If I were Prime Minister: Middle-aged performers wouldn't be taxed

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

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The Independent Online

If I were elected Prime Minister, performers would have hefty tax breaks coming their way. All performers between the ages 40 and 50 wouldn't be taxed at all.

It’s during this stage of life that performers have the highest chances of making some real money. After 50, the likelihood of falling on hard times increases daily. If you’re not taxed between 40 and 50 then you've got enough money, a lump sum to live on, without having to rely on the state – so much the better for all of us.

On the same thread, affordable housing would be made available for all artistic twentysomethings, no questions asked. I’d find a lot of space in London and bring back prefab homes to tackle the housing shortage. This would help them get on their feet and develop their craft.

I would also make it my duty to increase cultural awareness on every end of the spectrum. There would be compulsory daily arts and book coverage in all newspapers and on television. It would also be given the same airtime as sports. I’m not interested in sport, but it's in every news bulletin. So for every minute of sports, we'd have to have a cultural round-up that equals it. Come on, people; we’re not savages. Cultural awareness is important for every member of society.


And for every middle-aged bloke with an afternoon quiz show, whether it's on TV or radio, there must be a woman doing the same. There could even be joint partnerships, so you've got a bloke presenting one week, and a woman the next. Job-sharing is the way forward. That would stop people from getting greedy, overpaid and overexcited about their own egos.

My platform sounds like a manifesto for middle-aged women, but, you know, I can’t really see what’s wrong with that. At least I can speak nicely and wear nice clothes. I’d make sure I wouldn't go for that lady-politician-skirt-suit thing.

In fact, I’d make sure that anyone on my side or in my political party would be nicely dressed. So even though I am the last person who should be allowed to make any decisions, I would put everyone in a tabard because it covers any bulgy bits, and it’d make us all look quite smart. As a bonus, I’d make sure that every tabard had no nylon content whatsoever, especially because at least 50 per cent of my cabinet would be middle-aged women. We don’t want them sweating in a tabard.

That’s the best way to run the government, really: no nylon and tax breaks for performers.