Human rights have become toxic in Britain. There is no genuine public debate over the issue - debates are supposed to be two sided, and progressive forces have not yet found a successful response to calls to scrap the Human Rights Act and withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights... However, research on public attitudes suggests that this is a debate that pro-human rights forces could win.
What's been missing in the public debate, and deserves particularly focus in this, Living Wage Week, is the failures of distribution of the wealth of our society that has seen millions left without the means of basic survival; that half a million people are, today, in the sixth-richest country in the world, dependent on food banks, should be considered a driver for major, immediate, change.
Reverse the Tory trend towards equalising corporate tax rates for small and big businesses, push rates back up for large companies and lower them for smaller ones, and slash VAT to boost the high street. It's time to move to a basic principle of a fair day's work for a fair day's pay. It's time for a mandatory living wage.
Russell Brand told us it was time for a revolution. And we can see the logic to his reasoning. People are suffering as never before, through no desire or fault of their own. And when the Appeal Court twice in one week have deemed government action illegal - over aspects of the NHS privatisation and on Workfare - it could seem that now is as good a time as any to revolt.
MPs are incredibly lucky. We have a job that we love. Most people are not so lucky. Many would love to work but don't have a job and many more do the right thing and take a job that doesn't pay very well and which they don't enjoy to make ends meet. These are the people whose side this Government must be on.
As people begin to earn money from a job, benefits are withdrawn, meaning that their net position is not very much better off. Here's where the Living Wage might help... I don't think paying the Living Wage can be compulsory. But this is a left wing campaign that Conservatives, including the Mayor of London and the Government, can and should support.
As you may well know, last week Labour leader, Ed Miliband, announced that if Labour were to form the next government they would encourage businesses to pay employees the Living Wage (approximately £8.55) by cutting business rates or tax levels for those that do. As someone who employees 20-30 people (some on PAYE and others freelance) at the London Jewellery School, I whole-heartedly welcome these plans.
Treating employees with dignity and respect is not just good for people, it's good for business. Research shows that workers are more productive when they're happier,
Ed Miliband's proposals to make the living wage a central tenant of the Labour Party's next manifesto have brought renewed attention to the role of ethics and social responsibility in business: we now have a rare opportunity to make the point that doing business responsibly is entirely compatible with both profitability and competitive advantage.
Political parties who want to be in the running for the next election will have to start taking notice of public anger about the UK's unacceptable levels of income inequality. They must set out credible and ambitious policies to achieve a meaningful reduction in our destructive levels of income inequality and arrest the damage to our health, society and economy.
Investors and business leaders - on whom the country's economic recovery depends, can no longer be certain of the UK's liberty and protection under the law. At the very time other crisis economies are cutting costs and increasing certainty, business in the UK will have to contend not just with statutory rules and the costs they impose on employers. They will also face the consequences of pressure-group politics, in which politicians abandon the labour market to the unpredictable operations of twilight law.