An excerpt from a fictional political speech

(But when I read it, I hear it in the voice of Tony Blair.)

We hear a lot about immigration, but emigration is just as much of a problem if not more. Consider. Someone is brought up and educated in this country, and we all contribute to the cost of that, and then they go to university, so on top of the moral debt for their upbringing they incur a monetary debt as well, and then they can just say, thanks for everything, and go abroad to work for some other country. In effect, they are stealing the investment that the state -- and that means every single one of us -- has made in them, and that is something that hurts us all. When someone is mugged in the street, the mugger goes to jail, but when someone mugs the whole country, at present we do nothing at all and that cannot be right. My solution to this is to introduce citizenship accounts, in which every member of society can see exactly where they stand valuewise, and grant exit visas to everyone as long as they are showing a surplus.

And we also have to address an even bigger problem that I call internal emigration. There are people -- you may know some yourself -- who live in this country and accept all of its benefits, but work over the Internet for companies that are not based here, but could be anywhere in the world, creating value for them that should be created here while at the same time living off our resources. What I propose is an Internet Visa, which will ensure that those who can show a genuine need to access international networks can do so without the risk of selling out this country.

People talk about freedom of speech, but how much freedom is there when people cannot go on the Internet for fear of what they may see? How much freedom is there when anyone anywhere can say whatever they like, no matter how odious? How much freedom is there when anyone can go anywhere in the country, set up in business for themselves, and charge any price they like for anything they are selling, regardless of the harm they may be doing in pursuit of their own selfish profiteering? Real freedom is the freedom to speak the truth, the freedom to act fairly to others, not the freedom to lie and steal. My intention is to create a new Ministry of Truth to protect our precious freedom of speech, and a Ministry of Commerce to ensure that everyone works in the job that is best for them, and carries it out in the way that is best for the people, with fair market prices and fair rewards for everyone.

On the broader horizon, we need to consider the true meaning of democracy and consider whether elections are still fit for purpose in the twenty-first century. I see the role of Prime Minister not as being given power by the electorate to rule over them for five years but as about an ongoing process of managing their concerns through truly people-centred consultation processes which will achieve a continuity which I believe people really want instead of chopping and changing with every election. If you ask the man in the street what he wants, he doesn't care about abstract political ideologies, he wants the local council to mend holes in the road and he wants the trains to run on time, and going to the polls every few years just creates needless disruption.

The twentieth century was the century of the great experiment in democracy. But remember that the twentieth century was also the century of the worst wars in history. And so having put all of that chaos behind us it is time to ask ourselves what lessons we have learned from it, and to build on that for the future. The "hundred schools of thought" having contended, what flowers have bloomed and what have proven to be weeds? I think it's time to reexamine the whole idea of the people ruling themselves, because it really makes no sense when you think of it. A government cannot serve the people if people can just turn round every few years and say, we put you there to do a job but now we're not going to let you do it.

Before the democratic experiment, we had a feudal hierarchy with a single leader at the top serving the will of God, a single point of accountability, and there is a great strength to that. Of course, we cannot return to absolute monarchy, but a stable government that listens to the people day to day and carries out best practice policies informed by that consultation must be an enormous improvement on the present chaos. People talk about democracy, but how democratic is it to have a Parliament half filled by people whose job it is to oppose the democratically elected government? When the people choose a government, then that government should be able to carry out its mandate as a team, and teamwork is very important to me, a single team all pulling in the same direction under a single manager. I never forget that we politicians are public servants, carrying out the will of the people, and it makes no sense to have the servants always squabbling about how to do the housekeeping. And as team manager, I am just a servant of the public servants.

That's why my first acts as Prime Manager will be to dissolve Parliament and do away with political parties. We can no longer afford the luxury of having everyone's hand on the tiller, and with threats such as climate change and inequality requiring global solutions, we need everyone to work together for the good of the whole, not because of any compulsion, but because it is the right thing to do and when it comes down to it I believe that the vast majority of people do want to do the right thing. We have to regard any opposition to those solutions as a crime against humanity.

As one of our writers puts it, the feudal gutters, and the market merely shines, but the planned lases, everyone working coherently and efficiently with everyone else for agreed goals. One people! One Planet! One Prime Manager!

© Richard Kennaway, 2007.