Over the years a few people have said I should try my hand at politics. However, the truth is I have never fancied it and even if I did I couldn’t actually pick a party to be part of.
The latter is a problem because anyone in the know will understand that its hard to actually achieve anything if you aren’t in a major political party, unless you are UKIP it would seem. However, perhaps due to what I’ve learned and seen in 2020, or just the sheer gusto of 2021, but I think its time to make my move.
They say a new year needs a new challenge so it is with great joy and excitement that I announce the creation of the Union of Independents Party.
To prove my economic credentials, in last January’s column I forecast a major policy intervention would hit the oil and gas industry hard. I was nearly right but it was Covid that hit us all. I also predicted negative interest rates and zero inflation (not far off really).
The Union of Independents Party will take the best of the recent totalitarian political decision making while also learning from failed ideologies of the past. I do not set out a manifesto today, this is list of ideas that need refinement before I start fundraising and employing a range of policy gurus and advisors. I will need a catchy but meaningless slogan too.
Any confusion accidental
I would add that in no way is the name of the party a method to hoodwink people into voting for me. Obviously no one will vote for me just because Independents sounds like Independence, and the word Union is not to infer a strength of feeling for the UK Union or Trade Unions. I would clearly still take the vote if I ‘accidently’ confused people though.
The first thing I need to do is recruit well. I’m going to get Nigel Farage onboard. He could surely do great things given he got half of the UK to vote for something which seemed like madness to many. I’ll give him the role of securing Scottish independence given the pros and cons of Brexit and Independence are similar in the short-run. I’ll get DJ Trump involved too just so he can retweet me to widen my audience. To balance ideologies I’ll maybe get Len McCluskey in as my head of staff too. These feel like people who can all talk to a divided UK.
I have also thought of practical things the government can implement.
Dom’s driving show
I need to promote the country and will recruit Dominic Cummings as my Tourism Lead. I’d allow him to do a TV show focused on tourism where he could drive to various UK landmarks with a range of sensory challenges involved too. After each trip he could do an open air Q&A on the experience. His last TV show during lockdown got a great audience, promoted Barnard Castle well and had various spin offs, so I think it will do well.
To rebuild confidence in politics I’ll retain the current daily government TV shows but with a twist. I’m thinking something based on Jeremy Kyle, where each day a politician will deliver a daily briefing hooked up to a lie detector. Questions will be determined by a public vote. There would also of course be a party colleague who had already answered the same questions. This would create a most amusing dynamic as various the mis-truths are shared live.
I would introduce a new competency-based approach for politicians. Included in this would be a ‘training scheme’ where politicians will do one-year service in a minimum wage role,
Moving to wealth distribution, I’d create a progressive corporation tax. Part of this tax would then be given straight back to the employees. This would ensure that those who grafted to create wealth for the wealthy would benefit fairly too. CEO salary uplifts would have to be matched by staff rises too.
Finally I would take the unprecedented step of removing ‘unprecedented’ from the dictionary. I appreciate this would be an unprecedented move. After 2020 surely very little can ever be unprecedented again. I will also proactively remove phrases from use and for 2021 this will include things like Brexit Bounce, Brexit Bonus, Brexit Boost, Brexit Bonanza, we didn’t vote for that.
I’ll use the next three months of lockdown which haven’t been announced yet to work all this up properly. Watch this space.
James Bream was research and policy director at Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce and is now general manager of Aberdeen-based Katoni Engineering