The People's Manifesto: Mark Thomas and friends' suggestions for UK political reform

UK political comedian Mark Thomas's new book is The People's Manifesto, and it contains a list of hilarious (and useful) wish-items for political reform in the UK, generated by Thomas's audiences during a UK standup tour. At each tour stop, Thomas asked his audience to write out political reforms they'd like to see, and then he'd read them aloud from the stage, riffing on them and letting the audience vote (by cheering) for their favourites. The People's Manifesto compiles the best of these, with hilarious and trenchant commentary from Thomas.

Here are some examples I quite liked:

  • People who allow their dogs to shit on the pavement without cleaning it up should be forced to wear it as a mustache
  • MPs should not paid wages but loans, like students, because they get highly paid jobs after they graduate from Westminster as a result of attending Parliament. They should therefore pay back the loan they got while in office.
  • There should be a maximum wage ("anyone who says they will leave [as a result of this policy] and then doesn't can be sued for breach of contract")
  • If MPs want a second job in order to gain a greater understanding of life outside government, then their constituents should choose which job would best expand their MPs' horizons [note: in the UK, MPs routinely hold one or more high-paying, demanding job in addition to drawing a salary as an MP, some of these MPs miss up to 92 percent of votes in Parliament]
  • Politicians should have to wear tabards displaying the names and logos of the companies with whom they have a financial relationship, like a racing driver ("They should be forced to sing the company's jingle when they stand up in the Chamber")
  • Those in favor of ID cards should be banned from having curtains

There's a lot to these — they're not just funny, many of them are eminently sensible. Like the dog-shit one.

The People's Manifesto