21 PLEDGES FOR PROGRESS 2010
Party politics no longer seems to be about clear ideological differences, or indeed any kind of substantial debate reflecting competing visions for a better society. Nonetheless, many pressing issues remain unresolved. So though it might be tempting to write off mainstream politics as irrelevant, and to take a 'none of the above' position in the coming election, this can only feed the pervasive cynicism about the possibility of social change and progress. History has not gone on standby, but continues to throw up new challenges.
We want to take the opportunity of this election to put each candidate on the spot and ask them to declare where they stand on a range of key questions.
The Institute of Ideas lays down a challenge. Seek out the view of local candidates to the 21 Pledges for Progress. Anyone who answers 'yes' to 15 out of 21 deserves consideration for your vote.
21 PLEDGES FOR PROGRESS 2010
Policy ideas that would make candidates worth voting for; positions that voters should argue and campaign for.
- Repeal hate speech legislation, in the interests of free speech, with no ifs, no buts.
- Repeal the UK's libel laws, in the interests of free speech, no ifs, no buts.
- Stop bureaucratic CRB checks and vetting of adults who come into contact with children and vulnerable adults, in the interests of free association between generations and countering the climate of mistrust.
- Repeal any equality legislation that interferes with the freedom of private organisations like churches and political parties to act on their beliefs, in the interests of free association.
- Revoke unnecessary and nonsensical health and safety rules and guidelines in the interests of countering today's risk-averse, safety-first climate of fear.
- Allow pubs and clubs the option of permitting smoking, and get rid of the new 'no drinking zones', in the interests of countering the over-regulation of public spaces.
- Scrap the 'database state', including the ContactPoint database which holds information about every child in the country and the DNA database which includes details of criminal suspects without convictions, in the interests of civil liberties, the privacy of families and the principle that we are innocent until proven guilty.
- Limit the police's power to detain people without charge to 24 hours rather than 28 days, in the interests of civil liberties and due process.
- Declare an amnesty for all illegal immigrants presently in the UK, whether asylum seekers or economic migrants, in the interests of recognising the positive aspirations of those who seek to improve their lives by moving countries.
- Open the borders, revoking all immigration controls, in the interests of the free movement of citizens.
- Get rid of police Tsars and unelected 'experts' from government decision-making in the interests of parliamentary sovereignty and democratic accountability.
- Abolish the monarchy and the House of Lords in the interests of a fully elected legislature and executive.
- Hold a referendum on the EU constitution and any subsequent treaties, in the interests of a national democratic mandate.
- Direct state expenditure into infrastructural projects such as power grids and telecommunications, increased facilities for road, rail and air travel, in the interests of productive economic growth.
- Build new nuclear power stations across the country in the interests of ensuring we have more than sufficient energy to power a new round of economic growth.
- Reduce the onerous regulation of new scientific and technological developments such as GM technology and biomedicine in the interests of increasing R&D and encouraging innovation.
- Stop excessive centralisation and bureaucratic control of public services, enabling professionals to make judgements in the interests of those using the services rather than artificial targets.
- Scrap the 'impact statement' demands on university research, in the interests of valuing knowledge for its own sake and protecting academic freedom from the demand for policy outcomes.
- Support the arts financially, for their own sake, in the interests of liberating them from ever more prescriptive and politicised instrumental demands.
- Direct state funding of health to biomedical research into cures, the latest drugs and equipment, rather than punitive campaigns to change individual behaviour, in the interests of public health and good cheer.
- Direct state funding of schools into providing universal access to the highest standard of education in academic subjects, rather than politicised cross curricular themes like sustainability or citizenship, in the interests of passing on real knowledge to our children.