Here is my election manifesto for 2015
I wish the political parties had a few of these - they all seem to be pledging the same boring things - no ethics or ambition involved ! What one would you add or write your own manifesto for change !
1 Children - children deserve the best start in life. Families deserve time to learn to become a family and to be able to understand their child's needs. Many families need support in learning how to play with their children, how to feed them and how to enjoy being with them. This means families need funding. Funding should not just be going to pay for other people to care for young children. Our brain pathways are built in those first precious months and years of development. If the early years are stressful out brains in future will react quickly to stress and produce more cortisol, the stress hormone - this is a fact. So come on politicians, FAMILY FUNDING PLEASE ! And this should take account of total family income, as parents often give and take - it really does take more than one parent or adult to help bring up children. All family circumstances are different, some have lots of friends or grandparents, some have two parents, some have one parent. Some have a parent who works for long hours or works abroad (very common where I live). For this reason I believe that family funding should be based on total income and should perhaps follow the child themselves. But whether parents use childcare or do the care themselves BOTH MUST BE RECOGNISED. And I don't know an awful lot about Sure Start centres, but they might form the basis of a good idea. And toddler groups and playgroups should get the full support of society.
2 Animals - animals also deserve the best. We have lived alongside dogs, cats, cattle, sheep, pigs and horses for millions of years of human development. These animals are mammals and care strongly for their young. So they should be allowed to grow in family groups. We should not overexploit them for their milk. Currently dairy cattle have their calves removed at birth and must produce vast quantities of milk. This cant be comfortable for them. Surely someone somewhere can work out a method where the cattle can filter through the milking barn with their associated calf alongside ? I mean the calves are still going to drink the same amount of milk overall. And do you know that pigs are highly intelligent and can play football ?! Yet in the EU there are still some places where they are kept in small stalls. This should not be allowed. And even with regards to hens/chickens these need better treatment. Who wants to eat meat from an animal which has had virtually no life. The current breeds of chicken are developed to produce meat as quickly as possible and look quite ridiculous. I wonder how good this really is for us to be eating. We should also be promoting more vegetarian options in some way, encouraging people to eat the wonderful vegetable produce produced by our farmers. And finally we need to ensure that slaughter methods, if these have to be used, are the most humane possible. They should probably be killed by the captive bolt method and this should be supervised by CCTV. The animals should not have any fore-warning of what is happening. But as I type that it makes me feel physically sick to think that we would do this to peaceful animals. We should only be caring for them, not eating them. For the sake of the planet as well, we get more energy from farms if we eat crops directly rather than feeding them to animals. So it makes sense ecologically and economically. And we must not give in to religious pressure to change the way animals are killed. Surely any religion would agree that we must look after the animals. Simples - as the Meerkats say !
3 Climate Change
This is a big concern and needs sorted - guy on Radio 4 this morning talking about how this should be in election manifestos. (22 April 2015)
4 Nuclear Power
As a scientist I have a fair understanding of nuclear power, but the after effects are shocking. The time that it is going to take the products to decay are unacceptable. We need to find another method of power. And how stupid is it to build Hinkley B (is that the name of the new one ?) right next to the sea when sea levels are inevitably going to rise ? Doh !!!!
World finance needs sorted out. Banks and accountants have pulled the wool over many people's eyes and completely disrupted the world financial systems so they are in a terrible mess. Gamblers and crooks should not be in charge !
MOnsanto should not be allowed to control the world's seeds. This company needs to be stopped. And rumours are that the weedkiller it produces - RoundUp is carcinogenic.
7 Other big organisations
The same goes for Nestle, Proctor & Gamble, Price Waterhouse Cooper (PWC) - many companies have been caught up in less than ethical practises and need to be stopped. Its not like any of these companies (and others eg Starbucks, Amazon) actually need the money !
8 Ecopackaging - biodegradable materials
Following on from the previous issue, companies should be required to use biodegradable components in for example nappies, pads, packaging, feminine hygiene products, washing powders etc. Companies should be required to use such things as starch etc which will biodegrade, unless they can provide evidence that the material they have used is the only possible material that can be used. For example look at how many solid plastic boxes for Persil washing liquitabs are just being thrown away and not used - this is ridiculous - the liquitabs could be in a dispenser at the shops and you could bring your box along to be re-filled. Easy to do and masses of plastic saved. Good for the environment and good for saving valuable and finited natural resources.
9 Online Pressures on Teenagers and Children
Children are living with a very different environment even from 10 years ago and need to learn to live with it but also to be protected from it. They need to be able to discern what is good to watch and what is not good to watch. What is a good way to live ? What do you want out of life and are you going to consider other people too ? Society has become very materialistic. Personally I am quite horrified by some people I see, driving gas guzzling cares too fast (bought on credit! or via dodgy business expenses), along with dyed hair/false eyelashes/fake tan. I'm sorry but how did we come to this ? Lets get our kids out playing, walking, enjoying life. My kids enjoyed visiting an outdoor centre but were confined to their rooms some of the time due to the experience in previous years where other kids misbehaved. Some just do not have any idea nowadays where the limits of behaviour are. And I have seen this at kids parties too. So we need to get our kids onto a firm foundation again (this follows on from Point 1). Then we might have some hope that they can withstand the onslaught of celebrity trash/porn/self harming sites/social media comments etc. And they will hopefully have some ambition then to improve society themselves as well.
10 Care Homes / Nursery Businesses
These are two areas where functions used to be done by the state and are now increasingly in private hands. A friend pays £1,000 a week for her father to be in a care home. So all that money has come from selling his house. Yet even at that he doesnt seem to get particularly good care. When I looked up the profits of the big Care Home companies, they appear to take 33% profit and many companies are linked to each other. Disgraceful !
The same happens with nursery businesses and nursery chains. Many of these are active on Twitter and Facebook etc, and via all sorts of lobbying organisations and are gradually getting money out of out gullible MPs who believe everything they say. Organisations backing the family are unfortunately more pre-occupied with actually caring for their own kids and just don't seem to get much airtime/lobbying time etc.
But this is not how it was supposed to be. There seems to be two extremes - wasteful resources and people if its public sector (I have heard many cases from people working there and have done myself although most people work very hard) but the situation is probably even worse when the private sector is involved.
11 Huge retirement funds in public sector - particularly national government and MP, MSP jobs - Also dealing with Retirement Age - "active" jobs and "slowing down a bit" jobs
Why should MPs retire with a full pension as though they have worked for 40 years ? This should not happen. I dont know how extensive it is but I have heard of it happening. Maybe they can get a small payout if they lose their seat, but many people are now in temporary employment - its pretty normal now.
Secondly if some people have retirement age set at 67 then so should everyone. National government civil service jobs I suspect are still sitting at age 60. This is not on. And fireman are retiring at 50 = ridiculous ! They should perhaps be assigned a less active role eg a desk job if they are no longer fit for the job. But again why does anyone feel that the employer is responsible for employing them for life ? I mean where did this idea come from ? As a person who always worked in temporary jobs, much as I'd have loved a permanent job, I just do not get this ! If you can't do the job then you are redundant ! End of !! I am sure many people working in physical occupations need to have a re-think at about age 50 eg foresters, farmers, footballers !! etc Much better to employ all those under-employed young fit people who seem to have to work at Tesco, in the active roles and let those who want to slow down a bit work at Tesco for a while !!
So really that is two issues to do with retirement,