… these will be seven of the things that I will change (*).
Now, I realise that I’m hardly likely to get elected to high office on the basis of this manifesto but some things really do need fixing. If I have to scream and rant to get my way, trashing my Liberal credentials in the process, then so be it.
Any university continuing to give out honorary degrees and doctorates to celebrities, politicians, business leaders and the like will have their charter revoked immediately. Studying for a degree or higher qualification is bloody hard work (I should know!) and honorary degrees devalue the efforts of all real students.
These are completely unacceptable and stifle social mobility. Volunteering is fine, but those taking part in such activities must be genuine volunteers, free to stop or vary their commitment at any point that suits them, rather than the kind of ‘volunteer’ intern sought by the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust a couple of years ago.
Continuing to use a floppy disc icon to mean ‘save’ is almost as archaic as using a cassette tape icon for the same function. From the moment I come to power, all software developers will have 24 hours to find, agree on and implement something a little more 21st century. Now that’s what I’d call agile …
The National Lottery
Has always been a tax on the poor. I’m not going to abolish the lottery per se as it’s still relatively popular and I have my eyes on a second (and perhaps third) term in power. Instead, I’m going to turn the lottery into something indistinguishable from premium bonds where the original stake is never lost. Good causes that might otherwise lose out through the lack of lottery funding will be able to apply for the same funds raised from something a little more progressive – let’s call it taxation.
Ensuring that everyone understands that demonstrating a correlation is not the same as demonstrating cause and effect
Showing that the amount of cheese eaten correlates with golf course revenues doesn’t mean that excessive cheese eating causes higher golf course revenues, or vice-versa. Well durr. More seriously though, mistaking correlations for cause and effect might be behind the increases seen in potentially serious, but preventable diseases such as measles.
Prime Minister’s Questions
I’m going to set up an independent panel to assess each answer the Prime Minister (who, of course, will be reporting to me) gives at PMQs. If they judge that a question hasn’t been answered, the PM will have another chance to answer the same question in a new ritual I’ve decided to call Prime Minister’s Detention. This will take place in an empty Commons chamber after all of the other MPs have returned home on a Friday afternoon. If the panel still regards their answer as unsatisfactory, they will have the ability to fine, imprison or force a by-election in their constituency. If this policy is successful, it will be extended to cover all other ministers and eventually, any politician who appears on the Today programme or Newsnight.
Daily Mail Readers
As a good Liberal, I believe that the Daily Mail should be free to publish whatever distortions it wants to, provided it stays within the letter of the law of course. The real problem is the people who choose to read it. Without its readers, it would soon disappear off the face of the planet. I’m therefore going to tackle the root cause and introduce a tax of a few pence per copy sold that will go straight to charities supporting things that the average Daily Mail reader would loathe. I’m very hopeful that the emotional conflict caused by such a strategy will wean these readers away to less harmful newspapers, like, errr, … ok, I admit this policy needs a bit of work. And the other six might do as well. Time to get back to the day job …
(*) Yes, of course I want world peace etc. etc., but I think there needs to be a little bit of realism in my manifesto. After all, I’m rarely in charge in my own house, so I’m hardly likely to become president of the world. Many thanks to Tattooed Mummy for providing the inspiration for this