Owen Jones: 'Agenda for Hope'

Owen Jones puts forward his 'Agenda for Hope'. Published in the Independent.

Agenda for hope: Owen Jones’ nine-point manifesto

1) A statutory living wage, with immediate effect, for large businesses and the  public sector, and phased  in for small and medium  businesses over a five-year Parliament. This would save billions spent on social security each year by reducing subsidies to low-paying bosses, as well as stimulating the economy, creating jobs because of higher demand, stopping pay being undercut by cheap labour, and tackling the scandal of most of Britain’s poor being in work. An honest days’ pay for an honest days’ work would finally be enshrined in law.

2) Resolve the housing crisis by regulating private rents and lifting the cap on councils to let them build hundreds of thousands of houses and in doing so, create jobs, bring in rent revenues, stimulate the economy and reduce taxpayers’ subsidies to landlords.

3) A 50 per cent tax on all earnings above £100,000 – or the top 2 per cent of earners – to fund an emergency jobs and training programme for young unemployed people, including the creation of a national scheme to insulate homes and businesses across Britain, dragging millions of out of fuel poverty, reducing fuel bills, and helping to save the environment. All such jobs will be paid the living wage, supported with paid apprenticeships rather than unpaid “workfare” schemes.

4) An all-out campaign to recoup the £25bn worth of tax avoided by the wealthiest each year, clamping down on all possible loopholes with a General Anti-Tax Avoidance Bill, as well as booting out the accountancy firms from the Treasury who help draw up tax laws, then advise their clients on how to get around them.

5) Publicly run, accountable local banks. Transform the bailed-out banks into regional public investment banks, with elected taxpayers’ representatives sitting on boards to ensure they are accountable. Give the banks a specific mandate to help small businesses and encourage the green industries of the future in each region.

6) An industrial strategy to create the “green jobs” and renewable energy industries of the future. It would be focused on regions that have been damaged by deindustrialisation, creating secure, skilled, dignified jobs, and reducing unemployment and social security spending, based on an active state that intervenes in the economy, learning from the experiences of countries such as Germany.

7) Publicly owned rail and energy, democratically run by consumers and workers. As each rail franchise expires, bring them back into the public sector, with elected representatives of passengers and workers to sit on the new management boards, ending our fragmented, inefficient, expensive railway system. Build a publicly owned energy network by swapping shares in privately run companies for bonds, and again put elected consumers’ representatives on the boards. Democratic public ownership instead of privatisation could be a model for public services like the NHS, too.

8) A new charter of workers’ rights fit for the 21st century. End all zero-hour contracts, with new provisions for flexible working to help workers. Allow all unions access to workplaces so they can organise, levelling the playing field and giving them a chance to improve wages and living standards. Increase turnout and improve democratic legitimacy in union ballots by allowing workplace-based balloting and online voting.

9) A universal childcare system that would pay for itself as parents who are unable to work are able to do so, and which would take on the inequalities between richer and poorer children that begin from day one.

Showing 11 reactions

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  • followed this page 2014-03-07 07:21:02 +0000
  • commented 2014-03-05 11:20:21 +0000
    http://vimeo.com/86885603

    Revolution is available.

    No heads need be broken or Police lines charged.

    Convince people to vote for change and the Police who form the line will part and roll a red carpet to the door of number Ten for you.

    While the vote remains unfocussed, that line will prevail.

    Reform of the old parties will be too slow – starting a new one that moves the “conversations” from the circus that is Westminster to the forum on the net… that would be more frightening for the people who are really in charge. Winning elections is better progress than occupying squares.

    Even if you only half agree, share the video?
  • commented 2014-02-27 21:07:53 +0000
    Then all this logic is followed by divisive argument.As is always the way with those egos sure theirs is the only right way.Shame even leftwing politics dominated by patriarchal paradigm. I left the Workers Revolutionary Party, when I was 17, because they couldnt agree on the shape of a cake, and I left the Socialist Workers Party a long time ago, again, because I expect loyalty from friends and comrades. And found none there.This is the Peoples Assembly Online.Please make it welcoming to people typing it in for the first time. Or its f….
  • followed this page 2014-02-26 18:11:28 +0000
  • commented 2014-02-25 09:30:43 +0000
    This is a reformist agenda that doesn’t recognise that capitalism cannot be reformed. It’s not 1945!
    (See http://www.johnkeeley.com/why-capitalism-cannot-be-reformed/)

    We need a slogan that connects.
    A slogan that promotes an alternative system.

    The Bolsheviks had ‘Peace, Land & Bread’; nothing communist about this, but it captured the mood. I think we need a slogan & an accompanying agenda that promotes participatory democracy. An alternative to the current system that’s more Occupy than Westminster. One that’s against professional politicians seeking power. And one that’s rooted in the class struggle.
  • commented 2014-02-21 09:09:46 +0000
    10) (but higher up the list!) Save the NHS. Restore the National Health Service as a publicly funded, publicly provided and publicly accountable service, provided according to need and delivered free at the point of delivery. Abolish the hugely wasteful NHS commissioner-provider split that diverts money into useless transaction costs, opens NHS services to competitive tender from international corporate health giants and siphons public money into massive private profits.
  • commented 2014-02-12 17:21:59 +0000
    On (6) An industrial strategy to create the “green jobs” – there is a way of doing this that the Green Party is, hopefully, going to adopt in a couple of weeks. Basically, it is legalised moonlighting. Local employers, be they public, Local authorities, NHS, co-ops, charities, or even SMEs, once they have proved that what they do is of benefit to the local community, can take on new workers from the Job Centres, who bring their JSA to work with them. It is totally voluntary, no compulsion, but employers must not displace old workers with the new style. This means big expansion of employment in the green sector. More here: http://www.greenhealth.org.uk/GreenWageSubsidy.htm
  • commented 2014-02-12 17:21:59 +0000
    On (6) An industrial strategy to create the “green jobs” – there is a way of doing this that the Green Party is, hopefully, going to adopt in a couple of weeks. Basically, it is legalised moonlighting. Local employers, be they public, Local authorities, NHS, co-ops, charities, or even SMEs, once they have proved that what they do is of benefit to the local community, can take on new workers from the Job Centres, who bring their JSA to work with them. It is totally voluntary, no compulsion, but employers must not displace old workers with the new style. This means big expansion of employment in the green sector. More here: http://www.greenhealth.org.uk/GreenWageSubsidy.htm
  • followed this page 2014-02-12 17:20:18 +0000
  • commented 2014-02-08 14:19:27 +0000
    I think the Romans had a good idea, at the end of a term of political office, senators were tried in court by the people.
  • commented 2014-02-06 13:18:08 +0000
    Ok, go and read www.bailoutswindle.com front page – 2 minutes will do it – then go back to the top of the page and count off the points which that policy will fulfill or significantly help.
    Here’s the list of points that bailoutswindle.com policy achieves:
    5

    Hmm, a bit shorter than I was hoping.
    Wait a minute! What would be the result of achieving point 5? Well first how does bailoutswindle.com achieve point 5? It doesn’t do anything about nationalising (lets not pretend its saying anything different) the banks. No it doesn’t – politicians are crap bankers, if they weren’t they’d be on the banker gravy train instead of the political gravy train.
    But bailoutswindle.com policy does make the whole banking system economically accountable, not a public execution accountability, but it performs a shotgun marriage between the real economy and the financial sector. How often is the complaint made that the banks are divorced from the real economy?
    What other choice would bankers have, faced with the prospect of income tax set at 10 times whatever the unemployment percentage was, but to find firms to invest in for growth?
    What? Oh, they’d leave. Would they? Really? Even if they did, that would rebalance the economy – the financial sector is far too big.
    The financial sector is far too politically powerful, bailoutswindle.com kicks them in the fork.
    Emigrate or shoot them in the head – they can’t take our money in our banks with them; don’t let them fool you they can.

    The policy is as easy to do as Alistair Darling’s bonus tax – and if it doesn’t work as I assert it must, it can just as easily be undone – like the bonus tax.
    Talking of which, both Eds have proposed linking bankers tax to unemployment – so why is it do you think that no one you know of in a prominent position can even bring themselves to comment on bailoutswindle.com?
    Both Eds say repeat the bonus tax to fund youth jobs, in case you’ve forgotten, or didn’t realise that was a link between banker tax and unemployment level.
    Vince Cable’s failed Merlyn Project talked about taking bonuses away if target SME lending wasn’t met – and lending targets are a simple proxy for unemployment level. Why is no one prepared to see or state this fundamentally obvious fact?
    Its almost as if Rupert Murdoch has sold (more likely leased) his stake in Parliament to the British Bankers Association. Are you thinking bribery or blackmail?
    You remember Murdoch; they all congratulated each other in parliament for being brave for standing up to him when he was on his knees. None of them were spineless lickspittles or corrupt; Oh no! Well the Honourable Gentleman for bravely saying that something should have been done, which we are now, so we’re all going to concentrate on congratulating each other for doing next to nothing now when its late in the day and some else has taken the risk, well done us again.
    Did you even spot what they didn’t say? (Like Lisa Simpson on jazz; you got to listen to the notes they ain’t playin)

    Anyway, if you’re still reading, excellent, but there’s only so much you can read in these tiny fonted comments sections, and I’ve gone on at length.

    See me on Twitter @harryalffa. I truly welcome any critiques, and will, I predict, rebut & even refute anything you got!
    :)

    You’ll note Owen’s point 3 links tax and unemployment, but only for emergency action – after that its back to business as usual. Why’s that then? To prevent future incentives for banker corruption, why not make the link a permanent feature of our economy?

    I’m afraid I regard Owen Jones as a bit of a shill; he won’t support this policy ’cause it would meet with extraordinary resistance from the right wing and the media; bang goes his TV appearance money. He makes a point about nationalising the banks because he knows and we know and the bankers know he knows that no one takes the idea seriously. Seriously, do you know of anyone who thinks politicians should run the financial system? They are the ones who the bankers have co opted just now.

    Owen’s list is an opiate for the masses.

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