A fair deal
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Psalm 100. 1-3
With respect, our Prime Minister misses the point when he talks about "levelling up". That amounts to having your cake and eating it, which is a mandate for greed when there isn't enough. What we need is a fair deal, in which every citizen receives a "national wage", reflecting that we all have similar requirements - whether we are unemployed, single parents, professionals or retired - and we all share the dignity of being made in God's image. There should be limits in place to ensure that nobody receives more than a fair share of the world's resources, based on the number of people alive today and their legitimate aspiration to share the benefits enjoyed by those in economically prosperous countries.
Such a policy needs to go alongside a global clean-up operation - covering land, sea and air. Restoring these environments to provide for healthy biodiversity is essential if we are to arrest climate change and enable the recovery of species which are currently in decline or even in danger of extinction. And that includes our remote communities. If we want our islands and rural areas to sustain viable communities, we need to address the scandal whereby those born in such places and wanting to remain cannot afford houses because the prices have been inflated by wealthier bidders snapping them up for holiday homes. While in our cities, buying to let for investment or, worse, buying to neglect for speculative purposes needs to stop and prices allowed to subside to more realistic and affordable levels.
All communities require the infrastructure necessary to support their inhabitants and the lifestyles we aspire to, taking into account our need to reduce addiction to fossil fuels. That means access to health, financial services and education. Renewable energy and public transport systems which work for those who use them, rather than lining the pockets of shareholders of the private companies which currently operate too many of them. Most of us grumble about taxes because we do not appreciate their benefit. But, if more of the decisions governing their application were taken locally - by the people their goods and services benefit - perhaps attitudes might change?