The government I want will desire the best for its citizens – for all of them, not merely a few. It will look first to the welfare of the neediest and most deprived, to create a society that strives for equality, which those that have least given the most.
It will take ownership of the NHS, take responsibility for this most vital of services, not hold it at arm’s length, and keep it close, free from privatisation and profit, in the hands of the government and people, where it should be. It will be properly funded and staffed, a service of pride, not excuses.
The government I want won’t sell off its stock of social housing and then not replace it. Instead it will ensure that every person has a decent place to live, somewhere affordable. They will be a government that creates real jobs, not part-time employment or zero-hour contracts, and put into law that the minimum wage will be a living wage, one on which people can live, more barely exist.
The government I want will be made up of people of integrity, ones with no outside income or interests. Public servants in the truest sense, but also people with experience of the real world. No candidate would be eligible for selection until they’d held a job outside politics for 10 years, to know what existing on a wage packet means. Every expense would have to be justified, and every member of Parliament fully accountable to his or her constituents.
The government I want would tend to those who are disabled. It would ensure their carers were well paid, that they were trained and did a thorough job, that the companies carers worked for were thoroughly vetted.
The government I wanted would not be motivated by the profit to be found in everything, but by the way it could serve the people of the country. Sections of the population would not be demonised for political purpose. Politicians who lie to Parliament, especially to party ends, would be de-selected and dismissed without pensions. If what they did was illegal, they would be prosecuted without fear or favour, to the full extent of the law. Members of Parliament would receive a fair salary and expenses, but no raises beyond those of any other public servants.
The government I want would create fair taxation. No loopholes, no special exemptions, no deals made by HMRC with large corporations. Money earned in Great Britain would be taxed in Great Britain at the amount set in law. No excuses accepted.
The government I want would understand that this country is no longer a global power. Because of that, there’s no need to spend vast amounts on defence or to have a nuclear deterrent when the money involved could be spend for the benefit of people in the country.
The government I want would return public utilities – gas, electric, water, post office – to public ownership and use the money that would otherwise have gone on profits for investment in infrastructure.
Does this sound socialist? Probably it does. More likely it sounds like the Labour manifesto from 1945. And it’s worth remembering that they won a landslide that year.