THE BLOG

Six Ways to Turn the Country Around

04/02/2014 12:23 GMT | Updated 05/04/2014 10:59 BST

A credible government needs a credible opposition. Only by having someone who can say "No. You are wrong, this is how we can do that better" can a government claim some legitimacy. It means that someone is keeping an eye on them. It's why dictatorships, usually remove all opposition. If there's no one to tell you you are wrong, you can do what you like.

The problem is that in this country our opposition is no longer credible. Labour and the Conservatives long ago merged into one amorphous blob, each spouting off the same basic ideas. Oh there will be some key differences, but I think most people would agree that living under the coalition government doesn't feel any different to living under the Blair/Brown governments.

What is needed is new ideas. Ideas that will, if put into place, change people's lives for the better and, perhaps, get people voting again. These are the six things I think need to be considered by any future government.

1: Sort out the tax system

This is probably the most important one. People are tired of those with the most money somehow getting away with paying the least amount of tax, either through loopholes or just an unfair tax system. This system needs to be completely rewritten, with all the loopholes closed, and it needs to be made clear that those with the most will pay their fair share.

2: NHS and Welfare

Our National Health Service and Welfare State, used to be things we were proud of and things no government would have dared touch. Free healthcare at point of entry and a system that helps those who need it most. Now the NHS is being sold off for profit and the welfare system is being stripped bare to pay for other things to the detriment of those who use it. We need to go back to the vision of Attlee and Bevan.

3: Local Government

Local government is a mess. Too many different systems, too far removed from the people who use it. In fact I would be willing to bet most people can't name their local councillor. We need a new system in place, with proper accountability, and useful devolved powers, so that local problems can be solved by local people, freeing up Westminster for the big things.

4; Industry

We used to make things and produce things and export things. Now everything occurs in cyberspace and we just move money about from one account to another. We need to bring industry - and in turn jobs - back to this country, so we can finally be proud of something other than the Square Mile.

5: Education

Our education system has simply become about fact retention, about learning exactly what you need to pass the exam and nothing else. We need to change that. We need to go back to learning for the sake of learning, and make sure that future generations leave school with real marketable skills and a thirst for more knowledge.

6: More democracy

We need to hold more referendums in this country. Not on everything, but on major issues. The government needs to be able to trust people and rather than thinking they know what's best for us, ask us. Then act on what we tell them. That's what representative democracy is supposed to be about.

None of these things will ever come to pass, of course. But if they did, we would finally have a country we could be proud of.