This is communication 1666 including the album reviews and I’ve been starting recent rants with a list of things that happened in that year in England. I’m choosing England because that’s where I live and that The Act Of The Union hadn’t happened yet, maybe one day I’ll be writing about the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, but not at the moment. In 1666 the royals returned to London as the plague subsided, the English won a victory against the Dutch in the war, the English also pillaged and destroyed loads of Dutch stuff at Terschelling. The Great Fire Of London happened. Newton split light using a prism, invents the cat flap and does more mathematics along with Leibniz.
While out running yesterday I became quite angry while thinking about what to keep writing within this site and decided I would try to list it all. I was trying to work out what things the state should provide its citizens. I’ve been trying to work with a general philosophy that the state while benefiting from its citizens should also do its best for those citizens. A bit like the biblical Golden Rule. My version of it is just to be nice. If you can’t be nice then don’t do or say anything. Also applicable is the rule “don’t be a dick”.
A lot of the following are things I think should be done. Some of them I don’t have very good arguments for I just think they are the correct thing to do. Some of these are surely controversial to some of you and I don’t care. It’s what I think.
It seems rather obvious that if you want the best out of your citizens then you have health care that is free at the point of use. You also wouldn’t systematically aim to destroy that. Yes, I know that ultimately there has to be choices about where the money is spent and there needs to be a particular value placed on life, but a healthcare system is one of the main priorities for a state.
If you want your state to be productive and to be good at things then you need education that is free at source. Where this free ends I think is after first degree level. People with degrees will eventually add so much back to the economy that it makes long term sense to offer this education as a right. Not everyone with a degree will use that particular degree but if you invest in the people they will return that in large quantities.
Slightly controversial I guess but I would remove all private schools. They breed class differences, they maintain the class system we live with in this country. If impossible to remove them I would remove their charitable status.
There should be much more public transport that is cheap at point of use. We must reduce reliance on fossil fuels. We need to slowly change society to undo the reliance on personal transport. The state should own and run all railways, buses and other forms of mass transport. There should be no more roads built. Goods should be moved by train, people should be moved by train, there need to be good links for all places to trains. I’m not convinced that the airline industry should be such. Given how fragile it is and the damage it does I think we need to slow this world down. And I fucking love aircraft. I just don’t think it’s a justified industry. I would provide massive investment to clean, green sea faring technologies. Things might take longer to get to places, but it would be better for all.
If you need it to live then I think it should be state owned and run. So, water, electricity, gas [needs to be reduced], and, not controversially, broadband, should all be state run. It is insane that our power generation companies are owned by foreign governments, EDF etc. It’s amusing that EDF is known as EDF in this country but it is mostly French state owned. In the run for quick cash from the 1980s onwards we have allowed other governments and states to profit from the necessities of life in this country. Hilarious. We need massive investment into green power generation technologies so we can then sell them to the world. We need to be a leader in the world in reducing the effects of anthropogenic climate change but I fear we won’t ever be that because of the short termism of our current system.
It seems clear that the state while asking of its people should also provide for those people. We should be looking after those who need support and help. We should be providing for those who can’t afford it. We should be an altruistic society. We should be willing to help those who struggle. I dare mention Universal Basic Income, but I do think that is the way forward. There is this idea that poor people are lazy and if they just got a job then they would be able to get out of poverty. Well, if you’ve ever read a book or listened to non-political experts about this you would know that is utter bollocks. Yes, some might be lazy and want to live on state handouts, but good luck to them I say. If you help people and want to do good for them they will return that. Fucking basic ain’t it?
Given the rest of this I’m probably going to surprise you all. I have come to think that removing the top tax rate in this country would be a good thing. I do not have any numbers to back this up just a feeling. Those who earn little need to pay less tax, we know that is the best thing, it makes sense. However, I’m not sure we should have a tax rate above the current 20% tax rate. I do think that many people who earn in the higher tax band are reluctant to pay that higher tax, it’s probably seen as “unfair”. I think they might have a point. I’d be tempted to remove that tax band but at the same time I would aggressively pursue people who still did their best to “minimise” their tax bill. If you want to be a part of our society then you fucking pay your dues. I do think that a flat 20% rate would go to improve tax payment by nearly everyone. I would also force through a way of paying tax in the country where your money is made. This is harder but the current system that allows companies and individuals to move money off-shore is utter bollocks. Pay your fucking taxes. There shouldn’t be billionaires. How grotesque. It’s seen as acceptable because everyone who dreams of being a billionaire would want to be in that position. It’s the “dream”. Fuck That Shit. If you think having 1,000 million is acceptable but 100 million isn’t then you are fucked.
We need to invest in our people and education. This will ultimately mean we improve our society and improve the “things we make”. We need to be aiming for what we can do for the world in twenty years. Some of this can come from guided research but we improve through having intellectual curiosity. It is impossible to know what area of research will provide what we need in the future. We must have a policy of academic curiosity. We must provide the environment where research can take place.
So, all of this is going to cost a lot. But it needs the investment now to provide the returns in twenty years. We need to start the cycle of investment and providing for our people so that we get the returns later. Once we start this cycle we can continue it with ease. We should be world leaders in all technologies and we should have a society where people want to live and feel safe and be supported. We should be looking after each other. We should be willing to accept smaller individual wealth at the upper end to the better of everyone. All of this seems quite clear to me. If there are other things I think about over the next while I may add them below: