Building a Progressive Policy Platform: New Thinking to Transform a Society in Crisis.
There comes a time when politics can just get into a rut. Although faced with immense economic, social and environmental crises, the ideas that dominate political debate are often simply re-treads of past failed policies.
The New Thinking series of discussions in the House of Commons, which will present innovative ideas to shake up this status quo. The first events in the series are listed here, with further information in the agenda section below:
- 27 March, 7pm – How private corporations stole the sea
- 24 April, 7pm – Five simple steps to eradicate poverty
- 22 May, 7pm – How do you tax the rich and powerful?
- 26 June, 7pm – Wiping out debt
Guy Standing, Professor of Development Studies, SOAS. For most of human history, the oceans have been seen as a global commons, which belong to us all. But our seas are now being ravaged by exploitation for corporate profit, resulting in a social, economic and ecological crisis that threatens the life support system of Earth. The oceans cover 70% of the surface, provide half the oxygen we breathe and help combat climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide. Guy Standing’s book, ‘The Blue Commons’, argues the only way forward is to revive the ethos of the sea as a commons, managed for the benefit of all, by those whose lives and wellbeing depend on it.
24 April, 7pm – Five simple steps to eradicate poverty
Danny Dorling, Halford Mackinder Professor of Geography, University of Oxford. We live in a world of enormous inequality. The richest 1% own almost half of all wealth while half the population lives in poverty. in 2015, 10% of the world’s population – 734 million people – lived on less than $1.90 a day. After Covid, Southern Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa are expected to see the largest increases in extreme poverty, with an additional 58 million people living below the international poverty line. In Britain, one in five were in poverty in 2020/21 – 13.4 million whose choices are bleak or non-existent, including 3.9 million children. But it doesn’t have to be this way – we can still make poverty history if the will is there to do it.
22 May, 7pm – How do you tax the rich and powerful?
The last decade has seen wages and welfare benefits cut or frozen whilst the asset-wealth and incomes of the rich massively grow, with our tax system guaranteeing especially the rising wealth of super rich. The blatant unfairness of our tax system has even prompted a group of millionaires, called the “Patriotic Millionaires,” to call for increased taxes on the rich. And despite all the rhetoric from government politicians, the tax avoidance industry has been hardly dented. Fair taxation must be placed back on the agenda to meet the challenges of funding public services, eliminating poverty and investing to tackle climate change. Whatever the rich and powerful may say, it can be done!
26 June, 7pm – Wiping out debt
Debt devastates the lives of individuals, communities, regions and entire nations, and has grown enormously during the pandemic. StepChange estimated in November 2020 there was £10 billion of Covid-related debt in Britain, with the number of people in severe debt problems doubling to 1.2 million. Alongside this is the student debt scandal. Over £17 billion is loaned to students in England annually. The value of outstanding loans in March 2020 reached £140 billion. And the international debt crisis is growing. Many countries were already in or near debt crisis before coronavirus, and the economic impacts of the crisis have made the situation far worse.