If I were Prime Minister: I would hasten the process of devolution to the major city regions

Our series in the run-up to the General Election – 100 days, 100 contributors, but no politicians – continues with the author and philosopher

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The Independent Online

As Prime Minister my mission would be to start rebalancing society. At present too few have too much - of money, power and influence. Our citizens should have more control over the things that really matter to them. It would be a new beginning, what I am calling a Second Curve.

I would start with the property scene, which is outrageously tilted against ordinary folk. I would copy the Americans and charge capital gains on the sale of the family home and copy the Danes by allowing only residents to buy domestic property. That would stop investors from abroad using apartments as safety deposit boxes and others hoping to make money while they sleep by selling their home each year. It would mean affordable homes for people who actually live here.

I would then move on to big business. Why should shareholders have all the power and the riches when it is the workers who create the wealth? I would insist that workers have one third of the seats on any remuneration committee and a similar representation on a German-style supervisory board. I would also make the living wage a legal imperative and raise it above the rate of inflation every year. Business would squeal but would have to buckle down and improve their productivity if they want to keep their riches. I would also outlaw all bonuses but encourage profit-sharing provided it applied to the whole organization.

More crucially I would then tackle our education system. As it stands our education system seems designed to create a nation of professors. We need a few of those but we need many more makers and doers of all sorts. The acquisition of knowledge should be balanced by participative activities, sports, drama, music, civic engagement, work experience, where you learn how to create, engage, co-operate, lead and commit.

Teachers know this, so I would set them free to educate as they see best, scrap most exams, let universities and employers set their own admission tests and let experiment run wild, for the past is no guide to the future.

While this was getting moving I would hasten the process of devolution to the major city regions as a step towards the inevitable federal structure, one that would really allow our citizens to influence their local world. City states have been the true focus of every society for centuries. We need to recreate them, but bind them together for defence and legal systems.

To help me get all this moving I would also seek to copy the other countries of Europe when appointing my cabinet. They don’t restrict their choice to the members of their parliaments but choose the best persons for the job. Let parliament pass the laws, let me get on with job of implementing those laws with the best talent available, just like any other chief executive. We must not let ourselves be prisoners of tradition when that no longer works for us all.

‘The Second Curve: Thoughts on Reinventing Society’ by Charles Handy is published by Random House Books on 12 March