If only there were such a thing
This is going to be a very personal thing, I think, so everyone's responses will be different. Even those ATS members who are in an existing
political party are highly unlikely to agree with all the policies that group currently endorse. Let's see...
Keep the National Health Service exactly that... national. Free at the point of use, and the influence of the private sector should be limited.
Healthcare is about healing, not making a profit. In my mind there's something wrong if you have to pay through the nose just to see a doctor - it's
quite a warped morality.
GPs... they deserve their pay, and I don't begrudge a single penny. However, I think they should work weekends and take on home visits and
out-of-hours appointments (which, at present, few GPs do) too so that the public gets genuine value for money. After all, the tax payer gives them
their salaries and heavily subsidises their education.
NHS dentistry also needs a huge overhaul, because private dentists have basically made finding an NHS dentist a bit like finding a pot of gold at the
end of the rainbow.
The defence budget needs to go up. A new benchmark for our military capabilities should be introduced - we should be able to undertake an operation on
the scale of the Falklands War completely independently, with no military/logistical help from any other nation. An independent body of military
experts should be set up to see if this benchmark is being met, and should provide the government with recommendations as to how to achieve and
maintain this level of capability. Britain has 13 overseas colonies to defend right around the world and numerous other defence agreements (NATO, the
Five Power Defence Arrangements) and a decent military is essential for us to be able to fulfill our commitments.
There should also be no cutbacks in proposed procurements - we should purchase all of the Type 45s, Eurofighter Typhoons, Astute submarines and
aircraft carriers that we said we would. High tech stuff is all well and good, but it can't be in two places at once so there's still a need for
numbers. It's expensive but worth it.
Money should also be set aside to research an independent ICBM system for our nuclear deterrent - at present we construct our own nuclear warheads and
submarines, so why don't we create our own missiles? If North Korea and Russia can do it, we most certainly can. This wouldn't be implemented until
after Trident's lifetime (2030s or beyond) so there's plenty of time for research and testing and it wouldn't be too big a drain on the defence
budget if costs were spread sufficiently.
School genuinely should be a place that kids appreciate. I know I appreciate my education at school level in retrospect (though I'm not sure whether
I did at the time). A big problem with many political parties (particular the Conservatives, but it also applies to Labour and the Lib Dems too) is
that a lot of their MPs have been to either a private school or to Oxbridge or both. Most people don't do that. Most people go to a state school and,
for those who do manage to get to university, go to others besides Oxbridge. Many haven't been in a state school for a whole day, let alone their
entire early years... they don't seem to be qualified to run the state education system, then.
Schools should be encouraged to take more trips (since many pupils wouldn't otherwise have the opportunity to visit places like the Normandy beaches,
WWI battlefields, Pompeii or Auschwitz or go on walks/to activity centres for a few days).
They should also be given more power to govern their own affairs (for instance, any money they save from one year's budget should not be taken from
them by the local authority but should be left with the school, giving them the chance to save up for refurbishments, new facilities etc.)
Ideally, top up fees for university would also be abolished too. Getting into higher education should be based on skills alone, and not money or where
you happen to live.
This is a touchy area, so whatever course is chosen must be done in a clear but fair manner.
I support the Australian-style points system that we're currently in the process of adopting for migrants coming from outside the EU. It means that
our culture is still enriched by influences from elsewhere but the people who come here have skills which can benefit us as a nation too.
As for inter-EU immigration, it's hard to do much about because that's part of the deal by being a part of the organisation. I suppose it might be
possible for the EU to keep an eye on its member states and intervene when it seems one state is receiving too many EU immigrants or another is losing
too many of its citizens to emigration. Let's face it, with the EU as interlinked as it is, if one country a significant proportion of its workforce
as emigrants then its economic decline would have a knock-on effect on other parts of the EU.
We shouldn't sweep this under the carpet. It should be tackled head-on and not through just through laws but through debate and free speech. Tell the
people who peddle hate why they're wrong and why their ideas are so vile.
There's a fine line between a hate crime and freedom of speech. I would not take away anyone's right to criticise a particular religion, country
etc. Free speech should be protected. However, when a comment openly tries to provoke confrontation or violence (we've seen numerous race riots in
this country, for instance... or we saw the protests over the Danish cartoons last year with some calling for the murder of people who criticised
Mohammed - both instances are completely unacceptable in the United Kingdom) then that's a hate crime. You can criticise someone without having to
call for their death or injury.
Their pay should be backdated but it should be made clear to other public sector workers that this is a one-off.
Police also shouldn't be given a right to strike - they do get pretty good pay and a decent pension in return for not having the ability to go on
strike. We really don't want to be heading back to the 1970s, thank you very much.
Police bureaucracy should also be cut as far as possible, meaning our officers spent less time filling in forms and more times doing the job they
joined the force to do.
It's likely that a lot of tax rises could be avoided if the government and the civil service were more efficient. This doesn't necessarily mean
staff cutbacks but it does mean working out how things can be streamlined and require less money to be thrown at them.
People would probably be less concerned at paying higher tax rates if they knew their taxes were doing something that they wanted.