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First Chapterss
January 2001
March 1


by Sam North

1: No one in charge of public transportation policy should have three Jaguars.
2: No political party shall spend more than one million pounds in advertising from the launch date of the election (We shall be spared a great deal of boredom and save many trees with this item)
3: Professional Conduct. All MPs should have the following:
a: A degree or minimum HND qualification,
b: Proficiency in one European language (other than English, Gaelic or Welsh),
c: to have worked in the private sector for at least five years.
d: all candidates must produce a financially auditable statement of all their wealth and debts prior to election (So that we can see how much they have stolen next time around if elected - This is the Meacher -Prescott Clause)
e: No elected politician should be able to take up any directorships whilst in office and none until one year after being elected. All politicians should regard this as a 35 hour week job (for which they are paid)
4: Any person who owns a national newspaper, TV and or Radio station in the UK must reside in
the UK for 75 percent of the time and be subject to all UK taxes. No one should be allowed to own more than two national papers and one Sunday.
5: There should be a ten percent tax (in addition to Stamp Duty) on any property sold for more than one million pounds. This money will be paid into the local Housing Trust Low Income Housing Fund for low paid service workers (teachers, police,sewage, nurses)
5b: There should be a ten percent tax on all rental property that rents for more than £1000 a week to be paid into the same fund for the same purpose, affordable rental housing for low paid workers
6: Finances:
a:Petrol and Diesel Taxes should be lowered to the European average.
b: The minimum wage should apply to all young people over the age of 18 and be set at £4.25 rural, £4.75 per hour in London and Manchester, Edinburgh and Bristol (add others to choice)
c:No pensioner with an income of less than £15,000 a year pension should be forced to sell their home to pay for a old age home. (It could be rented out to approved persons and the difference in cost paid for by the state). A person’s home is the result of a lifetime of saving and should not be penalised in this way.
d: People who allow their dogs to foul footpaths without picking it up, should be jailed for six months and their dog destroyed (or vice versa)
e: All pornographic magazines should be taxed at 100 percent of purchase price. No pornographers should be allowed to buy National Newspapers. All magazines should be shrink wrapped in black non see-through plastic. All porn web sites should be prevented by law from showing any images at all unless by consent of the viewee.
7: The national speed limit on motorways and A roads should be raised to 80 mph. (On Motorways electronic speed adjusters can signal recommended speeds adjusting for traffic flow as does the M25). The traffic police can be redeployed to detecting rural crime and protecting the people who pay their taxes.
8: Smokers should be asked to pay a monthly ‘insurance’ of £20 to pay for their eventual treatment in hospital. Failure to maintain a valid certificate will result in minimum or no treatment . Smokers will be encouraged to ask the tobacco provider for treatment.
(Treatment to beat addiction will be free however)
9: No one living in a city of more than one million people should be permitted to buy a new car or second hand one unless they have a legal and registered parking space at their place of residence. (This works well in Japan) (There should be a register of available neighbourhood places - if none available, no car - joint ownership of one car and space to be encouraged)
10: Bus and Train timetables to be revised back to 1985 timetables when they were faster and more frequent (and honest). City transport and commuter trains should run until 2 pm. Rural buses should be running until midnight and calling past rural pubs so no one has to drive home.
10b: No one can drink alchohol without purchasing or being provided with some food. Pubs and Restaurants that allow people to leave drunk should lose their licences.

On lies and statistics

It’s countdown to election time in the UK. The choice is pretty grim. The incumbent Labour party led by Tony Blair has effectively squandered one of the socialist's greatest opportunities for social and economic change since 1945. Instead of action, we have bus lanes on our narrow motorways, imposed by John Prescott, a man with three Jaguars and an aversion for travel on public transport. There has been less investment in our schools, hospitals, transportation, energy and the national infrastructure than the previous government (by 25% in some areas) and this is most visible in our decrepit railroads and crumbling school buildings. In London there is utter farce with a squabble on ownership of the Underground that has meant there has been no investment in London’s underground for the last four years. They boast about police and teaching recruitment being up (always a concern at election time) yet play down the increasing numbers leaving both professions. (6000 cops a year leave for example), there is a permanent crisis in teaching as the paperwork mounts and actual teaching apparently counts for nothing.

That the UK needs investment is plain to see. From railways to roads, to city infrastructures, any visitor to London can experience the nightmare of uncertain journeys, unsafe stations, broken buses and trains, rats, drunkenness, crime and aggressive begging and heaven help them if they ever need hospital treatment. There have been some achievements. The London Eye, the new Tate, but who can forget the farce of the Dome, which sits there empty everyday costing a million a day to keep it so and Wembley Stadium looks like going the same way.

Taking a snap shot of the UK today isn’t pretty. No matter how self-congratulatory we might be about our Tracy and her bed in the world of Art or how much we are prepared to pay someone to run British Telecom (for a three day week), if you think the infrastructure is bad on the outside, check the intellectual plumbing.

A conversation in April with a senior Human Resources person for a major international company in London was even more revealing. ‘The standard of UK applicants for jobs in finance, computing or management is abysmal, they are so arrogant, but their degrees are so obviously inflated, we have to make them take tests to see if they can actually read and write. We are actively recruiting South Africans, Australians and Europeans for excellent UK jobs right across the spectrum because the UK applicants are so poorly educated and trained.’ Further down the scale, we are scouring the earth for nurses, doctors and teachers for similar reasons, yet no one really talks about how unfair it is in places like South Africa or Malaysia that we deprive them of their highly trained nurses and teachers. (How would we react if they advertised for our teachers offering great pay, sunshine, less hours teaching, paid flights...)

Do we have to mention the state of UK farming after the debacle of MAFF 's maladministration of the Foot and Mouth epidemic and the impact of BSE. The mass production farming methods that do not heed the environment or good animal husbandry can't be right. Farmers bleat now, but they are the ones who fed cheap animal waste based feed to their cattle and sheep. Everything we do, everything we are, points to this being a 19th century country, hardly able to think itself into the 21st, let alone imagine a way to bring farming practices into line with consumer demands.

It might be that there is a majority of people prepared to stick with Blair and his cronies, after all, some people actually voted for Mugabe in Zimbabwe last time, knowing he was a crook. But if the fact that your house may have doubled in price since Labour came to power influences you, just remember that in those long four years more than 600,000 manufacturing jobs have gone, and that now we import 75 percent of all the cars we drive (it used to be shocking when it passed the fifty percent mark). The UK is currently maintaining a 25 billion pound deficit with the rest of the world and Mr Micawber I seem to recall did not regard this as a good thing.

So the alternatives? The Conservatives right now are mired in a stupid debate about race, a neat deflection by the Labour spin doctors to avoid us looking at their failures and questioning the real truth about the Foot and Mouth epidemic.

But what if the people were not diverted? What if they did vote for Hague. It might be good to remember that northerners like to speak their mind, are more likely to tell the unvarnished truth, and be a lot more honest that a few southerners we could mention currently a lot closer to Number 10. It would be very different to have Hague as PM, but a little scary to have Ann Widdecome a hairsbreath away from Downing Street. And what of Europe? To elect them means that we will never embrace the Euro and even risk leaving the Union altogether. Atrtractive for some, but the reality is, wew cannot, absolutely cannot live without Europe. We can however disagree with Schroder about a new Euro government of yet more unelected people. This is surely a step too far.
There are also the Liberal Democrats, Greens, and others to chose from in this coming election and each have their attractions. Tactical voting may defeat a Tory or Labour candidate in marginal seats. However these groups alone will not form a government and therefore can only act as a safety valve for views not expressed by the major parties. (more worrying is the few people under twenty-five actually registered to vote or intending to vote).

In Scotland, they have Scottish Nationalists, who at least don’t hide their agenda, but in Wales the nationalists do. The financial argument for an independent Wales is a bit dubious, but in Scotland, aside from the fact that it would raise their taxes, they could probably pay for a comfortable life with a new tax on the oil economy.

So how do you decide? Hackwriters will be writing a series of election profiles from the point of view of various professionals. Each week a different view of what this election means to people.
So here, for the first time at Hackwriters, we are building a manifesto (which is subject to change as we develop our themes). You are welcome to agree, disagree or add your own points. It’s a debate. Do email us, we want to know what you would vote for (if asked).

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© Sam North Managing Editor

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