of the BNP. It's pure simple maths, we can't afford to run the country for Brits, never mind wannabe Brits.
A 2012 worldwide poll showed 640 million people would move to a different country if they could. Of those 640 million, 7% would want to move here. That's over 40 million people. Obviously it's just a survey but we would generally let all of those 7% in if they asked.
Way back when, we sent prisoners to Australia as a punishment. Now they have control over who they let in. To prove our worth to the Aussies, we have to be skilled at a profession to be able to assist the country. I want that here also. This is probably my most controversial idea but it would also let us control the rate of population growth which in turn leads to pensions and the housing market.
3. Regenerate the North
The north is dying and we've known it for over 20 years so let's send focus and investment in the region. Now that the steel mills and coal mines are to remain closed for the rest of time we can rebrand the towns to the 21st century. Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Silicon Valley, Orlando, all places with very specific industries. Take Newcastle/Sunderland for example in the North East. Create our own Silicon Valley on the outskirts of town and create a fast flowing park and ride infrastructure and create free colleges in the towns to train the local school leavers to be able to write computer code and create applications. Take each city or town, see its key strength and focus on it entirely. Liverpool - Tourism (create a larger cruise port, stronger transport to the airport and the town in general)
Blackpool - get the British Las Vegas plan back on track. Unemployment, mortality rates, obesity levels are extremely high in the seaside resort so drastic action is required and its required now.
Birkenhead - a ghost town of its former self, drowning in bargain shops and fast food. Time to find a new beginning. Pharmaceutical business parks?Velodrome? Nuclear power station? Get something in there before its renamed Birkenhead sponsored by Wonga.
These changes need to happen as soon as possible. What the government usually like to do is give us a great vision and then throw it into committees and prolonged periods of consultation and by that time, another party has won an election and want nothing to do with the previous party's plans.
4. Top 500 companies in UK to agree to fill a % of their vacancies with the unemployed.
With so many people desperate for so little vacancies it almost seems unfair to take it from the hands of a dole receiver. Obviously it's the best fit for the job but the unemployed need a first chance and they would arguably give it all they have to succeed. So the top companies in the country would give them that chance. If it doesn't work out with an employee they have the right to terminate, no hard feelings. Incentives could be applied but all in all this would not be a voluntary scheme but a mandatory one. Smaller local business would not be able to waste their resources on this scheme which leads me to the last policy of part one.
5. Tax free new businesses for their first 6 months.
Speaking of business, new ventures deserve all the help they can get. They've just survived getting a loan from the moneymen so now they need some breathing space. The government would leave them alone until they get established or go bust of their own accord. Then they would begin to pay tax either at a lower rate or with a relaxed installment plan.
See? I can do serious, all those are honest to god ideas that I believe in. Send this to your local councillor, congressmen, pimp or stalker.
Part two next week!