Scrap state interference in workers’ private lives.

The police can't be members of the BNP. Teachers can't moonlight as strippers – or they get the sack! Why shouldn't these people be allowed the same freedoms as everyone else when they are not at work?

Why is this idea important?

The police can't be members of the BNP. Teachers can't moonlight as strippers – or they get the sack! Why shouldn't these people be allowed the same freedoms as everyone else when they are not at work?

Scrap entire laws and entire systems of regulation.

This project is going well so far – there are many excellent ideas and comments.

However, for this project to end well, the government has to be bold.

For example, it ought to come up with a whole list of laws that can be repealed entirely (It can start with most of the laws passed in the last ten years). It is no good just repealing only small parts of different Acts of Parliament and introducing new laws to modify others, because then we will end up with more laws than we have now – and that would be a massive failure!

It also needs to roll back the state from entire areas of our lives and scrap entire systems of regulation. It must accept that some things it currently regulates just shouldn't be any of the state's business anymore – the government can't just tinker a bit here and there and end up with something very similar to what we have now!

Between us, we can suggest many things that can be scrapped entirely. None of these suggestions will receive universal support. However, if this project is to be a success, the government must push some of them through anyway.

On the other hand, if the government offers up nothing but a few token gestures of reform, we will not end up with simpler laws, greater fairness and less bureaucracy – we will be almost exactly where we are now!

Why is this idea important?

This project is going well so far – there are many excellent ideas and comments.

However, for this project to end well, the government has to be bold.

For example, it ought to come up with a whole list of laws that can be repealed entirely (It can start with most of the laws passed in the last ten years). It is no good just repealing only small parts of different Acts of Parliament and introducing new laws to modify others, because then we will end up with more laws than we have now – and that would be a massive failure!

It also needs to roll back the state from entire areas of our lives and scrap entire systems of regulation. It must accept that some things it currently regulates just shouldn't be any of the state's business anymore – the government can't just tinker a bit here and there and end up with something very similar to what we have now!

Between us, we can suggest many things that can be scrapped entirely. None of these suggestions will receive universal support. However, if this project is to be a success, the government must push some of them through anyway.

On the other hand, if the government offers up nothing but a few token gestures of reform, we will not end up with simpler laws, greater fairness and less bureaucracy – we will be almost exactly where we are now!

Scrap “Gay Rights”

Ah – that got your attention!

If you think you're going to read some sort of homophobic commentary here, you're completely wrong – nothing could be further from the truth! Let me explain….

Peter Tatchell is often described in the press as a prominent "gay rights campaigner." In fact, this is rather inaccurate. He sees himself more as a "human rights campaigner."

A "human rights campaigner" believes in everyone having the same basic rights regardless of their race, sex, sexual persuasion, religion or anything else. That's different from having specially-targeted laws for particular sections of society, such as gay people.

We have laws protecting people against prejudice on grounds of sex, race, religion, disability and sexual preference – but there are a million other forms of prejudice and we can't have laws for each of them individually!

Plus – it is discriminatory to have laws against some forms of prejudice, but not against others. Why should some people be protected against prejudice, but others not?

Why not just describe the "human rights" that apply to everyone equally?

Why is this idea important?

Ah – that got your attention!

If you think you're going to read some sort of homophobic commentary here, you're completely wrong – nothing could be further from the truth! Let me explain….

Peter Tatchell is often described in the press as a prominent "gay rights campaigner." In fact, this is rather inaccurate. He sees himself more as a "human rights campaigner."

A "human rights campaigner" believes in everyone having the same basic rights regardless of their race, sex, sexual persuasion, religion or anything else. That's different from having specially-targeted laws for particular sections of society, such as gay people.

We have laws protecting people against prejudice on grounds of sex, race, religion, disability and sexual preference – but there are a million other forms of prejudice and we can't have laws for each of them individually!

Plus – it is discriminatory to have laws against some forms of prejudice, but not against others. Why should some people be protected against prejudice, but others not?

Why not just describe the "human rights" that apply to everyone equally?

Scrap laws that condone sex with children.

We have laws that define "a child" as anyone "under 18." And yet, the age of consent is 16. Therefore, such laws condone sex with "children." That's sick! "Children" should not have sex – full stop – and we should scrap any laws that suggest otherwise! The age of consent should be the same as the age at which you become an adult – if it is any lower, then we are condoning sex with children!

Why is this idea important?

We have laws that define "a child" as anyone "under 18." And yet, the age of consent is 16. Therefore, such laws condone sex with "children." That's sick! "Children" should not have sex – full stop – and we should scrap any laws that suggest otherwise! The age of consent should be the same as the age at which you become an adult – if it is any lower, then we are condoning sex with children!

Scrap sex laws that discriminate against teachers.

Relatively recent law changes now mean that a teacher can be prosecuted for having a sexual relationship with a 16 or 17 year-old. Yet the age of consent is 16! Why should there be special rules for the teaching profession? Doctors and nurses aren't barred from having relationships with people who have been patients in their hospital. Police officers aren't banned from having sex with people who live on their beat. Tax inspectors aren't banned from french-kissing taxpayers!

Now, if a teacher abused their position, that would be a different matter. If they said to a sixth-former, "I'll fail you unless you give me a blow job," then that would be a clear abuse of their position – but prosecutors should have to show that some abuse of authority has actually taken place. The state should not presume that a relationship is abusive just because one partner is a student and the other is a teacher!

A person could marry a 16 year-old and then become a teacher at their school. They could already have a child together. Surely we can't prosecute them or ban them from being at the same school! And if we don't prosecute married couples, why should we discriminate against other couples who choose not to marry?

Why is this idea important?

Relatively recent law changes now mean that a teacher can be prosecuted for having a sexual relationship with a 16 or 17 year-old. Yet the age of consent is 16! Why should there be special rules for the teaching profession? Doctors and nurses aren't barred from having relationships with people who have been patients in their hospital. Police officers aren't banned from having sex with people who live on their beat. Tax inspectors aren't banned from french-kissing taxpayers!

Now, if a teacher abused their position, that would be a different matter. If they said to a sixth-former, "I'll fail you unless you give me a blow job," then that would be a clear abuse of their position – but prosecutors should have to show that some abuse of authority has actually taken place. The state should not presume that a relationship is abusive just because one partner is a student and the other is a teacher!

A person could marry a 16 year-old and then become a teacher at their school. They could already have a child together. Surely we can't prosecute them or ban them from being at the same school! And if we don't prosecute married couples, why should we discriminate against other couples who choose not to marry?

Get rid of Council Tax Benefit bureaucracy.

There are thousands of bureaucrats in this country whose jobs include dealing with Council Tax Benefit claims. There is a mountain of excessively complicated regulation covering how these claims are to be dealt with. Vast sums of money and considerable manpower resources are lavished each year on assessing people's claims.

The main task for the bureaucrats is to assess people's incomes to see how much "benefit" they are entitled to. (Council Tax Benefit is not really a benefit anyway – it is just a reduction in the amount of Council Tax you have to pay.)

They don't just make a calculation for each year – they make a calculation for every week! If you are self-employed, the council may even insist upon seeing every receipt for your business, down to the last stamp and the last paperclip! I'm not kidding – this actually happens!

A single claim can sometimes involve literally reams of paper and hundreds of man-hours from both the council and the claimant. And if there is any change in circumstances, the council may insist on repeating the entire process. In many cases, the cost of administering the claim greatly exceeds the amount being claimed.

And yet, nearly all of this bureaucracy is totally unnecessary. The vast majority of people claiming Council Tax Benefit will already have had their incomes assessed for the purpose of claiming tax credits. So why not just use the same figures to assess Council Tax Benefit?

Why is this idea important?

There are thousands of bureaucrats in this country whose jobs include dealing with Council Tax Benefit claims. There is a mountain of excessively complicated regulation covering how these claims are to be dealt with. Vast sums of money and considerable manpower resources are lavished each year on assessing people's claims.

The main task for the bureaucrats is to assess people's incomes to see how much "benefit" they are entitled to. (Council Tax Benefit is not really a benefit anyway – it is just a reduction in the amount of Council Tax you have to pay.)

They don't just make a calculation for each year – they make a calculation for every week! If you are self-employed, the council may even insist upon seeing every receipt for your business, down to the last stamp and the last paperclip! I'm not kidding – this actually happens!

A single claim can sometimes involve literally reams of paper and hundreds of man-hours from both the council and the claimant. And if there is any change in circumstances, the council may insist on repeating the entire process. In many cases, the cost of administering the claim greatly exceeds the amount being claimed.

And yet, nearly all of this bureaucracy is totally unnecessary. The vast majority of people claiming Council Tax Benefit will already have had their incomes assessed for the purpose of claiming tax credits. So why not just use the same figures to assess Council Tax Benefit?

Free street trading.

Councils should only require individuals and businesses to have street trading licences in areas where there is a genuine likelihood of too many traders causing problems. Even in such cases, they should provide areas where people can freely trade without needing a licence. Alternatively, we could simply make street trading licences free – at least for the first couple of years – to give businesses a chance to take off.

Why is this idea important?

Councils should only require individuals and businesses to have street trading licences in areas where there is a genuine likelihood of too many traders causing problems. Even in such cases, they should provide areas where people can freely trade without needing a licence. Alternatively, we could simply make street trading licences free – at least for the first couple of years – to give businesses a chance to take off.

Remove restrictions on playing poker.

It is ridiculous that I can't legally advertise in a shop window or a local newspaper or on the Internet for people interested in joining a nice social poker game.

When the nanny state tries to protect people from hard drugs, that's one thing, but poker? Is it really so excruciatingly dangerous that people shouldn't be allowed to freely advertise their perfectly legal game and allow adults to decide for themselves whether or not to play? There should also be no restrictions on poker played in private or in pubs so long as the house does not charge a fee for playing.

Why is this idea important?

It is ridiculous that I can't legally advertise in a shop window or a local newspaper or on the Internet for people interested in joining a nice social poker game.

When the nanny state tries to protect people from hard drugs, that's one thing, but poker? Is it really so excruciatingly dangerous that people shouldn't be allowed to freely advertise their perfectly legal game and allow adults to decide for themselves whether or not to play? There should also be no restrictions on poker played in private or in pubs so long as the house does not charge a fee for playing.

Simplify age restrictions.

What sense does it make that you can have sex at 16, but you can't see an 18-certificate film at the cinema because it might contain adult sexual material? You can do it, but you can't watch it – yet you can't get a sexually transmitted disease from a film! And how can you be mature enough to get married at 16, but not mature enough to vote until you are 18?

There should be a single age at which you legally become an adult, deemed capable of making important decisions for yourself. This is the age at which you should be allowed to vote, have sex, buy alcohol, gamble and get married.

Why is this idea important?

What sense does it make that you can have sex at 16, but you can't see an 18-certificate film at the cinema because it might contain adult sexual material? You can do it, but you can't watch it – yet you can't get a sexually transmitted disease from a film! And how can you be mature enough to get married at 16, but not mature enough to vote until you are 18?

There should be a single age at which you legally become an adult, deemed capable of making important decisions for yourself. This is the age at which you should be allowed to vote, have sex, buy alcohol, gamble and get married.

Stop police officers colluding when writing their reports.

Even when an innocent man is shot dead by police, the police officers are still allowed to get together and collude when writing up their "evidence." Is it any wonder that the version of events they collectively come up with always seems to absolve them all of any blame?

Each police officer at an incident should simply write down the truth as they remember it. If that is what they are doing, why should they need to collude?

Why is this idea important?

Even when an innocent man is shot dead by police, the police officers are still allowed to get together and collude when writing up their "evidence." Is it any wonder that the version of events they collectively come up with always seems to absolve them all of any blame?

Each police officer at an incident should simply write down the truth as they remember it. If that is what they are doing, why should they need to collude?

Our copyright laws need a “fair use” clause.

If I legitimately buy a music CD, then I should be able to make a backup and to transfer that music to my MP3 player or phone. Under our current laws, both are illegal – and that's just ridiculous!

Why is this idea important?

If I legitimately buy a music CD, then I should be able to make a backup and to transfer that music to my MP3 player or phone. Under our current laws, both are illegal – and that's just ridiculous!

Protect people from misuse of “soft evidence.”

So many jobs now require applicants to go through the "disclosure" procedure. It is one thing for someone to be rejected for a job on the basis of a solid criminal conviction, proven beyond reasonable doubt in a court of law. However, it is appalling that people are routinely refused employment on the grounds of nothing more than unproven and unsubstantiated allegations or rumours. This "soft evidence" should prompt the police to investigate further, but should not be passed on to employers so that they can callously discriminate against innocent people.

To quote from "Here is Wosdom":

"We have changed from a culture where you were considered innocent unless your guilt had been proven beyond reasonable doubt and you had been convicted in a court of law of a specific crime, to one where there are now many degrees of innocence categorised by various levels of unproven suspicion."

Why is this idea important?

So many jobs now require applicants to go through the "disclosure" procedure. It is one thing for someone to be rejected for a job on the basis of a solid criminal conviction, proven beyond reasonable doubt in a court of law. However, it is appalling that people are routinely refused employment on the grounds of nothing more than unproven and unsubstantiated allegations or rumours. This "soft evidence" should prompt the police to investigate further, but should not be passed on to employers so that they can callously discriminate against innocent people.

To quote from "Here is Wosdom":

"We have changed from a culture where you were considered innocent unless your guilt had been proven beyond reasonable doubt and you had been convicted in a court of law of a specific crime, to one where there are now many degrees of innocence categorised by various levels of unproven suspicion."

Scrap Ofsted.

Ofsted reports are largely meaningless. I've seen terrible schools get a glowing Ofsted report – all it means is that they've jumped through the hoops and produced the paperwork Ofsted need to cover their own backs. It says little or nothing about how well-educated the students are.

Teachers concentrate so much on impressing Ofsted – and following the Ofsted-supplied formula for what they consider to be "good" teaching, that there is little room for flexibility and innovation. Many of the very best teachers are mavericks who don't follow the rules – and many of them have already been driven out of the profession as it is.

Why is this idea important?

Ofsted reports are largely meaningless. I've seen terrible schools get a glowing Ofsted report – all it means is that they've jumped through the hoops and produced the paperwork Ofsted need to cover their own backs. It says little or nothing about how well-educated the students are.

Teachers concentrate so much on impressing Ofsted – and following the Ofsted-supplied formula for what they consider to be "good" teaching, that there is little room for flexibility and innovation. Many of the very best teachers are mavericks who don't follow the rules – and many of them have already been driven out of the profession as it is.

Let me choose my child’s school!

I pay the taxes that pay for our education system. Why should the state dictate to me where that money can be spent? What's wrong with a voucher system where state funding will follow my child to a school of my choosing? Why can I only choose from the low-quality schools that the state has set up? Why does the state seem to think that only it knows what is best for my child?

Why is this idea important?

I pay the taxes that pay for our education system. Why should the state dictate to me where that money can be spent? What's wrong with a voucher system where state funding will follow my child to a school of my choosing? Why can I only choose from the low-quality schools that the state has set up? Why does the state seem to think that only it knows what is best for my child?

Scrap Equality Laws.

If the state wants to have its own equality rules for employment in the public sector, that's fine, but what gives the state the right to impose its morality on private firms and individuals?

Why is this idea important?

If the state wants to have its own equality rules for employment in the public sector, that's fine, but what gives the state the right to impose its morality on private firms and individuals?

“Causing offence” should not be illegal.

If somebody is offended by what I say, that's their problem! They shouldn't be allowed to veto anything I say by simply claiming to be offended by it. I'm not responsible for their peculiar sensitivities – I want my freedom of speech back!

Why is this idea important?

If somebody is offended by what I say, that's their problem! They shouldn't be allowed to veto anything I say by simply claiming to be offended by it. I'm not responsible for their peculiar sensitivities – I want my freedom of speech back!

Scrap the National Curriculum.

Skilled teachers can work out for themselves what their students need to learn – they shouldn't have to dance to the tune of a bunch of bureaucrats in Whitehall. The National Curriculum has become a bloated, expensive, bureaucratic nightmare – the boxes get ticked, but the children remain uneducated.

Why is this idea important?

Skilled teachers can work out for themselves what their students need to learn – they shouldn't have to dance to the tune of a bunch of bureaucrats in Whitehall. The National Curriculum has become a bloated, expensive, bureaucratic nightmare – the boxes get ticked, but the children remain uneducated.