Top Of The Policies fringe event at #Lab12, 1 Oct, 6.00pm

GET YOUR COPY OF PRAGRAD’S NEW PAMPHLET – TOP POLICIES – ONLY BY ATTENDING THE EVENT

 returns to Labour Conference following our hugely successful fringe event at last year’s conference in Liverpool, described by Ben Bradshaw MP as “the best fringe attended for years great mix of fun and serious ideas from #lab11 new generation and some old.”

WHAT?  20 speakers each pitching a policy idea in 90 seconds, followed by 2 minutes of Q&A and a first-past-the-post VOTE resulting in a Top Policy.

Chaired by Michael White (Assistant Editor of The Guardian).

…also LAUNCH of PragRad’s second pamphlet Top Policies: Labour Ideas as Democracy – featuring all the ideas presented at Top of the Policies events during 2012, Labour Uncut articles by the winners  and an introduction by Jon Cruddas MP (Co-ordinator of Labour’s Policy Review).

WHEN?  Monday 1st October, 6.00pm – 8.00pm

WHERE?  The Lass O’Gowrie pub, central Manchester(details here)

Only 10 minute walk from Conference Centre. See map:


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The award-winning Lass o’Gowrie pub:

Free entry – Labour members, supporters and friends welcome.

Refreshments kindly sponsored by:

        Unions21: Building unions for the 21st century

IDEAS BEING PRESENTED AT EVENT…

A Skate Park in Every Town:
The needs and wishes of young people in their teenage years are rarely met by any “organised events” facilitated by the older generation. All that is required to building strong and supportive communities for our young adults is for those in power to create the space for people to occupy and develop at their own rate and abilities which in its simplest form is a concrete hole in the ground in an adult free zone. Olympic success in cycling can be the inspiration for those who wish to ride and skate in places with their peers, in a safe environment, not roaming the streets and shopping malls as we did in the 1970s as the first generation of skateboarders looking for a place to master our trade!
Cllr. Mike Le-Surf. Leader of the Labour Group, Brentwood Borough Council

Young Voters, Registration and Schools:
In order to combat both very low turnout in UK elections (particularly amongst young people) and the potentially negative effects of the move to individual electoral registration in the coming years, we need to think innovatively and radically. I propose that (a) the voting age is lowered to 16; (b) that schools engage in a more rigorous, compulsory and examinable programme of civic education from Years 7-11; and (c) it becomes the responsibility of schools to register each of their pupils to vote.
Lucy Rigby, PPC for Lincoln

Time for Tobin:
To explain the socialist merits of the Financial Transaction Tax and how its introduction can underpin the promises for increased public spending under a Labour Government as we run up to the General Election.
Glyn Ford, former MEP and SW member National Policy Forum

Rebuild A Publicly Owned and Integrated Railway:
With privatisation costs amounting to around £1.2bn a year this policy could be zero-cost (or minimal), by bringing back each franchise into public ownership as the contracts expire. Saving the £1.2bn-a-year costs of privatisation over time would be the equivalent of an across-the-board cut in fares of 18%. Last year Ed Miliband called for a break with the neoliberal model. Rail could be the place to start.
Amanda Ramsay, Labour Uncut and Bristol South Labour Party

Private Schools for Public Good:
The ability to buy a “better” education in this country perpetuates class divides and undermines social cohesion. Yet we continue to give private schools £100m a year in tax relief under their charitable status. It’s time we tightened that rule. If private schools can’t prove they are serving the public good by sharing resources, providing bursaries, offering scholarships to children on free school meals and building relationships with neighbouring state schools, we should remove their public subsidy.
Cllr Rowenna Davis, Peckham Councillor and journalist, Guardian/BBC Sunday Politics

Decent Train Carriages For All:
All train carriages should now meet 1st Class carriage specification in terms of seating and space and there should be tighter limits on train overcrowding. With train fares increasing above inflation each year, (despite huge public subsidies to the train operating companies), the travelling public is sorely entitled to a better quality travelling experience. We should remove the second class status most passengers experience in the interests of fairness, service quality and safety.
Kevin Meagher, Associate Editor of Labour Uncut (and Miserable Train Passenger)

Supporting Development of Entrepreneurial Leaders of Tomorrow:
Local Government across the country, in particular in the core cities where there are high levels of youth unemployment, need to ensure that all Local Education Authority run schools offer an opportunity for their pupils to develop Entrepreneurial skills that will not only help them gain employment later in life, but empower them to be innovative and create employment for others as Business leaders. Private sector partners would support this initiative as their corporate responsibility and send in senior staff to mentor and support the businesses set up in school.
Cllr Waseem Zaffar, Birmingham City Council

Smash the DFT, Rewrite the Transport Textbook:
Set the role of the Department for Transport to lead on a national strategy, including an integrated national infrastructure development policy integrating aviation and a national high speed rail network. Establish a not for profit company to run intercity and high speed rail services, which will incorporate the West and East Coast main lines, the Great Western and East Anglian main lines and the high speed rail network. Devolve powers and funding to regional transport authorities led by the ITAs or combined authorities or city region authorities which will allow areas led by their economic powerhouses to develop their transport priorities and requirements for their areas in a similar manner to London at present.
Alex Burrows, Head of Strategy for Centro

Unemployment Is A Much More Serious Problem Than Politicians Recognise:
It is endemic is many places and we need to do something radically different to turn the tide of depression and frustration that these areas experience. We need to completely reform the Work Programme and instead create special Social Enterprise Zones where socially motivated businesses and local people who are willing to create real local jobs and genuine training for the long-term unemployed are supported with local contracts and long-term investment.
Colin Crooks, Social Entrepreneur

Increasing Security of Tenure in the Private Rented Sector:
The PRS is the least affordable, most insecure and often has the worst standards of any tenure. Indeed, the current state of the PRS is half the reason why council housing lists are so high. If we resolve these issues; why wait for a council house at all?
Romin Sutherland, Nextdoor Project Manager

A Visionary Transport System For London:
This will be based upon setting an ever smaller target for cars coming into central London over the next 20 years. From that policy, lots of others will flow. Gradually London will be turned into a place where people can breathe again. The macro issues of reducing congestion, improving air quality and cutting greenhouse gases are only part of the story. Imagine a city that is really centred around walking and cycling rather than cars. This is happening on the continent, it’s time for London and the rest of the country to follow suit.
Christian Wolmar – 2016 London Mayoral Hopeful, Writer and Broadcaster on Transport Matters

Raise The Personal Tax Allowance to £20K and Restore The Link Between Council Tax and Land Values:
There is a massive imbalance between the wealth creators (those who work for a living) and the wealth takers (those who live from holding assets) as wages tend to the least someone will accept and rents to the most someone will pay. Let’s shift tax from earned to unearned incomes. This would boost productivity and employment and redress the growing inequality that is crippling our great nation.
Gregory Thompson, Theatre Director

Building new lives for ex-offenders:
People who have served time in prison often turn back to crime or benefits because no one will give them work. Businesses that offer second chances to ex-offenders who have tried hard to turn their lives around should be recognised by a new Lapel badge as a sign of best practice.
Json Keto-Edwards – Chief executive of Chainges Today, Community Activist, Lawyer and Chair of the Peckham Branch Labour party.

Recognising the genocide against the Iraqi Kurds:
When the world was silent on the use of WMD against Halabja, a small part of a long-running genocide against the Kurds of Iraq, it merely emboldened Saddam and others. We now face the possibility of another Baathist tyrant using chemical weapons in Syria. Bearing witness to genocide is morally correct and helps reduce their repetition.
Gary Kent – Director of Labour Friends of Iraq and Administrator www.appgkurdistan.org.uk and Rudaw columnist

A Breath of Fresh Air: Nurturing Community Radio:
The UK has around 220 Community Radio stations and the majority depend entirely on community volunteers as presenters and largely on grants to fund any staff and other costs – increasingly difficult in these times. These stations are run by the people for the people and contribute in many ways to sense of place and sense of worth of multiply deprived and digitally excluded local communities through education and training and events and a chance to shine for everyone. Each station with real community contribution should receive no strings £10,000 per annum grant support from government and any and all licences – PRS, MCPS, PPL, aerial – and Ofcomsubscriptions should be waived.
Cllr Chris Paul (Withington, Manchester) is Chief Executive of Wythenshawe Community Media

Subtitle Children’s TV:
It’s easy to argue that most kids watch too much television and even easier to argue that they’d rather watch something fun than educational. There’s a simple way of making this inevitable habit more educational and without changing the content. Brij Kothari’s idea to improve literacy rates amongst primary school children is to subtitle all children’s TV programmes. A Nielsen study [1] showed the ability of schoolchildren to read a “simple Hindi paragraph” jumped from 25% to 56% “when exposed to subtitling for 30 minutes a week.” So let’s add subtitles to every kids TV programme in the UK – it’s easily done and can make a significant impact on improving literacy rates amongst children from all backgrounds.
Kieran Roberts, Chair of North West Young Labour

The Families of Homicide That Raise A Child Resulting From A Murder Should Be Cared For And Not Reliant On Charity:
I propose that the State has a legal and statutory obligation to care for the victims of Homicide that raise children resulting from a murder or manslaughter through the introduction of a ‘Victims Law’ as recommended by Louise Casey the former Victims Commissioner.The families should receive all necessary assistance until the child or children reach the age of 18. That should include finance, education, legal aid irrespective of status.
David Vines Head of Services and Development National Victims Association

Get A Bigwig To Give A Day To Help An Unemployed Person Become Employable:
Senior bods from government, the opposition, business to devote up to a day of their time giving tips to an unemployed person on becoming employable.
Alexis Chase, Labour Party Member

NHS Right to Treatment:
A proposal to end postcode rationing of treatment for NHS patients, ensuring that any medical treatment prescribed by a doctor will be provided by the NHS unless the Health Secretary or his medical and scientific advisers at NICE say no; to establish a national register of all cases where treatment is refused, to act as a check on creeping privatisation of NHS services; and to give patients a right of appeal if treatment is denied.
Hugh Bayley MP

Introduce the Stable Rental Contract for Britain’s 8.5m Private Renters:
Over the last fifteen years, the number of people who rent their home from a landlord has almost doubled, and nearly a third of renters are families with children. But with the possibility of eviction with just two months’ notice, and constant worries about when the next rent rise will hit, the current rental market isn’t giving people – particularly families – the stability they need to put down roots. Labour should back the Stable Rental Contract – five year tenancies for all, with renters able to give two months’ notice at any time and rent rises linked to inflation.
Cllr Antonia Bance, Oxford City Council/Oxford East CLP

It’s Iceland or Bust:
Cllr Mike Harris, Head of Advocacy at Index on Censorship and Vice Chair of Lewisham Council

John Slinger

About John Slinger

Chair and co-founder of Pragmatic Radicalism. Consultant at strategic communications consultancy Quiller Consultants (Westminster). Vice-Chair of Rugby Constituency Labour Party (http://www.rugbylabour.org/). 'Pop-up' writer (see http://slingerblog.blogspot.com). Member of Progress and Unite. Trustee Director of Carers Support Service (Warwickshire charity running young carers projects). Fellow of Humanitarian Intervention Centre (http://hicentre.org/). Executive Committee member of Labour Friends of Iraq (http://www.labourfriendsofiraq.org.uk/). Formerly worked for Ann Clwyd MP in the House of Commons. Twitter @JohnSlinger