John McDonnell (left) and Guy Standing (right)
This week, on May 7th, Guy Standing will be presenting a report prepared at the request of the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, John McDonnell MP. The complete title of the report is “Piloting Basic Income as Common Dividends”.
The event is organized by the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) and the Progressive Economy Forum (PEF), and will take place at the RSA’s Great Room Auditorium, at 11 am. It will be introduced by RSA’s Director Anthony Painter and PEF’s Chair Patrick Allen, followed by an opening keynote by John McDonnell himself. After that Guy Standing will present the fifty-page report in about thirty minutes, which will then be openly discussed by commentators Ed Miliband, former Labour Party Leader, Margaret Greenwood, Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, and Caroline Abrahams, Age UK Director, as well as in a round of questions and answers with the audience.
Although other books and reports have been made public, focused on basic income for the British reality (e.g.: Annie Miller’s “A basic income pocketbook”, Malcolm Torry’s “Why we need a Citizen’s Basic Income”), this was the first time a British politician has specifically asked for a report on basic income. As Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell and the Labour Party had been flirting with the idea, however, since early 2016 (even though McDonnell had been a basic income supporter as far back as 2014).
More information at:
Kate McFarland, “United Kingdom: Labour Party to look into Basic Income”, Basic Income News, June 6th 2016
Toru Yamamori, “United Kingdom: Labour Party considers universal basic income”, Basic Income News, February 21th 2016
Toru Yamamori, “United Kingdom: Basic income supporter John McDonnell becomes shadow chancellor”, Basic Income News, September 18th 2015
I am happy to see the gradual advance of the idea of a basic income wherever. But it is about time to become less apologetic and hesitant about the proposition, and ditch the idea that there is some pseudo-scientific sociological way of proving its validity by experiments.
If you are a conservative, it is easily justified as the correct response to the mess that the benefits system is in in the new era of employment insecurity, to create a more efficient workforce, and reduce bureaucratic wastage.
If you are on the egalitarian wing of politics, the fight has to be for a level of BI in conjunction with the tax system which works towards redistribution of wealth. Guess where I stand?
Time to stop faffing about!
How will Nations “return to sovereignty”, as part of freeing up the debt and interest burden upon the people?