As well as rethinking where parliament could be relocated to, temporarily or permanently while the London buildings are repaired and refurbished, parliament needs to make space for change, debate and discussion about better representation because we need to solve social issues.
We need to rejuvenate and revitalise the economy and warehouse capitalism, to reinvent the high street with independent businesses so that learning and retailing combines the best of a knowledgeable and ethical supply chain and 21st century technologies so that everyone at every age feels comfortable, safe and able to plan their own individual life and to participate in the village, town or city.
We need to remove the socially and culturally hostile environment of the building, manufacturing and service supply chain in jobs and resources and uncouple them from gang and gig labour thinking and an obsession with property as a source of wealth and status.
Fear that the gang and gig labour economy with all its attendant distractions of gambling, drugs and crime has meant that families have been steered into (itself lucrative for providers of these services), succession planning as a survival strategy rather than being part of a developing process where life chances evolve and are shared.
At the moment, although the middle class are adept in these strategies, it’s at the price of feeling they can influence the quality of cultural, social and economic life outside their own families. What’s the point of having money when, as a person, you really need to feel that things are getting better for everyone. The rentier system of buying property instead of developing meaningful jobs between profession and the gig/gang labour economy has encouraged an apparent sense that people just couldn’t care less about each other.
Over emphasis on social difference through property owning has created a way of thinking where children feel too much obligation to their parents and ironically this can express itself as rejection and even self harm. A world that over respects the ownership of property and the status of property owning also locks down social and racial relations based on preconceptions and unconscious bias so that children only socialise with children who are like themselves. It’s too difficult for children to articulate ideas about difference unless they’re encouraged and if it’s something that they vaguely feel is wrong but noone talks properly about it then that curiosity about the world withers.
Children of overprivileged and underprivileged backgrounds are by turns over and under protected from the kinds of experiences where they might learn and make their own way, on their own terms. As a result relations between the generations have become inauthentic and transactional and it’s the biggest obstacle to social innovation and mobility.
We need to get organic relationships back where there’s respect and expectation of surprise and genuine interest between people: we all have a right to space in society, we all have a right to grow, develop and thrive.
There’s nothing wrong in owning a property but when you realise how everyone outside the property owning environment has time limited rights in work and accommodation that could change at any moment; then imagine what it’s like for a child growing up in a world where ‘outside’ home is seen as random and dysfunctional. As a child you might wonder why ‘these people’ can’t own property, can’t have a decent job and you might think it’s because they’re inferior. Unless there’s a balanced conversation where you can learn, you just don’t: in turning parliament into a business we’ve forgotten how alive we all are and how deadened so many of the population feel: that their lives are only about work and exploitations of all kinds.
Parliament should be about drawing perspective, for more people, more of the time.
For example, to resolve social inequalities we need to reduce the numbers of properties that landlords can own to fifty maximum: landlords should have far more understanding of the social obligations as well as social and cultural potential in renting and we should be more transparent and accountable in admitting how lucrative renting is and how diminishing it is for tenants over a lifetime. If, for example, landlords shared the cost of council tax that would financially balance and socially equalise the relationship. We often hear about the morality of so-called unearned benefits but we rarely hear about the moral impact on the culture of the unearned revenue streams of the rentier economy.
If you haven’t got access to a richer sense of what democracy, culture and representation means, if you’re a child growing up where you’re either over or underprivileged, then you also have a sense that things were always thus. You feel the stasis in society, lack of shared purposeful movement, motion and activity – but somehow you also know, rich or poor, that massive inequality in society makes everyone ill, makes everyone feel wasted and diminished.
If you have no idea that there is a longer view of life, history and culture, that parliament and news are important systems trying to evolve, represent and help more people reach their potential, more of the time, well, you might just start believing the tabloid stories that these are ‘people who don’t care’, ‘don’t want to work’, ‘don’t want to buy a house’ who ‘want to drink’, ‘take drugs’
When we create a ‘lumpen proletariat’, we also allow people’s lives to be written for them, underwritten by predators so they can be ‘written off’.
We need a different understanding of who we are that’s less arrogant.
We need to create new jobs between the professions and the gig and gang labour economy those exploitative systems redundant. In creating new jobs, new ways of living, working and socialising, we can rejuvenate. The hostile environment is the way that over the last thirty years that a movement away from parliamentary democracy and accountability into a corporate and supply chain governance of social inclusion and social mobility has been engineered. 7 million people no longer vote and I think it’s because this way of working has disenfranchised so many people in the UK. It’s failed us all and we can all see that we desperately need parliament to work to build a space in society where the new can happen for all of us.
Companies can’t run societies and neither should they be tasked with running society. Companies make things and offer services and people need a break from work. In our current incarnation we are a society and government that think we’re a company.
We’re much more than that.
Parliament itself has been seen to be in need of rejuvenation during Brexit. It’s also clear that the last forty years of incessant culling and distribution of public aspiration, knowledge and assets to institutional investors, lobbies has worn it out. MPs don’t know enough, need more education themselves. But the compliance environment that we are trained to ignore means everyone has to look ‘as if’ they know everything, it’s ‘all been done’, there’s ‘nothing to be done’.
Arrogant bonkers: as well as renewing the buildings let’s get parliament up and over the obstacles of contracted out supply chains, establishment and corporate lobbies, early day motions, select committees and careerism into a much more interesting and distributed environment where we feel it’s vital that everyone in the UK is on the electoral register and the agenda is set by social issue as much as by profits and profit warnings.
Balance: rights and responsibilities in a worldview we all define. Parliament can do this if we enable it.
Below: a snapshot of european countries