Ed Miliband?? Time to use the Green Party’s secret weapon

Once again I use a Johnny Void blog, but as usual, I hope to take what he says further. It may be worth remembering that Ed only got 17% on the first leadership ballot. He got less than the 20% average with 5 candidates. He was no more elected than, as Johnny Void frequently points out, this government was. But I am being unfair. With about 8 honourable exceptions, the entire Labour Party abstained, to let through one of Iain Duncan Smith’s nastier reversals of a court judgment against a harsh cut in benefits.
The whole pattern, and Ed is the right ‘Leader’ for the Labour Party in this respect, is that they will continue this government’s anti- poor strategy, only more efficiently. This particular episode, an attack on youth, see Johnny Void, is just more egregious than most.
On reading the long comment stream on Johnny Void’s blog, I was intrigued to see that the TUSC actually advocate what I have been advocating all along – a Citizens Basic Income. Having only just discovered this, I have not yet looked into it. But I can spell out how it would work in this context.
Every school leaver will receive the Citizens’ BI. Details will vary, but in Leeds, assuming an average rent for a one bed flat of £75pw, all adults will receive £175p.w School leavers might not get the full amount immediately. That can be negotiated later.
How will it be paid for? Several of my posts already explain that means testing is the same as a tax. The evidence for this is, incredibly, provided by Iain Duncan Smith’s own report Dynamic Benefits, towards welfare that works (click ‘Publications’ – Sept 2009) It is intolerable that anyone on low income has more taken away than anyone on a higher income. All the Cits BI does is replace means testing with a fair tax system without the need for workfare or sanctions.
So if school leavers decide to do nothing, they can. But anyone who does anything will immediately be better off. I hear success stories from young people who founded their own businesses on leaving school. Fine. If it works, they are on their way. If it doesn’t, they will still have the Cits BI, and can try again, learning from experience. And all the while, the ones who do something are better off than those, if any, who do nothing. But that is the point. There won’t be any ‘scroungers’. Iain Duncan Smith and his gang are fond of claptrap about people being happier and healthier working. I actually believe that, and think it should be tried, instead of workfare and sanctions. At least this government that wasn’t elected has a recognizable, nasty agenda, even if they are making a hash of it. But Ed Miliband and his zombie sheep are incapable of seeing that persuasion is better than force, as Aesop said 3000 years ago. Does anyone else have this kind of visionary foresight? The Green party perhaps? Or must the Citizens’ Basic Income remain its secret weapon?

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