You can argue all day about the meaning of equal rights in Britain.
For example, the old debate about equal pay for women in the workplace has been long since superceded by virtue-signalling conversations about BAME/LBGT/Trans quotas, unacceptable speech policies, ageism, carers rights, paternity/maternity leave and the generally shameful lip service paid to candidates with disabilities.
The only thing that’s generally agreed in the UK is that we all hate middle aged white guys. Because…erm, well they’re all racist Brexiteers aren’t they? Yeah. Except for Jezza Corbyn.
But there is a structural shift coming soon in the world of work, called automation. Soon, robots will be doing the driving jobs, warehouse forklift driving, picking and packing etc. In the white collar jobs market, AI software and SIRI-like helpers will see an end to that 21st century workhouse, the call centre. Insurance claims will be settled by AI, plus arguments over legal separations, wills, traffic offences and divorces will be sifted by software too, putting thousands of family law specialists out of work – although the rich will always demand a sly, devious human to defend their interests of course.
What that means is millions of jobs vanishing, forever. Not a temporary recession, but a revolution which will see humans lose out to technology that never sleeps, never goes sick, needs a holiday in Turkey, or an index-linked pension that lasts for over 30 years in some cases.
The only logical answer in developed economies like the UK, USA, EU zone, Canada, Australia etc is Universal Basic Income (UBI). Politicians hate to discuss the idea, because many live in the past, where `work’ is intrinsically seen as a good thing, a moral obligation which every decent citizen is willing to do.
But the fact is that over the last 20 years Britain has constructed a system which rewards those who choose to opt out of working for a living. The key to unlocking this largesse is children, as those who have them can receive a percentage of their rent, a fixed amount per month, per child, free prescriptions, plus child benefit on top. Many women – and it’s usually women who are lumbered with the childcare – have sussed that it is a complete waste of time working full-time. A typical call centre job may pay £17-£20K in the regions and about £22-£25K in London. But three children should generate about £1500 per month in income. That’s more than your take home pay, so the answer is to work 16 hours, lie about the true sleeping arrangements between your male partner and yourself, and rake in the cash for about 20 years. Beautiful.
But this is clearly a case of discrimination against single people, gay or lesbian couples who choose not to have children, or older people whose children have grown up and left home, thus taking away the Tax Credits revenue. In a fair society, everyone would free cash because the truth is that everyone will NEED it in a few years. Singletons won’t be able to work because there won’t be any jobs to apply for.
The sensible solution is to pay everyone, over the age of 18, an income of say £7000-£8000 a year, and allow them to keep any cash that earn on top. This would reward those who feel like starting a business, or simply working as hard as they can, whilst those who like to stay in watching Jeremy Kyle can do so, especially if they partner up officially and a household has £14,000-£16,000 a year coming in. You aren’t living in luxury, but you certainly wouldn’t starve, so long as you were able to live without a car, fags, booze each day or legal high festivals at the weekends.
Pensioners could keep their pension, ISAs, bonds, shares etc. on top of their UBI, thus offering an incentive to save long term, be prudent, not hedonistic. The incentive to keep breeding, in order to recive more benefits, would also vanish which will one day save our planet. As Attenborough noted, we are over-populating this island Earth and that is a problem which must be addressed. Or we all die of starvation, except the rich eleite, who are busy reserving all the glam jobs and posh housing for themselves, their families and chums.
Corbyn’s Labour should be bold and seize this policy idea, sell the dream of `work when you choose’ to the voters, not the endless squabbles of who is more politically correct than thou. Rebrand Labour as the Universal Equality Party and a huge section of the working – and non-working – class will place their X in the Labour candidate box in 2020. Who doesn’t like FREE cash, indigenous Brit and gangmaster enslaved migrant alike?
The virtue signalling Londonistas, who simply adore protesting about all kinds of social justice trivia, will love the idea of being paid to be a student forever, a writer, a musician, a dreamer, Twitter Manager, blogger or an X-Box player…this policy has massive appeal to the bone idle younger voter who has no ambition beyond leaving their parents back bedroom one day. Corbyn’s core supporters basically. So it’s win-win – new Momentum Labour meets old school working class and the most wonderful thing about it all is that we simply tax everything that people buy to pay for the UBI top up. Any shortfall can be supplied by QE- invented numbers on an ECB screen.
The future is bright, the future is UBI.