Sorry for the lack of Fat Gladiator blogs the last month or so, but work has been super busy. I am pleased to say that we have spent most of this week working on the Christmas special, which I think could get a bigger viewing than the Vicar of Dibley on Christmas Day, so please bear with me, I hope it’s worth the wait.
It’s been a great week in the Fat Gladiator house, my youngest son got 10% in his Latin exam, beating my best-ever result by a clear 7%, so we are all made up. It’s lovely when you get to see the next generation progressing and learning from the mistakes of the past, ”just keep improving” has always been my message to the kids, and it’s great when they listen.
I was somewhat overwhelmed by the response to my last blog, which took a fresh look at UK politics. Having dedicated so much of my time to making people laugh at the weekend, it clearly came as a massive shock to most that I posses a brain. Thanks to everyone for writing in, I got some amazing messages of support. comments like: “you never wrote that”, “you boring twat”, and “not bad for someone with a degree in textiles”.
One person even suggested that I run for Prime Minister (thanks Mum) and another asked me if I would consider joining a government think tank! I responded “yes” but I got an email back saying “only joking it’s not your ideas that are the problem, I just know you could never sit still in a meeting for long enough”.
Anyway, no doubt, as someone who voted to Leave, I feel a certain responsibility to fix the economy single-handedly and get relations with our European neighbours back on a sure footing.
The first thing I would say is that appreciating their sense of humour is always a good place to start, and we may need to import more motorbikes like the one in the video below if we are to find common ground.
If you don’t like serious stop here!
The terrible pain of Brexit, which neither side wished to occur, will inevitably lead to a brighter future. The staple diet of cheap imported labour drying up will undoubtedly cause change that will enforce faster technological adoption and more automation, and encourage investment in UK agriculture and technology as labour costs rise.
The UK shouldn’t model itself on Canada, Switzerland or Norway, but Israel. Not exactly surrounded by friendly neighbours, and considered a controversial trading partner by some, the country has built the second most important tech hub in the world, turned deserts into fertile land, and has a rock solid economy and currency .
This was achieved by placing education and technology at the epicentre of policy. No one should doubt the UK’s ability to carve an incredibly bright future alongside our European neighbours, whose commerce and friendship we should treasure, it is the quality of the leadership needed to implement the programme that scares us all.
Here is my programme for reform:
1. Unilateral declaration of friendship
Lead by example and allow all Europeans currently working in the UK to reside here as permanent citizens. The idea that these people can be used as a bargaining chip is simply ridiculous. This decision would be made immediately and unilaterally without any need for European reciprocity because it is simply good news for the UK to have talented tax paying citizens as part of the fabric of our society.
If the European nations want to kick out Brits that are living and breathing life into their economies on the continent, let them. It would be a terrible decision for them in the same way it would for us, so they will not do it. Politicians on both sides of this issue are behaving illogically under the pretence that they are protecting the rights of British citizens abroad, when actually they are just dragging out the inevitable, an agreement for our countries to reciprocate.
2. A quick divorce – Don’t let the lawyers get rich
In a protracted divorce, the lawyers get rich whilst the family is dragged through unnecessary pain. Brits are smart enough to know this, pay up and extend the time period that the money has to be paid over as a compromise.
The lingering uncertainty of Brexit is currently doing more economic damage to both UK and European trade than any one off payment. Stop the pretence that you can drive a hard bargain. Logical arguments trying to accurately assess cost ignore the big picture. We need to concentrate on what matters, which is giving growth and transparency back to business.
Those who say that money is needed for public services are really only interested in promoting their own political agenda. Without a functioning growing economy no one will get the vital public services or pay rises they so separately deserve.
3. Issue 250,000 technology visas with immediate effect
Establish a Ministry of Technology to oversee the appropriation of 250,000 technology visas (the current number is 20,000). The newly-set-up ministry would also be responsible for regulation of existing disruptive technologies like virtual reality, AI and autonomous cars and all new technologies.Rather than holding back change, its purpose would be to harness the power of good technology and minimise unwanted side effects in much the same way that the FDA does with new drugs.
4. Hero status – Help for Heroes, but not just the army
Let’s promote social care, nursing, teaching and all of society’s most important jobs to hero status just like the armed forces. Let’s treat them like we do entrepreneurs, with tax breaks, public recognition (awards) and anything that can be done to help encourage talented individuals to take up the most underappreciated but vital of all professions. Recognition for all stay at home carers is vital as well.
5. Environmental tax for online sales
It’s tough to tax online giants based on current global tax treaties so let’s do it by the package, based on the environmental impact, and help drive trade back to the High Street.
Companies like Amazon would pay a fractional payment on every package shipped and consumers would be given an allowance, much like tax bands, with society’s most disadvantaged paying nothing and serial online shoppers (who exceed their allowance) paying more after a certain number of parcels, so the revenue would collect on both sides.
This type of policy could limit damage caused to the environment by parcel packaging and transport, draw people back into physical shops, encourage a sense of community, and limit the evolution of an unnecessary “sale and return culture”. It would be good for the profitability of retailers (lower return rates), good for the High Street, good for the environment, and good for raising revenue if indulgent online shoppers continue to use the internet as a sheer convenience.
6. Give the NHS its independence like the Bank of England and issue 250,000 health worker visas
We should de-weaponise healthcare so that politicians cannot use people’s health as part of their campaigns. If central banks can be given their independence to stop interest rates being used for political purposes during an electoral cycle then why can’t we do something similar with healthcare.
The NHS should be run by a cross party committee made up of NHS workers, politicians and technology experts, and have funds appropriated accordingly as a fixed percentage of GDP.
7. Political Academy – Make it law for every MP to spend four weeks a year training
Let’s create political academies whose sole purpose is to train politicians at an apprenticeship level and throughout their careers. Use public money to recruit, train and educate people from all backgrounds and political beliefs so that they are better equipped with the skills necessary to do the job. Let them be exposed to some of the scientific and economic case studies underpinning their beliefs so that they can more closely scrutinise the foundations upon which their emotional responses are based.
The institutions should be cross-party training facilities teaching a new generation of politicians about automation, gene sequencing, the environment, foreign affairs, economics, disruption and a host of other different subjects.
Put simply, our politicians are subject to the same laws that govern every single student, teacher, lawyer, nurse and business, let’s train them!