Britain’s claim to be a functioning democracy has become threadbare as a result of failure to…
1: Reform the electoral system to ensure that the number of MPs for each party accurately reflects the votes cast. Ban MPs from receiving payment for representing outside interests and reduce the parliamentary term from five to four years. Replace the House of Lords by an upper chamber of representatives selected from the voting public by lot, together with people with special expertise appointed by an independent commission. Extend electoral reform to the local level. Strengthen competition law to ensure the printed media is genuinely plural in ownership and opinions. Introduce the principles of evidence-based law making.
2. Rebuild legal aid. Phase out the private management of prisons, and, in line with the recommendations of the Prison Reform Trust, reduce the prison population to half its present level, wherever possible replacing incarceration with community sentences which keep families together. Provide effective protection for individuals from interference in their private lives and reform legislation which encourages vigilantism.
3: Bring the budget deficit and public debt down progressively using growth and balanced increases in direct and indirect taxation while protecting those most in need. Increase corporation to fund improvements in the NHS and schools. Build a plural economy encompassing equity, private, public and mutual ownership. Increase public and private investment in science and R&D to a level comparable to that of Germany and the Nordic countries to build a strong basis for a dynamic knowledge-based economy.
4. Raise the UK’s performance in literacy and numeracy to the level of the best performing OECD countries. End funding for converting state schools into academies and create a pathway for them to return to democratic local control. Transfer strategic responsibility for schools education to elected regional education authorities. Reform the funding of further and higher education to prevent young people from being forced into debt, while protecting the global sum available for education and research. End the compulsory promotion of religion in schools and introduce a curriculum which respects diverse beliefs and philosophies of life as the best foundation for tolerance, fairness and mutual respect.
5: Provide additional finance for the NHS to enable it to consistently reach published targets. Ring fence funding and restore real term increases from the present 1% per year to the historic average of 4% per year. Oppose further marketisation and protect the integrity of the relationship with patients. Devolve strategic responsibility for health in England to elected regional health authorities.
6: Accelerate the phasing out of fossil fuels. Introduce a carbon tax and use public resources to invest long term in energy saving and storage to bring about rapid progress towards a carbon-neutral economy. Ban fracking and facilitate further investment in onshore and offshore wind generation. Cancel HS2 and focus resources on incremental improvements to the public transport system.
7: Oppose Brexit. Build a stable and positive relationship with the EU, which ensures free access to the largest market in the World, including free movement of labour and acceptance of the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. Work to strengthen the role of the UN and other organisations of international co-operation as building blocks for future international peace and the solution of existential global problems of climate change, population growth, migration and disease control. Maintain a defence capability that reflects the different threats that we face in the context of a strong commitment to NATO. Work with other nations to prevent the further proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and to reduce nuclear weapons stockpiles as a step towards credibly enforced and monitored abolition of nuclear weapons.