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Today's blog is brought to you by a random shower thought. I don't think it will come as a shock that many people around the world have found leadership rather lacking, in a time when it was required to be robust. I found myself asking the question: "If I were the Prime Minister of the UK, what would I do better?".

I imagine I'm not the first person in the world to think of this, this isn't even the first time I've thought about it. But it's possibly the first time I've liked some of the ideas I came up with, hence believe they are worth noting and sharing.

I consider the following to be perhaps a campaign to be elected, a series of ideas and promises to the public to actually improve the state of the Country.

Goals

Going into this enormous task, I think it's important to have several very clear goals:

  1. Leave the Country in a better state than that I find it in. By this I mean economically, expansion of freedoms (will discuss in a different point), an open an healthy discourse amongst the public on contentious issues and more.
  2. Consolidation and reduction of seperate laws. My government will not be measured by how much it adds, but how much it removes. Most of the legal loopholes comes from wishy-washy language that is overly complex.
  3. Increase of garunteed freedoms. I'm not talking about the government necessarily giving free things away (i.e. by creating knew welfare systems), but to actually add more freedoms to the average person. These would include freedom of speech (not just freedom of expression), removal of the hate crime bill (therefore an increase in speech), the classification of social media as a public space (therefore expanding free speech to online platforms), the right to privacy (meaning that the government cannot collect data on you without very good reason - i.e. counter-terrorism). I would also be open to considering other freedoms.
  4. Get people interested in local elections. I feel as though currently far too little is done to get people involved in the local election process, yet local government has a tonne of power. I believe that a push towards a local, more decentralized government can only be made if and only if more people are involved in the process. Voting for the local government should be just as important as voting for a local MP, yet I cannot even tell you when the election is held in my local area. Very disappointing - how has central government ignored this for so long?

Close Enemies

The first idea in this space is to have regular private meetings with opposition leaders. These would be non-recorded, completely private meetings (to the point where all electronic devices are confiscated) perhaps for 60 minutes a week with each political leader. It would be encouraged that other people important positions also do the same.

The goal of this is to encourage robust debate, to raise genuinely important issues without the need to put on a show and point score - to actually open proper dialogue amongst parties. This of course only works based on trust, if this trust is broken and things spoken about privately are used to misdirect or are leaked, this defeats the purpose of these open discussions. Perhaps ultimately it should just be accepted that this will be an information channel from opposition leaders to Prime Minister only - but not the other way around.

The second idea in this space is to keep people who disagree with my opinion close, even going as far as to hire a team of people whose job is always to find the faults in any points I make. Of course some balance would be needed with supportive voices of my ideas and a person can over do it - but generally it's better if ideas are robust before reaching the public.

(I think this last idea came from 'The Darkest Hour' film. Coincdentally it's also a great film and well worth the watch, so watch it if you haven't.)

Layman's Law

It's insane that you need a degree in order to understand the law, yet are expected to follow it. How on earth did our legal system end up in such a state? I see a way forward with one of two options:

  1. Simplify the current law, so that the average person could reasonably have a hope at understanding it.
  2. Create a simplified version of the law in layman's language, in the spirit of how it's supposed to be interpreted.

An additional bonus is that we can then expect the police to fully understand it, and therefore to fully understand the extent of their powers. Too much of the time do the police rely on the ignorance of the public and enforce some misconception of the law.

Starter Fund

The next idea is to setup a fund that gives small grants to small projects, on the proviso that it becomes self-sustaining. This fund would give out small grants to allow people in the UK to test out company ideas. We're talking about the scale of £100 to £1k, and there would have to be some limitations around who and how regularly they can be handed out. There would need to be some review process and the business model or research would need to be viable.

All purchases using these funds would need to be approved (you can't just buy yourself stuff and the money should likely be spend inside the UK) and on failure, the fund absorbs all of the assets (accept in the case of bankruptcy). In the scenario that a business is successful, the grant is repaid after some threshold multiple times over in order to keep the fund going.

The overall intent would be to allow people to try out ideas that are high-risk with little to no risk to themselves, allowing people to experiment. It would for sure need some more guidelines to ensure that it's well thought out, but I think this project could be quite cool.

Another idea is to provide tax-breaks for starting companies. Companies that are just starting are like small fires, if you smother them too much then they fail. There would of course need to be some guidelines around this too, but I think tax-breaks could help foster more small businesses in the UK.

Remove Money

The first idea in this space is to remove the money from campaigning, and by this I mean the private donations. You see this all the time and it's corruption by other means, no doubt. For example, there is a scheme where people pay a lot of money and then get to spend time privately conversing with politicians. Nobody should be able to buy influence like this. The political parties should be entirely prevented from doing this.

The second idea is to remove the money from politicians, but increase their pay. Increasing the pay of politicians is somewhat controversial, but it's one of the most important positions in the UK. If we don't want these people to be corrupted, then they should be paid an amount that means they are happy to not be corrupted. I believe £100k would likely be a better number, rather than the £50k or less they are currently paid. This would entail the removal of cash-backs for purchases made, so this would personally incentivize them to limit unnecessary expenditure.

The third idea is that there should be a declaration of conflict of interest. External unbiased opinions must be found when there is a conflict of interest - for example if an MP owns private land, they should not be able to propose a law on private land, there would clearly be a conflict of interest there. The intention would be to reduce MP's pushing for or proposing self-serving law. This would need to be better defined, but at the very least it should be declared for transparency.

Nationalise Natural Monopolies

The government should nationalize natural monopolies, which would include infrastructure like the railways. It's not possible to run competing rail services, so whomever the government allows to use it ends up with a local monopoly. Despite the UK's rail service being mostly government subsidized, prices barely compete with the cost of driving - which is quite frankly insane.

I still believe in not having a massive government, and therefore there should be some wiggle room to sub-contract management. But I believe the assets should be government owned and run for sure. This point of course would need more fleshing out, but I think there is something here.

Break-up Large Projects

The government is absolutely terrible at running massive projects - they always go over budget and take too long. I think the problem is that the entire contract is awarded irrespective of the progress made. One solution could be to break-down large projects into smaller deliverables and award funding based on completion of deliverables.

The massive NHS software upgrade project for example didn't need to be implemented in one hit. It could have easily have been done in smaller backwards-compatible sections. It could have been seen much earlier that the project was going to entirely fail to deliver any kind of result.

Depending on how much the deliverables are met by, the contract could end up back on the market for bidding with the work done so far paid off at the agreed cost for that part. If they want to re-bid for the contract, they will need to explain why they failed to meet their previous promises.

Conclusion

These are just some ideas - I imagine I will have a few more in the future! This may end up as a several part series, let's see! Not everything here is fully fleshed out, but I think there is some nice stuff to start working with here.