more thoughts on radicalism (or ultra liberalism?)

defined on dictionary.com: “liberal” – Open to new behavior or opinions and willing to discard traditional values

i also like the picture …

i also steal quite a lot of thought from the West Wing in this post. well either steal or agree …

in thinking more about my previous blog post on why radicalism is important i’ve been examining the political spectrum diagram and thinking more about what it means to be an ultra liberal. now i have no problem in being described as a liberal, indeed i am struck by the way it is described in that fantastic episode of the West Wing when Santos and Vinick go at it in a debate. and i think that in recent months (certainly since the formation of the UK coalition government) the word progressive has also been done a disservice.I also agree with Bruno Gianelli here when he talks about why people think people on the left cannot be strong on defense or crime.

i would be proud to be described as a liberal, even ultra liberal and so long as it wasn’t in jest i would like to think i am somewhat progressive in my views. building on my earlier post i would like to further contribute some thoughts on some of the more traditional areas of “liberalism”, namely education.

  1. education should be free to all those who wish to be involved in it. children need to be made to feel safe and education needs to be made accessible (not only physically) to all children in all schools. education, as someone once said, is the silver bullet and can be at least the stepping stone to cure many of societies ills. but unfortunately like sam seaborn i haven’t worked out how to do this.
  2. teachers should be on pedestals in our society and they should be, again as sam said, getting 6 figure salaries. there needs to be incentives to get the top people into schools and teach the next generation
  3. universities – a sticky subject for someone who has in the past voted liberal democrat. now briefly on the whole betrayal, yes i think they signed a pledge (the fact they signed such a pledge demonstrated electioneering and naivety in equal measure in my opinion and when the party encouraged candidates to sign said pledge i do not think that they thought they were going to have to be in government and deciding on things like that). that being said i think that the party should have simply, grown a pair, and voted against. they broke a promise – very simply. i also recognise that things are incredibly more complex than that with the Labour party initiating the Browne review etc. if we really want more people from a whole range of backgrounds going to university and accessing courses that will broaden their minds, increase productivity, employability and help to grow Britain’s R&D base, university should be free to those who want to go and learn.
  4. courses at university should be four years long and should come out with masters, the first year should not be a “you only have to pass” etc and then essentially have a 2 year degree. four years of learning and expanding your brain is good for everyone, especially the UK economy
  5. this country also needs to recognise that not everyone wants to go to university, learning in that way is not for everyone and so therefore apprenticeships, technical degrees in engineering and maths and design etc should be put on equal footing with degrees. there should be the equivalent of degrees – four year apprenticeship Master’s style degrees. we do not need a country of graduates or a country of plumbers and engineers we need a country with the mix of both.

i said in the previous post that all of these ideas are just ideas and i recognise that the usual rules of politics and the media (and fiscal / financial situations) need to be suspended in order to carry them out, however a few ideas on things could be paid for:

  1. no more nuclear weapons – sell them and disarm, no renewal of trident
  2. no more state subsidised nuclear power stations – if it can be economically and financially viable by itself then fine
  3. the robin hood tax
  4. unify the armed forces – why not have  a UK version of the Marine Corps in America, which has a naval and aviation wing of its own
  5. and in short – tax the rich

i can see that last one being not particularly popular. but i seem to remember a quote from my A-level history, something along the lines of:

“squeeze the rich until the pips squeek”

definitely

p.s – just as a postscript, i found this blog post as well, which whilst talks about the US context is quite good. i particularly like this quote:

“I want to preserve existing good things and restore previous good things, most of which were the progressive goals of an earlier generation.”