Sunday 11 October 2020

The Lanchester Manifesto

  1. We reaffirm the Lanchester Declaration. The currency-issuing power of the State is such that the entire benefits system should be replaced with a Universal Basic Income no lower than anyone already received in benefits, undergirding the Jobs Guarantee, and paid through the Treasury, thereby making possible the abolition of the Department for Work and Pensions. It is time to implement Theresa May’s original Prime Ministerial agenda of workers’ and consumers’ representation in corporate governance, shareholders’ control over executive pay, restrictions on pay differentials within companies, an investment-based Industrial Strategy and infrastructure programme including greatly increased housebuilding, action against tax avoidance including a ban on public contracts for tax-avoiding companies, a cap on energy prices, a ban or significant restrictions on foreign takeovers, a ban on unpaid internships, and an inquiry into Orgreave.
  2. We need a minimum of 100,000 new homes every year for at least 10 years, including council homes with an end to the Right to Buy, with the capital receipts from council house sales released in order to build more council housing, and with councils empowered to borrow to that end. We need a minimum of 50 per cent of any new development to be dedicated to affordable housing, with affordability defined as 50 per cent of average rents. We need rent controls, action against the buying up of property by foreign investors in order to leave it empty, repeal of the Vagrancy Act, and the outlawing of practices such as “poor doors”.
  3. Including high speed rail, but not restricted to it, the renationalised rail service should be the backbone of a rebuilt network of public transport, free at the point of use, and extending to every village. Returned to public ownership, there should be a National Grid for water, with water and energy free at the point of use, within an all-of-the-above energy policy based around civil nuclear power and around this country’s vast reserves of coal and lithium. The State should ensure both the manufacture in this country of the vehicles that could be run on that domestically produced electricity, and the universal availability of charging points. Legislation should annul all convictions and other adverse court decisions arising out of the three Miners’ Strikes since 1970, as well as Clay Cross, Shrewsbury, and Wapping, while also securing justice for the victims of the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme scandal.
  4. Enactment of the NHS Reinstatement Bill should be accompanied by the abolition throughout the United Kingdom of prescription charges, of eye and dental charges, and of hospital car parking charges, as well as by the creation of the National Care Service. The Fifth of July, the anniversary of the creation of the National Health Service, should be the United Kingdom’s National Day, with Saint George’s Day, Saint Andrew’s Day, Saint David’s Day and Saint Patrick’s Day also public holidays throughout the United Kingdom. Apprentices and trainees should enjoy the same benefits as their peers in further and higher education, and vice versa. Higher education should be fully funded all the way to doctoral level, with lifelong access. The training and other standards for the private sector to match should be set by national and municipal public ownership. Parents are the first educators of their children. The Relationship and Sex Education curriculum should conform to the Science curriculum. Independent schools provide views such as ours with a platform denied by state schools. 
  5. We should require the approval of the House of Commons for changes to interest rates, introduce a Glass-Steagall division between investment banking and retail banking, extend the Freedom of Information Act to the City of London, and conform its municipal franchise to that of local government in general. All tax havens under British jurisdiction should be closed, non-domiciled tax status should be abolished, the Big Four accounting firms should be broken up, auditors should be banned by Statute from selling extras, and they should have unlimited liability. Crown immunity should be abolished. Limited Partnerships and Limited Liability Partnerships should be required to have at least one member who was a natural person resident in the United Kingdom. The State should buy a stake in every FTSE 500 company, large enough to secure Board-level representation, for the exercise of which both the First Lord of the Treasury and the Chancellor of the Exchequer would be accountable to the House of Commons. After any investment in public services, the dividends would be distributed equally to everyone by the Treasury. Public bodies and public contractors should be required to buy British wherever possible, and to buy local wherever possible. Employment rights should begin with employment, and apply regardless of the number of hours worked. There should be a four-day working week by 2100. Our people should be active in the trade unions appropriate to their jobs where applicable, or otherwise in Unite Community. The unions are crucial to the necessary mutualisation of the gig economy. Every part of this country should be on the Belt and Road, and we should encourage the building of one or more Bering Strait crossings, as part of a wider and deeper realignment with the BRICS and other emerging economies on the understanding that “development is the new word for peace”. The principles of the Antarctic Treaty should be extended to Outer Space. 
  6. We should end this country’s poisonous relationship with the Gulf monarchies. Instead of NATO, we need bilateral nonaggression treaties with all other European countries including Russia, with the United States, and with Canada. We need nonaggression treaties with the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and with the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, and preferably with each of their members bilaterally. There should be no foreign military bases on British soil, but justice for Harry Dunn, and self-determination for the Chagossian people. We stand with Julian Assange. Instead of Trident, an extra £70 billion should be given to each of the Royal Navy, the British Army, and the Royal Air Force. Military force should be used only ever in self-defence and with the approval of the House of Commons. BAE Systems should be renationalised as the monopoly supplier to our own Armed Forces, with a ban on all sale of arms abroad, and with a comprehensive programme of diversification.
  7. There should be a Coroner’s Inquest into the death of Dr David Kelly, a Coroner’s Inquest into the Manchester Arena attack, a Coroner’s Inquest into the death of Dawn Sturgess, an action to challenge the legality of the bombing of Syria after the confirmation by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons that no nerve agent had been used at Douma, an action before the International Criminal Court against those who had brought slavery back to Libya, and an action before the High Court of Justiciary of Scotland inviting it to exercise its declaratory power against those who had waged war on Iraq in 2003. The present British funding of the White Helmets and of the “Free Syrian Police” should be diverted to our own emergency services. The Integrity Initiative, the Institute for Statecraft, and the 77th Brigade, should all be disbanded. The Statute Law should specify that aid to any given country be reduced by the exact cost of any space programme, or of any nuclear weapons programme, or of any nuclear submarine programme, or of any foreign aid budget of that country’s own, with the money thus saved remaining within the International Development budget, and with the 0.7 per cent target intact, but with a ban on the funding of offences against the sanctity of life.
  8. Parliament should legislate that the withdrawal of nutrition and hydration was intentional killing. Funds should be diverted to palliative care, to the hospice movement, and to research on adult and cord blood stem cells. We need to ban Fixed Odds Betting Terminals, empower local authorities to limit the number of gambling venues, insist on the use of that power, end gambling on television, end the advertising of gambling other than at venues such as casinos and betting shops, and ban gambling with credit cards. There should be no further deregulation of Sunday trading. We need a single category of illegal drug, including cannabis, with a crackdown on possession, including a mandatory sentence of three months for a second offence, six months for a third offence, one year for a fourth offence, and so on. We need to restore the specific criminal offence of allowing one’s premises to be used for illegal drug purposes. Peter Hitchens’s The War We Never Fought should be taught in schools. 
  9. Families need fathers. All aspects of public policy should take account of the urgent social and cultural need for highly paid, highly skilled, high status employment as the economic basis of paternal authority, and thus of the paternal responsibility. We need a legal presumption of equal parenting, the restoration of the tax allowance for fathers for so long as Child Benefit were being paid to mothers, the restoration of the requirement that providers of fertility treatment take account of the child’s need for a father, the repeal of the ludicrous provision for two persons of the same sex to be listed as a child’s parents on a birth certificate, paternity leave available up to a set maximum at any time until the child was 18 or left school, and a foreign policy that did not entail tearing fathers away from their children in wars. We need to give any marrying couple the right to register their marriage as bound by the divorce law that obtained prior to 1969, give any religious organisation the right to specify that any marriage that it conducted would be so bound, give existing married couples the right to re-register their marriages as being so bound, and remove the restriction of civil partnerships to unrelated couples. The whole concept of gender self-identification should be banished. 
  10. We need to make it a criminal offence for anyone aged 21 or over to buy or sell sex, with equal sentencing on both sides. The Universal Basic Income, the Jobs Guarantee, and the dividends from the public stakes in the FTSE 500 companies, would remove any conceivable excuse for prostituting oneself. We need a criminal offence of sexual activity with any person under the age of 18 who was more than two years younger than oneself, with a maximum sentence equal to twice the difference in age, abolition of different rules for “positions of trust”, and a ban on abortion or contraception for those under 18 at least without parental knowledge and consent. We need the replacement of the existing categories of sexual assault with aggravating circumstances to the general categories of offences against the person, such that the sentences could be doubled. There should be no anonymity either for adult defendants or for adult complainants. We need to rule out the legal possibility of being a specifically sexual assailant below the age of consent, and specify that intoxication was a bar to sexual consent only insofar as it would have been a bar to driving. We need to end the blocking of progress into paid or voluntary work even though one had been acquitted. C5 notices should be outlawed. 
  11. We need to reverse the erosion of trial by jury and of the right to silence, reverse the existing reversals of the burden of proof, abolish conviction by majority verdict, extend throughout the United Kingdom the Scots Law requirement for corroborating evidence, require that the prosecution present its case within 12 weeks of charge, and require judges to instruct juries to convict only and specifically beyond reasonable doubt. The Universal Basic Income, the Jobs Guarantee, and the dividends from the public stakes in the FTSE 500 companies, would give everyone the “stake in society” to be a juror. We need to abolish the Crown Prosecution Service, restore the pre-1968 committal powers of the magistracy, abolish the admission of anonymous evidence other than from undercover Police Officers, exclude the possibility of conviction on anonymous evidence alone, restore the protection against double jeopardy, and end the secrecy of the family courts, the right to cross-examine in which ought not to be removed by mere accusation. There should be nothing like identity cards or control orders, including to vote, where photo identification requirements would heavily favour our opponents over our people. We need the abolition of Police confiscation of assets without a conviction, and of stipendiary magistrates sitting alone. We need to repeal the Civil Contingencies Act, the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act, the Official Secrets Acts, one-sided extradition arrangements, and the provision for “no win, no fee” litigation. We need to restore and extend Legal Aid, and return to preventative policing based on foot patrols, with Police Forces at least no larger than at present, and with police stations at the heart of their communities. MI5 should be disbanded in favour of highly specialised Police Officers. There should be “investment in youth services, mental health and social care, education, jobs and housing: key services to support the most vulnerable before they come into contact with the criminal justice system.” 
  12. We should transfer each Royal Prerogative to seven, eight or nine of nine Co-Presidents, with each of us voting for one candidate, and with the top nine elected; in practice, at least one of those would protect traditional values, unlike any institution in living memory. Candidates for the House of Commons should have to be British citizens in Great Britain, or British or Irish citizens in Northern Ireland, but there should be no nationality requirement for voting, thereby giving Americans and Israelis equality with Pakistanis and Bangladeshis, while strengthening Christian witness. If the number of Commons constituencies were to be reduced to 600, then the whole country should elect an additional 50 MPs, with each of us voting for one candidate, and with the top 50 elected. Two sets of 50 Senators should be elected from among self-nominees, with each of us voting for one candidate, and with the top 50 elected at the end. In one case, electors and candidates would have to be British citizens resident in Great Britain, or British or Irish citizens resident in Great Britain or Northern Ireland. There would be a minimum age of 21 to vote, and of 30 to stand. In the other case, electors would have to be resident in the United Kingdom, but there would be no nationality requirement. It is already possible to stand for Parliament from anywhere in the world, so there would be neither a nationality requirement nor a residency requirement to be a candidate. There would be a minimum age of 16 to vote, but, recalling posthumous sons who inherited peerages at birth, there would be no minimum age to stand. In either case, there would be no deposit, and any casual vacancy would be filled by the next highest scoring candidate who was willing and able. In each Commons constituency, there should be precisely one candidate, of any party or none, who subscribed to the Lanchester Declaration and to this Lanchester Manifesto.

David Lindsay, Lanchester, County Durham
Mark McNally, Consett, County Durham