Laws for equality

The case for equality is overwhelming.
So what policy-instuments do we need, to make it happen?
I advocate the following two, as key parts of the process:
• A maximum income differential in percentage terms between boss and lowest-paid employee in each company. And the differential should be narrowed in percentage terms each year. It should never be allowed to grow in absolute terms at all. (Similar laws, though just slightly less radical, are in place right now in (e.g.) Denmark.)
• Wage rises should be on a cash-amount basis, not a percentage basis. In other words, everyone in a given organisation would get the same wage rise, each year, in monetary terms. Over time, this would reduce the percentage difference between high and low earning employees very considerably, and eventually might make it trivial.
The beauty of my proposals (you need both, because the second one only applies if there is an actual wage/salary _rise_, which in a recession there is not necessarily) is that they _encourage_ the higher wage earners (including top bosses) to raise the wages of the poorer workers in their company/organisation. And they actually narrow the rich-poor gap – they diminish relative poverty – in the process. In other words: they attack inequality, and bring equality nearer, in a way that doesn’t render the better-off as angry resisters of the process.
My proposals are sly long-term ways of getting equality to happen.

Prosperity without growth

Important stuff here from the Sustainable Development Commission, in line
with arguments that I have made previously on this blog:

Synopsis – Prosperity without Growth?

The economy is geared, above all, to economic growth. Economic policy in
the current recession is all about returning to growth – but an economic
crisis can be an opportunity for some basic rethinking and restructuring.

Two objectives other than growth – sustainability and wellbeing – have
moved up the political and policy-making agenda in recent years,
challenging the overriding priority traditionally given to economic growth.

SDC's "Redefining Prosperity" project has looked into the connections and
conflicts between sustainability, growth, and wellbeing. This project has
now resulted in a major SDC report: 'Prosperity without Growth?: the
transition to a sustainable economy' by Professor Tim Jackson, SDC's
Economics Commissioner.

Prosperity without growth? analyses the relationship between growth and
the growing environmental crisis and 'social recession'. In the last
quarter of a century, while the global economy has doubled, the increased
in resource consumption has degraded an estimated 60% of the world's
ecosystems. The benefits of growth have been distributed very unequally,
with a fifth of the world's population sharing just 2% of global income.
Even in developed countries, huge gaps remain in wealth and well-being
between rich and poor.

While modernising production and reducing the impact of certain goods and
services have led to greater resource efficiency in recent decades, our
report finds that current aspirations for 'decoupling' environmental
impacts from economic growth are unrealistic. The report finds no evidence
as yet of decoupling taking place on anything like the scale or speed
which would be required to avoid increasing environmental devastation.

Prosperity without growth? proposes twelve steps towards a sustainable
economy and argues for a redefinition of "prosperity" in line with
evidence about what contributes to people's wellbeing.

Why drop ‘No Platform’ now?

We mustn’t help help fascists to look like victims, for, the reason that most people vote BNP is that they feel like victims, feel marginalised etc. . So it is important not to make the BNP look like their Party.
The positive answer is community organising, proposing an alternative vision that has anti-racism and internationalism at its heart, etc. . That is what we need to be doing: not wasting time – in fact, counter-productively – trying to deny the BNP their 15 seconds of fame.
This is what I myself have already been trying to do for years in fact, and especially in the elections I ran for this year.

Beyond ‘No Platform’: BNP must now be beaten in face to face argument

‘No Platform’ is dead. We need to smell the coffee of political reality. And then celebrate the fact that the vast majority of the 8 million who saw Griffin on Thursday night saw an embarrassing / appalling car-crash performance by him. That needs to be continued and redoubled. The man and his ilk can be stuffed even more thoroughly than he/they were on Thursday night, in future debates, e.g. with us Greens. His endless lies need to be endlessly exposed to the cold light of truth.
What we must not do is turn Griffin into a victim and martyr. The most likely way one would do that is by saying that he has no right to speak at all, even when he was (I’m afraid) elected.

Green vs. BNP: the real opposition

The BNP need to be taken on, and out-argued and out-organised. The only Party that might be able to do that is the Green Party. Because Greens have an unalloyed truth to tell that might just make sense to people, a real alternative to denial, hatred, and despair.
This is the real task. When Peak Oil and Dangerous Climate Change start to bite viciously, that’s when BNP support wil really start to increase. Green Party support has to stay ahead of it; as the old Parties die, we have to be ready to fight the real political fight.

How to deal with Griffin and the BNP?

He’s been elected; we have to deal with it now. Last night, on QuestionTime, it was reasonably well dealt with. I think Griffin did very badly for most of the evening. A nice indicator of this can be found on twitter: I recommend you all to read the hilarious and accurate tweets during the programme last night from realnickgriffin .
What needs to happen now is: we need to build a viable alternative to the BNP that will appeal to the white working class. That is for instance what I am trying to do in my ward, which contains the most ‘deprived’ estate in Norwich. The only way in the end to defeat and bury Griffin for good is to change British politics, build from the ground up in communities, start to improve British society, and get Greens onto programmes like QuestionTime to really destroy his lies and rubbish and false solutions. Straw and Huhne and Tories will never be up to the job.
‘No Platform’ is over. It’s time to expose the BNP and thrash them in debate; a promising start was made last night on QT.

Be a citizen

“It is not the function of our Government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the Government from falling into error.”
Robert H. Jackson – United States Attorney General under Franklin Roosevelt


“The tyranny of a prince in an oligarchy is not so dangerous to the public welfare as the apathy of a citizen in a democracy”
Charles de Montesquieu (French Politician and Philosopher, 1689-1755)
Politics ought to be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage”
Dwight David Eisenhower (American 34th President (1953-61)
“The most important political office is that of the private citizen.”
Louis D. Brandeis (American Supreme Court Justice, 1856-1941)
The job of a citizen is to keep his mouth open.”
Gunter Grass (German poet, novelist, playwright, sculptor, and printmaker, 1999 Nobel Prize for Literature, b.1927)
The citizen’s job is to be rude – to pierce the comfort of professional intercourse by boorish expressions of doubt”
John Ralston Saul, Canadian professor and philosopher
“A passive and ignorant citizenry will never create a sustainable world.”
Andrew Gaines quotes (Creativity trainer, sustainability philosopher, b. 1938)
No one is born a good citizen; no nation is born a democracy. Rather, both are processes that continue to evolve over a lifetime. Young people must be included from birth. A society that cuts off from its youth severs its lifeline.”
Koffi Annan