Here’s a new idea which we are starting to think about. Would it be useful, what might it contain and how could we make it work? We would welcome your opinion.
A Bill of Rights for Future Generations.
The Early Action Task Force is working in several ways to create the conditions, the understanding and the resources for early action to thrive. Our work is very practical. It is about doing what we can in the prevailing context – political, financial, cultural and legislative. We wouldn’t want to abandon this pragmatic and practical approach but we are also thinking about opening up a new front:
The problem we want to solve:
We have a settled government with a political narrative that is dominated by Brexit. There are glimpses of other interests such as the PMs Shared Society speech but these are infrequent and insubstantial.
The opposition has very little influence.
It seems unlikely that either of the above will change before the next general election.
In this stasis we can support front line work and help to influence individual policies but building a society where problems are routinely prevented is an ambitious long term goal which will not be reached solely with the small pragmatic steps. We need to also think much harder about how we radically influence the direction of travel. We need to find a way of moving the conversation on to the big vision.
A bill of rights for the next generation.
All political parties need to offer a future that is better than the past but need and capacity are on irreconcilable trajectories. Likewise consumption and sustainability. Food banks, student loans, generation rent, trolleys in A and E, people sleeping on the streets – in different ways these are all symbols of a society that is moving backwards, not forwards. There is a political imperative, as well as a social, economic and moral obligation, for politicians to find a way of promising a better future, not as a rhetorical aspiration, but as a set of rights with a plausible plan for delivering them.
Suppose we began to talk about a Bill of Rights for Future Generations to fundamentally change how government thinks and behaves. Suppose we imagine the Bill as the set piece of the first Queens speech from the next government in three years’ time. It would be the world’s most far sighted and ambitious programme for ensuring a better future for our children.
Some of the ideas which we have discussed regularly on this blog would have a place (Ten year planning, transition goals, an Office for Future Generations, early action testing, a Next Generation Investment fund etc) but, to justify the billing it would need to be significantly more ambitious.
Leading that conversation
Suppose we think of this goal as a way of inspiring a different conversation over the course of the next few years. The big objective would be extraordinary. Some more limited gains on the way would be worthwhile.
How would it be framed and what would it contain?