This page contains a selection of our policies - others will evolve over time.
- Individual ownership
- Parliament, political funding and devolution
- Homes and houses
- Health and social care
- Agriculture, food and the countryside
- Media, culture and the arts
- Financial affairs
- Transport and energy
- Employment, trade, industry and business
- Foreign affairs
- Law and order
We will introduce the concept of Clearly Identifiable Individual Ownership (CIIO) into law.
One of the ways to avoid responsibility is to hide - either by running away or by creating something you can legally hide behind.
Companies, particularly ones registered offshore or in tax havens, are one way to hide. In law they are like a person but they can't die - though, as companies, they have certain legal responsibilities. For shareholders that responsibility is limited to losing all their investment. For directors it is limited to losing their jobs unless they have done something criminal.
It is estimated that over £4.4 billion (£4,000,000,000) of Scottish land is held in tax havens by companies.
We are not suggesting getting rid of UK registered companies. We are for the creation of new enterprises - in all forms.
Trusts are frequently used to hide assets, especially land, and often in tax havens. CIIO will replace trusts.
CIIO requires that it must be possible to clearly identify the individual person, or group of people, who own an asset - no matter where that asset is.
More detail of our taxation policies may be found on the taxation page.
UK citizens who do not wish to honour their social responsibilities, by way of paying tax, are free to repatriate their overseas assets, settle their affairs with HMRC, give up their UK citizenship, surrender their UK passports, leave the UK, forfeit all rights enjoyed by UK citizens and become citizens of any country of their choice.
A regressive tax has a greater impact on those with lower incomes than on the wealthy.
A progressive tax has a greater impact on the wealthy than on those with lower incomes.
Our long-term aims are:
- to abolish all tax on earned income so people keep the maximum reward for their personal efforts.
- to abolish VAT because it is regressive and increases the price of products.
Abolishing VAT, along with tax on earned income, will act as a major economic stimulant - people will have more money to spend. Coupled with restricting imports from cheap-labour countries this will also stimulate new UK manufacturing.
- to abolish property taxes on homes (Council Tax) and businesses (Business Rates).
- to abolish Stamp Duty on the purchase of property.
- to abolish inheritance tax.
- to abolish all schemes whose specific purpose is to avoid tax, e.g. trusts.
- to end the use of tax havens by companies or individuals to avoid tax.
- to cease giving government contracts to companies registered in tax havens or owned, in whole or in part, by companies or individuals registered in tax havens.
- to ensure that all company income generated in the UK is taxed in the UK. This will close the many loopholes currently used by UK and non-UK companies to avoid UK tax.
National and local governments require funding to do their jobs so replacement taxes will have to be introduced - these will be phased in over time.
Our proposals for replacement taxes (not "new" taxes!) are:
- UIT: Unearned Income Tax. In effect, this is a tax on all income which is not currently subject to PAYE.
Provision will be made to handle cases where attempts are made to avoid tax by switching unearned income to earned income.
- LVT: Land Value Tax. A flat rate percentage tax on the current market value of land, not on the land itself.
LVT is paid by the freeholder, not by tenants.
LVT is payable on all land in the UK and on land outside the UK owned by UK citizens, UK residents or UK companies.
Are we mad?
We are often told we are mad, we can't scrap income tax, VAT and all the rest of it - how would we pay for roads, hospitals, schools and everything else we need?
No, we aren't mad, we have thought it through and we have covered things in more detail on the taxation page.
Parliament, political funding and devolution
We will move parliament away from London to Birmingham, Manchester or Leeds.
We will abolish the House of Lords and replace it with a second chamber based on regional elections.
To prevent bribery, corruption and undue influence we will introduce a system whereby political parties are funded exclusively by subscriptions from members. Members must be UK citizens living in the UK and resident in the UK for tax purposes.
Subscriptions are to be the same for all members with the possible exception of reduced subscriptions for those who are registered as unemployed, registered as disabled or in receipt of the national old age pension.
Parties may not accept other funding or donations directly or indirectly from individuals or companies.
Additional funding will be provided from taxation during pre-election periods to pay for political campaigns, broadcasts, etc. Such funding will be in proportion to each party's verifiable membership.
In addition to the current Register of Consultant Lobbyists we will introduce a register of "Think Tanks" and other organisations that attempt to influence government policy through research, surveys, published papers or other means. This register will include full details of the funding and control of such organisations. To prevent bribery, corruption and undue influence, such organisations will be recognised only if their funding comes entirely from within the UK and they are controlled by individuals who are UK citizens living in the UK and registered in the UK for tax purposes.
We support the right of those living in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to decide for themselves how their country should be run and whether or not their country should remain within the UK. We will place no barriers against votes for increased devolution or independence and, in the case of Northern Ireland, we will place no barriers against a vote on a united Ireland.
Homes and houses
We must satisfy the need for homes without covering more and more of the country with concrete.
- to bring unoccupied premises back into occupation.
- to bring our current housing stock into a fit state for the 21st century.
- to reform the rental sector (see below) - there are many reasons why some people prefer to rent rather than buy.
- to make it easier for young people to buy their first home by providing low cost mortgages via the Citizens' Bank. This will replace all current schemes.
- to abolish schemes designed to put money into hands of those property developers who fund the Conservative Party. "Affordable housing" has never been affordable (developers can easily get round the requirement) and "help to buy" and "right to buy" have artificially increased house prices while boosting profits for developers.
- to discourage second homes which remain unoccupied for most of the year - particularly in areas where locals find it almost impossible to purchase or rent homes. We will do this by making it possible for local authorities to increase the Land Value Tax rate on such properties - if that is what voters in the area wish to do.
- to complete the Land Register.
All property transactions in England and Wales are entered into the register maintained by HM Land Registry. The information is public and details include who sold it, who bought it and how much was paid.
Details are available online for a fee of £3.00. We will make it available free of charge and we will convert the Register's database into a Geographical Information System (GIS) with detailed search and mapping facilties.
Borrow To Build: social housing, homes to rent
The "Right to Buy" was introduced by the Tories in 1980 in a deliberate and cynical attempt to buy votes because "home owners vote Tory". It worked - it kept them in power until 1997.
The idea had been floated as far back as the 1950s - by the Labour Party!
Lots of people have made lots of money out of Right to Buy. Private landlords now make money renting out property that used to be social housing.
The result is a massive shortfall in the number of homes available for rent at an affordable cost. We forget that many people are happy renting, they don't want the millstone of a mortgage round their necks - that doesn't make them bad people!
Both the Tories and Labour maintained this policy and stripped Local Councils of the right to borrow to build social homes. For the Tories it is simple: social homes threaten private landlords and private landlords and private property developers support the Tories. For Labour it is fear - they are afraid to right a gross wrong because they don't know what will happen if they do.
We will ensure that Local Councils can Borrow To Build to meet the needs of their local communities. Money is cheap at the moment; Councils can borrow knowing they will get rents to cover the costs of loans, building and maintenance.
The introduction of Land Value Tax will speed up house building by discouraging developers from holding on to land banks because they will be paying significant tax on land with planning permission or on land with future development options.
The UK has become the world's primary centre for illegal money laundering by those who have stolen money from their own countries or who are engaged in large-scale criminal activity. Much of this is done through UK banks and much is done by investment in UK property, particularly in London and other major cities.
We will strictly regulate the purchase of UK property by non-UK citizens. "British Homes for British People" will be our primary consideration when making decisions about all property developments and sales.
We will restore the right of local people to make the final decision about property developments in their area.
The rental sector
We will introduce HM Tenancy Registry (HMTR) (a parallel to HM Land Registry) modelled on that used in the Republic of Ireland but extended to include agricultural tenancies.
There are excellent landlords and tenants and rogue landlords and tenants. There is also the problem that the property sector has been used in the past for money laundering. HMTR will provide security to landlords and tenants.
- Maintain a public register of tenants, landlords and agents.
- Vet registered tenants, landlords and agents to ensure they can meet their legal and financial responsibilites.
Landlords will no longer be responsible for vetting tenants.
- Maintain a public register of all tenancy agreements.
- Provide a disputes resolution service for tenants and landlords. The outcome of such disputes will be recorded on the public register. Tenants may check prospective landlords, landlords may check prospective tenants.
- Implement any rent protection measures put in place by government nationally or in specific areas of high rental pressure. The Republic of Ireland calls these "Rent Pressure Zones".
- Hold tenants' deposits in escrow via an account with The National Citizens' Bank.
Education has always been a political football with public school educated politicians telling the state sector how it should do its job.
Education needs a breathing space, free of political interference, particularly after Covid.
We will establish a Royal Commission to determine the future of education and its membership will be drawn from those in the education profession, from pre-school to University level, and will include representatives from the private and state sectors. Representatives will also be invited from the Arts, industry and business.
We recognise that a "one size fits all" education is not suitable for all young people. We need to balance the abstract with the practical, we need people with physical and digital skills as much as we need people in the humanities and the arts.
We must look outside the UK to see what sort of education systems work in the best interest of young people. We certainly don't want the regimented system found in some South East Asian countries because we need creative, enthusiastic and passionate young people coming out of the education system.
Health and social care
The NHS has been deliberately underfunded in an attempt by the Conservatives to introduce privatisation and American-style health insurance by stealth. (Tens of millions of Americans have no form of health protection whatsoever and many families are financially crippled when the hospital bills flood in after even a single accident.) We should be ashamed that we have the lowest number of hospital beds in Europe in proportion to the size of our population. The NHS has a massive shortage of nurses and other workers, made worse by the Conservatives' attitude to workers from outside the UK.
We will rectify these problems.
During Covid many people dug deep into personal savings to fund operations that had been postponed indefinitely by the NHS. Those private operations were carried out swiftly in private hospitals by consultants and surgeons who themselves work in the NHS. They had time to earn private money but no time to provide operations in the NHS.
This must end. The Labour government surrendered to doctors in 1948, we must not do so now. Doctors must be free to train and work in the NHS or to train and work in the private sector. It is either/or, not both.
We will provide funds for social care and we will examine how people can best plan for, and fund, their care in old age.
Agriculture, food and the countryside
Farmers have to plan a long time ahead; they need to make significant capital investments; they need stability; they need to know what society expects of them; they need to know what national priorities are; they need a market for their products and they need a decent income.
In the last few decades we have paid farmers to grow more, we have seen thousands of miles of hedgerows ripped up to make room for massive machines and we have swung from milk lakes to butter mountains. We have paid them a subsidy based on the area of land they farm - which is not much of an incentive to do anything except take the money. We have seen thousands of dairy farmers go out of business as supermarkets force prices down to below break-even level. We have seen things improve with closer relationships between individual farmers and supermarket groups.
We need security of food supplies - an absolute priority for any government. We need to grow as much of our domestically consumed food in the UK as possible and we need to limit our dependence on cheap food grown outside the UK.
We will not sign any trade deal that results in the import of food that does not meet UK safety standards. Even though we are no longer a member of the European Union, we will establish and maintain animal welfare standards that exceed those within the EU.
The countryside is a national and shared asset - it belongs to us all (in fact, since 1066, it all belongs to "the crown" - with individuals able to purchase the right to "hold" part of it - the freehold) and is a fundamental part of what makes us British. The patchwork quilt of the English countryside brings tears to the eyes of many an expat while the hills and mountains of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are part of their national identity. The world would be a poorer place without our countryside.
We share the countryside with wildlife - or we used to. Intensive farming, the destruction of hedgerows, the use of artificial fertilisers and pesticides, the failure to allow headlands, the increase in mono-cropping, the break up of small farms, the sale or rent of farm houses to the middle class, the conversion of farm building to dwellings, the growth of second homes and Airbnbs in the countryside (*) - all these have driven many of our wildlife species to near extinction - and all within living memory. We are all guilty of this, we have demanded cheap food and governments have encouraged intensive farming - farmers have simply done what society demanded of them.
* The non-agricultural use of farm dwellings means that more and more farmland is being let on short tenancies resulting in farmers moving heavy farm machinery between widely spaced fields - with all the damage and mess that creates. It also means that tenants have little or no interest in maintaining hedges and ditches or following wild-life friendly policies - after all, they may only have the land for a year before the landowner accepts a higher offer.
We are still doing it. The totally unnecessary HS2 (yet another "faster way to get to London") will result in significant destruction in the countryside, included to Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs).
The Agriculture Bill 2019-21 has started to address these issue. We will continue to build on it and correct some of its weaknesses - for example, its lack of standards for environmental protection and standards in relation to imported foodstuffs for human and animal consumption.
- encourage all forms of sustainable and environmentally friendly energy generation.
- not repeat the long-lasting mistakes made in the rush for oil. We will make clear the true global economic, environmental and political costs, and consequences, of the rush to electric.
- support the value-added processing at source of all raw materials used for battery production.
- establish a national battery recycling scheme.
- require one pound to be spent on battery recycling for every pound spent on battery production.
- not support repressive regimes via the purchase of raw materials.
- support environmentally friendly and sustainable agricultural practices to encourage the return of wildlife.
- retain and protect our countryside as a national asset to be enjoyed by all.
- protect our countryside from over development.
- support sustainable energy production.
- minimise energy consumption by ensuring that all homes and other buildings are suitably insulated.
- continue the policy of restoring sustainable mixed-species forests and woodlands.
- encourage the movement away from the manufacture of destructive products towards those that contribute positively to the social good.
- lift trading embargoes on those countries attempting to use their natural resources for the good of their people rather than to line the pockets of multi-national corporations. For example, we will purchase Venezuelan oil.
Media, culture and the Arts
We will actively encourage a free press and media by ensuring that foreigners, or those resident outside the UK for tax purposes, do not try to tell us how to run our country.
Media ownership, in whole or in part, will be restricted to UK citizens, living in the UK and resident in the UK for tax purposes.
We don't always see eye-to-eye with the BBC (the Tories accuse it of "left wing bias", Labour accuses it of "right wing bias" - we think it is sometimes a bit of both) but we see it as a national asset.
The BBC is regulated, accountable, and very important in projecting the image of the UK to the world. Without it we would have private individuals, through ownership of the media, presenting their political world views as the true image of the UK.
Those who have visited the USA will have seen how bad things get when rich people own the media and use it to promote their personal political agenda. Not the sort of thing we want here.
We will ensure the BBC's independence from political interference, we will maintain the compulsory TV licence fee and we will cover the cost of the TV licence fee for the elderly.
We recognise the benefits provided to us all by an active cultural and artistic environment. The UK has always been proud of its cultural and creative contribution to the world and we will encourage this in as many ways as possible. While funds are not unlimited, and priorities have to be balanced, we will support systems to administer grants to ensure a vibrant cultural life for us all.
Too many governments have engaged in foreign wars which have suffered "unforeseen consequences". In the 19th century we were forced out of Afghanistan with our tail between our legs. In the 21st century the same thing happened. We are obviously slow learners.
No country has the right to set itself up as the policeman of the world.
It is not our job to tell other countries how they should be run - how would we feel if another country tried to do the same to us? We can bring pressure to bear on countries with what we consider to be unacceptable forms of government, and we can encourage those who want to provide the sort of freedoms enjoyed by UK citizens.
However, we have no right to impose our views on other countries by force - too many people have died when we have tried (and failed) to do this and those deaths, along with the long-term ripples and consequences of those deaths, must weigh heavily on the consciences of previous Prime Ministers, their cabinets and all those who voted for war.
We require sufficient military capability to meet our own defence and to meet our obligations when our military is called upon to contribute, for example, by the United Nations.
We can do this without the crippling cost of the latest flavour of the month weapons systems developed outside the UK. The list of military procurement scandals, here and elsewhere, is embarrassingly long - the American F35 being a classic example. This is one area where almost every government has engaged in reckless financial irresponsibility.
We will shift the balance of our defence budget away from imaginary threats towards realistic ones: cyber and terrorist attacks. At the same time we will ensure that our defence policy doesn't generate "blow back" - the cause of so much terrorism today.
The UK has bases in foreign countries and, in each case, we will offer the host county the opportunity to say if it wishes us to remain or not. We will honour their decision.
We will do the same for foreign bases in the UK by asking our people, by way of a vote, whether or not they want foreign bases to remain here.
The issue of nuclear weapons is a controversial one. They are unlikely to be used, they are incredibly expensive (with much of the cost contributing to the profits of overseas companies), and they are not under our ultimate control. However, many people see them as an acceptable deterrent - against whom we don't know - they are certainly unlikely to deter the major threat we face in terms of religious and other forms of physical and cyber terrorism. Are we putting our defence spending in the right place?
We will put the question of nuclear weapons to our people at the same time as asking about foreign bases on UK soil. In both cases we will honour the decision of the British people.
Over the last few decades we have seen multiple scandals in the banking, financial services and accountancy sectors. Major companies have been prosecuted here, in the USA and in Europe and fined billions for money laundering, market fiddling and negligence. Few lessons have been learned from the reckless gambling which caused the collapse of 2007/2008 - and few individuals have been held responsible.
The Paradise Papers of 2017, Panama Papers of 2016, Swiss Leaks of 2015 and LuxLeaks of 2014 reveal a sordid world of tax evasion and avoidance by individuals and companies and describe how international banks such as HSBC, Barclays, Deutsche Bank, Standard Chartered and J P Morgan actively assist fraudsters and criminals to move huge amounts of stolen money around the world. They also reveal how the world's biggest accountancy firms manipulate international financial regulations to enable their clients to evade and avoid tax.
"Only little people pay tax" is the motto of rich individuals and corporations - those on PAYE may be justifiably angry!
The financial collapse of 2007/2008, and the rescue of banks by taxpayers, taught us that we cannot rely on banks to keep our money secure.
We will create a national bank, "The UK Citizens' Bank", for use by UK citizens and UK companies.
The bank will:
- take deposits from UK citizens and companies and offer loans and mortgages to UK citizens and companies.
- accept salaries and other payments in, and make transfers out via direct debits, standing orders and bank transfers. Cash may be withdrawn from the national network of ATM machines.
- provide a 100% security guarantee on all deposits without limit - it will look after people's hard-earned money.
- provide a debit card to account holders but it will not operate a credit card scheme.
- charge interest on loans and mortgages and pay interest on savings. It will pay its wages and overheads from the balance between the two. It will not be profit making.
- provide a low cost mortgage scheme for first time buyers to replace all current schemes including "Help to Buy".
- provide an "angel" investment scheme for innovative startups.
- function online only, it will not have branches. Those without Internet access, or unhappy about using online banking, may make deposits and withdrawals via the national post office network.
- not accept deposits from, or make loans to, non-UK citizens or companies.
- not transfer money outside the UK. Those wishing to transfer money overseas will have to transfer it to another UK bank first.
- not engage in gambling, credit default swaps or any of the other "financial instruments" that brought the world to its knees in 2007/2008.
Your money may be at risk
Those investing in company shares do so hoping for a higher return than leaving money in the bank. They understand they risk losing every penny if the company goes bankrupt with insufficient funds to pay its debts.
The same applies to shares and deposits in financial institutions.
Financial institutions may offer a variety of services not available elsewhere and many depositors are happy to accept higher risks in the hope of higher returns.
Savings and deposits in British registered banks, building societies ands credit unions are covered, up to £85,000 per person per institution, by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) which is funded by the financial industry, not by the government.
We do not accept that taxpayers should cover the risks taken by private financial institutions, particularly in light of the gambling that took place in 2007/2008, so we will make it clear that:
As always, savers and investors can decide what to do with their money - it's all part of being responsible for what you do.
Should a major bank go bankrupt, and the FSCS scheme is unable to provide full protection for savers, we will consider bringing it into public ownership as part of the UK Citizen's Bank to protect remaining savings. Shareholders will not be protected and will probably lose their entire investment.
Are we punishing the banks?
Banks are private businesses, they exist to make a profit and to pay a dividend to their shareholders. Like any business, they have to earn the trust of their customers.
If they continue to offer excellent service, prove themselves trustworthy and avoid high risk gambling with other people's money, they have nothing to fear from this clarification.
Banks are free to increase the protection offered by FSCS if they feel customer trust is at risk.
We will also:
- encourage long term investment in industry and business by introducing a financial transaction tax.
- extend the strict control and regulation of the financial sector and make the directors of banks and other financial institutions criminally liable if their companies engage in any form of money laundering, any schemes specifically designed to avoid or evade tax or any form of reckless gambling with savers' money.
- give serious consideration to the introduction of a Universal Basic Income - especially relevant given the speed at which the Conservative Party shook The Magic Money Tree to support wages and salaries during the Covid pandemic.
Employment, trade, industry and business
Change is inevitable, some people fear it and prefer to stick to "the same old ways", others find it stimulating and grab the opportunities it offers.
We have no wish to return to the days of the 1970s with high inflation, massive industrial unrest and a three day working week under candle power. Had there been no change we would still be typesetting using hot metal, we would still be sending people thousands of feet underground to damage their health and shorten their lives and there would have been no "digital revolution".
The critical thing is the management of change. In the 1970s there was bloody mindedness on both sides and even today, employee unrest is usually a symptom of poor management rather than uppity staff.
In the last 40 years the pendulum has swung too far in favour of employers and we will introduce measures to restore a fair balance.
- Staff in all companies will be free to join any trade union or professional association of their choice.
- On issues relating to salaries and working conditions companies must consult with any trade union or professional association representing more than 10% of its staff.
- Companies with more than 100 employees must appoint at least one elected member of staff to the board.
As well as supporting both private and public enterprise we will support new businesses set up under cooperative and mutual ownership.
The UK has always been a trading nation and in today's global, "just-in-time", world where components, products and services are sourced world wide, it is vital that we re-establish the trading relationships lost as a result of our exit from the European Union as well as entering into new trading relationships with other countries. Trading under WTO rules gives us the worst of all worlds and we have been consistently lied to by the Conservative Party about "oven ready deals".
Outsourcing (making more money by getting foreigners to do the work) has resulted in a dramatic decline in our manufacturing industry, yet a visit to any industrial estate shows that high-skilled manufacturing, albeit on a small scale, is still thriving in most of the country. We will promote British industry, we will promote R&D and we will ensure that our education system provides people with the sort of skills we need in the modern world of industry and business.
We wish to encourage inventiveness and initiative, we want to see new companies established and small companies grow into large ones. At the same time we want employers and employees to be rewarded for their efforts by keeping more money in their pockets through changes to the taxation system.
Since the 1970s the UK economy has been kept afloat by "services" and by the financial sector. This is a mixed blessing and the Covid pandemic revealed that this lack of balance between service and manufacturing can be disastrous to an economy under pressure - the UK has suffered more than any other major country in Europe.
Transport and energy
- Cancel HS2 in favour of cross country rail routes in the North of England.
- Bring underperforming rail franchises under public control.
- Protect environmentally friendly forms of transport while being open about the true human and environmental cost of electric transport - from the mining of lithium and other elements in developing countries to the disposal of batteries at the end of their life.
We will promote the "at source" processing of the elements used in batteries so added-value is retained in the country of origin for the benefit of local people instead of being exported by multi-national corporations.
- Continue the shift away from fossil fuels toward sustainable energy sources.
- Ensure that all new housing and urban developments give high priority to pedestrians and cyclists.
We will continue to promote British interests throughout the world.
We will not engage in "regime change" or military "adventures" and we will discourage our allies from doing the same.
We will openly criticise those countries who, in our opinion, oppress their citizens and deny them similar rights to those enjoyed by UK citizens.
We will promote the idea of "one country, one state, freedom and justice for all" as a solution to the problems of Israel/Palestine.
We will not give blind support to allies, we will treat each case on its merits.
We will support and work closely with the United Nations while being critical of the lack of financial control in many of its activities.
We will encourage countries to stand on their own two feet and not to rely on aid. "Give a man a fish and you feed him for one day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."
We will enforce rigorous financial control on any aid given to overseas countries. In the past some "give and forget" aid has been stolen by those in power and laundered through London banks and the London property market!
We will ensure that all international agreements are truly bilateral - at the moment some agreements, such as those relating to extradition, are one-way only and against the best interests of UK citizens.
Law and order
Someone once said: "tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime".
The first is easy - we lock up more people than any other country in Europe.
The second is much harder because the causes of crime are complicated - not black and white as so often portrayed in the "lock 'em up and throw away the key", "bring back hanging", "bring back the birch" Daily Mail.
Harsh punishment alone doesn't work. Badly run prisons become criminal education centres - prisoners become better criminals by learning from fellow inmates.
The best ways to cut down on crime and prevent people returning to prison are:
- Give them a skill.
- Give them hope. (We must also deal with those still in prison on indeterminate sentences - they too need hope.)
- Rebuild their self-esteem - make them proud of themselves and give them a purpose in life.
- Get them a job when they come out of prison
We would like to give respect and praise to the Timpson Group for their efforts in reducing re-offending by giving employment to ex-prisoners - so you know where to go when you want keys cut or shoes repaired!
There will always be real "professional criminals" and there will always be some people who have to be locked up for the safety of society - but they make up a surprisingly small proportion of those in prison.
Most people in prison are there for reasons of low self esteem, because they can't get a decent job, because making money from drugs is easier than working for a living, and/or because they were abused by their families.
We can do something about that.
We can give serious consideration to the legalisation of most drugs - thus destroying the market fed by criminal gangs.
It might help if the middling classes stopped taking "recreational drugs" - after all, if there was no market, there would be no drug dealers - but that's an unrealistic pipe dream so we must concentrate on the practical and effective.
It costs £40,000 a year to keep someone in prison. That money can go a long way to giving someone employable skills so they can earn a living to keep themselves and their families. Locking them up is simply burning our money, destroying family life and breeding the next generation of criminals.
It would be nice if the world was black and white, right and wrong, but it isn't - it is infinite shades of grey and we have to understand and deal with the world as it is, not as we would like it to be.