Tuesday, April 25, 2017

What political candidates should be offering the electorate in GE 2017

Yesterday I pointed out the deep divisions within our nation.

The best, maybe the only, thing to overcome our divisions as a nation is to understand our place in the world as a species that, like all other species, depends on ecological systems for our physical survival and mental happiness.

By addressing the urgent task of healing human society and the planetary systems, we will find ourselves in a co-operative relationship with others rather than a competitive or even a conflicting relationship.

This is all fine and good. What does it mean in practice?

There are two components: local and global. By local in the present context of the General Election on June 8th, I mean the situation in Britain.

Greens need a positive, tangible change to offer the electorate. It is no use warning of impending doom. It is no use just bemoaning the dire situation that the Tories have driven us into. It is no good just reciting a list of good things we want to do. We need a put forward a specific offer.

For me, that offer is of full employment in the green sector of the economy - the part of the economy that heals environment and society.

For an economy in 2017 to have 4-5% unemployment is irrational, given that there is so much vital work that needs to be done.

Here are a few examples:

Energy conservation, renewables, food production, public transport, repair, recycling, house building and renovation, water work, environmental conservation, hedge-laying, arboriculture, work with wood, education, social work, community work, care of the vulnerable the elderly and the sick. 

There is more than enough work to be done. Good positive, creative work. It is insane to pay people on condition that they do nothing except for applying for jobs that do not exist, when there is so mych work that needs to be done.

In providing full employment we can transform society and transform our lives. How can it be paid for? By transforming the benefits system so that JSA behaves like Basic Income - i.e. you still recieve it even when you are in work. Simple. Far more simple than the welfare system that has evolved in this country.

It is called Green Wage Subsidy.

So we can transform the economy and dissolve all unemployment (and underemployment come to that) in a new, tangible and efficient way of looking at work. Seeing work as essentially of benefit for everyone, rather than just a way of making money. In creating full employment, we reduce inequality in society, and this helps to heal all manner of social ills.

Of course, GWS is not the only thing we need to do. There are dozens of other measures needed, but in that it greens the economy and works against inequality, GWS is pretty much in pole position as far as I am concerned.

There are other measures too, that address problems at a global level. That is for the next blog post.

At the moment in this election, I am going to ask my local candidates if they will look at GWS as a way forward, and will consider voting for the one who is most open to it - if he or she is in a position to evict the Tory incumbent.

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