A 100-year plan for Britain: Society, Education, Justice, Welfare, Life and Death, Art, and Technology, the Earth.
Never has there been a more pressing need to examine constructive and sustainable strategies to transform and rebalance Social Order here in the UK. In the coming months, beginning with A Process for Democracy, I intend to sketch a sequence of proposals for the evolution of British society spanning the next one hundred years or so. Whilst my efforts will concentrate on the British Isles, I hope people from all corners of the planet will also engage in helping to establish some consensus on our individual and collective place within a global community, how we interact with each other and how to reclaim self-determination to achieve inclusive and fulfilling lives for all humankind.
Throughout history, there have been many periods when civilisations have been challenged, disrupted, and restructured, sometimes by invasion, at other times in response to natural affliction and occasionally through popular revolution. Over the last four thousand years, such events were often manipulated to feed religious empowerment as a means of subjugating populations. In parallel, on every continent from the Americas to Europe, from Eurasian Russia and across Indochina, clever, strong, and usually cruel men and women harnessed this zeal for supernatural deference to constitute their elite hierarchies. These kings, queens, politicians, and business leaders became progressively emboldened by an intrinsic belief in their divine right to rule and enriched their elevated status, and that of their officials, by skilful exploitation of malleable populations. From the beginning, except in a few rare examples, politics has been a tool for control and containment rather than to enable and enhance civilisation universally. This pattern persists today.
Democracy has not been the antidote to exploitation it was intended to be.
In its earliest manifestation democracy evolved to safeguard the masses against the excesses of rich and powerful individuals and organisations. Since its maturation in the late 1800s and onwards into the 21st Century, like the “religion industry” of old, democracy has increasingly been seized upon to validate discriminatory ideologies under the pretext of being endorsed by popular vote. Clearly, when 71% of enfranchised citizens in the UK did not vote for the incumbent Conservative government in 2019, this is a spurious claim. (ONS figures).
The principles of Accountability and Equality under the Law are the foundations upon which democracy was conceived.
They are the bedrock that enables democracy to function and yet these principles have become anathema to politicians charged with a duty to protect them. In fact, many in public office have developed a taste for lying, divisiveness, coercion, and fraud. These failings are nothing new, however, their practice has become more blatant and aggressive, largely because there is little or no effective retribution.
Even with unprecedented access, the ability to communicate relatively freely is making only minor or short-lived differences to the quality of people’s lives.
Over recent decades, the development of high technology has accelerated, especially in the fields of biotech, quantum supremacy, pharmacology, AI/robotics, and energy generation, harvesting and storage. Simultaneously, communications systems have advanced exponentially, instantly connecting people all over the globe, proliferating ideas, and activism. Within the framework of capitalism, all these platforms and networks are financially driven through privately controlled organisations. Paradoxically, in spite of these astonishing technological advances, we are experiencing significant regressions in social architecture exacerbated by climate breakdown, political autocracy, corruption, resource starvation, genocide and economically motivated warfare, entrenched poverty, and unbridled inequality. All these negative impacts are avoidable and yet nation-states, most usually the politicians that control them, show varying degrees of reluctance to address these issues when doing so would certainly contribute to the enrichment of humanity as a whole.
With these contentious issues in play, it’s no great challenge to conclude, on the balance of probability, humanity is at the cusp of a triangulation of marker events likely to precipitate significant social re-alignment not only in Britain but also globally.
For many in the UK, Government has become the enemy within, acting as an inhibitor to free and unfettered life.
Party politics promotes progressively retaliatory ideologies, bordering on vindictive, with the result that, generally speaking, each party’s outlook has become narrow, detached, unrealistic and elitist. These characteristics not only threaten the democratic process but directly impact the lives of men, women and children particularly in areas relating to immigration, welfare and response to national emergencies (COVID, poverty, inequalities etc.). Due in part to the lack of will to engage in any meaningful parliamentary opposition, we are already witnessing large scale but low-key protests against proposals to withdraw historic civil liberties.
By its nature, party politics is divisive and confrontational and more often than not produces results that are neither timely nor in the interests of the country’s citizens. I doubt there is a place for party politics in any properly considered reshaping of democracy.
It seems to me that tides are running inexorably towards revolution.
In Britain, it is unofficially acknowledged that centralised government can no longer be relied upon to make necessary provisions to sustain daily existence for a growing number of people many of whom are being pushed into relative and absolute poverty. Additionally, it is becoming increasingly obvious that Whitehall’s politically motivated interventions, tightening their control of regional and local councils, are generally obstructive to the needs of the communities they serve. As a result, in most areas of Britain inequalities and divisions are deepening.
Against a background of insipid leadership from all political parties, a significant tipping point will occur when a majority of the population realise that the state is essentially impotent in addressing these pressing issues or continues to ignore them. When confronted by the consolidated will of the population, predictably, even as change becomes inevitable, politicians of every stripe will no doubt exert extraordinary pressure to maintain their version of the status quo, at which point, it is most likely uprisings will quickly escalate into organised and specifically targeted hostility. Violence on the streets of our towns and cities will be the inevitable result of corrupt and incompetent political leadership.
This is one vision of the near future.
There is an abundance of extensively researched and intelligent papers, written by journalists and other experts, on the problems humanity faces. Their voices are joined by so many well-respected activists, thinkers, and academics from around the world however, it is astonishing that those with the power to make change happen, fail to hear them. As I say, the instruments that shape our society are badly broken.
I believe, as a nation, we must waste no time in radically and forensically evaluating the significance and worth of every facet of Britain’s functionality. In this process, I will focus mainly on solutions rather than become embroiled in the detail of everything that’s wrong.
1/ We must explore ways of redefining and reinforcing collective purpose regarding the management of Society (including but not exclusively, democracy and the democratic process, politics and the future of party politics, economics and the future of capitalism, culture and the role of historic conventions).
2/ At the heart of any reformation will be Education, as distinct from indoctrination. Over the last forty years, it is evident that students’ natural curiosity for the most part has driven any meagre success in British education programmes (nursery through to university), not structured learning imposed by centralised governments in line with transitory political ideologies. Therefore, I believe, we must consider, for example, the role of formal education in promoting redundant conventions and whether expanding the purpose of education outside political and capitalist frameworks would re-energise the importance of individual thinking and thus, over time help to re-balance society.
3/ We must evaluate the efficacy of our Justice System (including policing and enforcement)and consider rebuilding it from the ground up. And, for the Judiciary to make recourse and redress freely available to all citizens, not just those who can afford lawyers. Perhaps, in the process, we might evaluate what role AI might have in any restructuring.
4/ We must undertake a comprehensive study of both personal, community and national Welfare (including employment/occupation, social security, healthcare, and well-being).
5/ In parallel to the above, we must rethink our systemic perceptions of Life, perhaps in terms of quality rather than quantity, and of Death, to engender the evolution of holistic understanding, including the implications, for example, of preserving human life at almost any cost to the natural order.
6/ We must reignite our relationship with Art and Technology. While most people understand that these disciplines both separately and jointly shape the world we live in, we could explore further how, with their contrasting vitality, they can combine to create material phenomena greater than the sum of parts beyond the constraints of capitalism and privately financed initiatives.
7/ Finally, everything we plan for must be enacted in the context of the elemental support which makes our existence possible. It is an absolute imperative that we re-establish our connection with The Earth (including conservation and food production).
Your thoughts matter. I am looking for solutions, ideas, progressive thinking. There will be no censorship and no subjects are off-limits, all I ask is that your contributions are relevant and specific to whichever proposal you wish to make. Email me: email@example.com
Before embarking on this enterprise, I would like to declare some of the parameters and principles governing the process.
- Each plan will encompass the next 100 years and beyond.
- Each section or subject will fill no more than one side of A4 paper.
- The thoughts and propositions will be my own. Even having read widely and absorbed a great deal of illustrative information, as well as witnessing events for myself, my interpretations may be open to challenge. This, I welcome.
- Except in certain circumstances, I will not quote references. Sources are as available to the reader as they are to me and whilst the writings of others are often useful, in many cases as shortcuts to corroboration, it is personal thinking I wish to stimulate. Everyone is free to conduct research for themselves, as I have done.
- I assume readers understand the meaning of Society, Justice, Life and Death, Healthcare and Well-being, Education, Art and Technology, and The Earth.
- I don’t give a damn about political correctness particularly when used as a weapon against freedom of thought and expression. However, hate speech and prejudice are different matters.
© Rivenrod 2021