Open letter to Jeremy Corbyn and the UK Labour Party: immigration, state intervention, workers’ rights, sources of funding, income tax, Universal Basic Income (UBI)
I was so happy listening to your Labour Conference 2016 speech and in general your team’s socialist vision for a future Britain under a U.K. Labour government. Below, I would like to congratulate you on a few items, and, if I may, make a couple of suggestions.
First of all, thank you for your courage in standing up for the benefits of pluralism and (open) immigration and for continuing to highlight the real socio-economic issues that have been erroneously conflated with effects of immigration by more right-wing interests, and for clearly committing Labour to viable solutions to any potential localised pressure on institutions and services. Such policies could pave the way towards an ideal post-national world for future generations.
Secondly, thank you for committing to a policy of nationalising certain public institutions and services. Hopefully, in future, this policy will extend to all areas of common benefit.
Thirdly, thank you for pledging to improve workers’ rights and the ability of unions to defend workers. In this service economy, where employers find it increasingly easy and defensible to casualise and disempower their employees, and community cohesion and unionisation are at all time lows, we need to fight back and ensure secure employment for all workers, so that they can have decent lives.
Fourthly, on the issue of funding increased investment / expenditure, thank you for pledging various good ways of finding funds, including increasing corporate tax, curbing tax avoidance, and if I am not mistaken, increasing property tax.
On funding, the one source of funding that seems to be missing is increased. progressive income tax. Perhaps this has been left out of current policy so as “not to scare the horses”, as they say. Personally, I WANT TO PAY MORE TAX. Taxes pay for public institutions / services, of benefit to all: as much of our national wealth as possible should be used on that. As you, Jeremy, said, there are few acts more patriotic than paying our taxes. It should be a joyful act. So I would support a rise in income tax for higher earners, inclined to tax the highest earners most. The 10% of highest earners could pay a much greater per cent and still have shocking amounts of disposable income. Probably people on low incomes should have the threshold of no tax raised.
I am in a dual-income 4-person household, altogether bringing in just a bit more than twice the national average income, very fortunate. Of course we have major outgoings, but we could probably pay another 5 or 10 percent income tax, if that money would go into public services like healthcare/social care, education, benefits for those out of work, old age pensions, or localised extra funding for economically depressed areas.
Another suggestion: I know you and John McDonnell and the team are looking at the potential of Universal Basic Income (UBI). I would support a realistic proper, truly liveable, universal basic income for all people in the UK. A UBI would sidestep the issue of increasing casualisation of work. A UBI would presumably remove the need for cumbersome and costly state benefit systems, including unemployment benefits and state pensions. A UBI would sidestep the current mismatch between productive value to society and remuneration. A UBI is sensible in an increasingly automated smart-AI world where the opportunities for full employment are ever decreasing. A UBI is tied to an optimistic view of humanity, the “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs” dictum, that is at the heart of socialism, and that I believe will be achievable in a world where people are secure in other aspects of their lives, supported by collective endeavour. A UBI could help pave the way to a post-monetary world, supported by future technologies that provide everyone in the world with all necessary resources for life free of charge at point of delivery / access.
Thank you for your commitment to humanitarian and socialist principles, your steadfastness in the face of great adversity, and all your efforts in working towards a fairer more equal society.
The time is now.
UK Labour Party member
West Oxford and Abingdon constituency
Oxford Momentum activist