Free – A Manifesto

Also Published on Huffington Post UK

1. Free is good. We should make as many things as possible free.

2. Making more things free will make us more free – because we need access to resources in order for freedom to mean anything.

3. Everyone will feel more free because of the lack of gates/checkouts and the reduction of the use of money will free our minds from having to constantly think about money.

4. There will be a stronger sense of community as we will all be able to share a wider range of social spaces and meet there as equals.

5. So free is better for everyone, not just those with less resources.

6. Free means: paid for out of general taxation and free at the point of use.

7. Through taxation, different people will pay different amounts based on how much they earn and how much wealth they have.

8. Everyone will be able to access the free things equally, regardless of how much they earn and how much wealth they have.

9. In order to make lots of things free we will need to have fairly high taxation (we should set no arbitrary percentage limit), and as a result some (wealthier) people will have quite a lot less money.

10. This will not be a problem as lots of things will now be free.

11. We already have a number of free things, and we tend to like them. Education, Healthcare, Parks, Libraries, Roads, some public events, TV and bus travel for pensioners etc.

12. We should start by making some easy things free.

13. Make TV free by funding the BBC out of general taxation rather than the flat rate license fee. Fairer, and cheaper to administrate as the cost of collecting the licence fee is eliminated.

14. Make public transport free. It’s already highly subsidised. We’d save the huge sums we spend on ticket machines, gates and inspectors. If road building and maintenance is paid for out of tax then why not buses and trains? What could be more important to our freedom than being able to go where we want to go? Making London Transport Free would be any easy first step as it’s already state-owned and could be funded through an increase in London council tax.

15. A free theatre and cinema in every town. In relative terms this would be pretty cheap.

16. Free adult education, lectures, classes and workshop, in every town. Let everyone be a student as well as a teacher and this could cost almost nothing to fund.

17. More free public festivals and performances. A bargain for the amount of pleasure this would bring.

18. A number of free cafes in every town. Just serving the basics, serve yourself-tea and instant coffee from urns, but providing a free heated space in which you can sit as long as you want.

19. Free allotments. This should allow people to grow a reasonable amount of their own food. This will be primarily in rural areas and small towns but may be possible to implement in some less densely populated cities too.

20. Then we should move on to the more challenging, but most important things.

21. Free energy. Everyone should get a basic amount of electricity, gas and water free. They only pay for the amount they use above the basic allowance. Probably requires nationalisation.

22. Free housing. Everyone should get a free flat that is basic but comfortable, should they want it. This is tougher and will take much longer because it requires a large supply of public housing which will take time to build up. A good start would be for the state to offer to pay off people’s mortgages in exchange for ownership of the property after they die. The people would then live in their home for free (no rent, no mortgage payments) for the rest of their days. After they had passed away the home would become part of the public housing stock, and given to someone else to live in for free.

23. After tax deductions people are free to spend what remains of their income as they choose, as is the case now. Everyone should have at least something to spend on luxuries, extras and hobbies, things which are impossible to predict and therefore can’t be provided free. This spending is important in allowing people to express individuality and personal taste.

24. Some people will continue to have more than others, due to luck, extra work or due to their parents. But we won’t worry too much about this, as everyone will have the basics of life provided for them for free.

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