The Alternative Manifesto: what policies would you like to see included? #ImagineBelfast15

Imagine-FOOTER-Logo-Process_grey_StrapIn the run up to the general election we want to hear from people about what they would like to see changed. As political parties polish their election manifestos and get ready to bombard us with inducements to vote for their representatives, we think it’s an opportune time to think about what we would change if we were in charge. As part of the Imagine! Belfast Festival of Ideas & Politics, we would like to kick off a conversation on what would be included in such an Alternative Manifesto.

So said Peter O’Neill, organiser of The Belfast Festival of Ideas and Politics (previewed a few weeks ago) which runs from 9-15 March. Along side their physical programme, they’ve launched an appeal for contributions to their Alternative Manifesto.

Submit up to five manifesto proposals on the festival website before 12 March and take part in the ensuing debate and discussion. You can read policy ideas that have already been suggested by some academics, comedians and politicians.

  • Alternative manifesto - imagine belfastAnybody who dumps waste or drops litter to be made to lick the roads clean with their tongues. (Tim McGarry)
  • The media will not refer to women decision makers’ dress, family or lifestyle. Instead media will focus on what women have to say. And will have a woman interviewed and on panels for each man interviewed. (Yvonne Galligan)
  • A day of atonement/sorry day to honour victims in Troubles. (Prof John D Brewer)
  • Replacement of Northern Ireland Railways … with dedicated bus routes and stations, allowing those outside Belfast to get to Belfast safely and seated every morning. (Colin Agnew)
  • Unification of Queen’s University and University of Ulster. (Prof John D Brewer)
  • An education levy on Corporation Tax: Primary School classes will have a maximum of 20 pupils in. This will be paid for by a 1% rise on Corporation Tax. We will develop the best education in Europe. (Domic Bryan)
  • Custodial sentencing for tax evaders: Taxes are simply what we’ve all agreed to collectively contribute, based on our means, towards the costs of running the country. If you purposefully go out of your way to avoid paying your fair share of tax, you’re effectively stealing from everyone else and should be penalised accordingly. (Anonymous)
  • The 1996 Northern Ireland Forum Elections needed to include as many parties as possible to get buy-in from the talks [and] additional ‘top-up’ seats were given to smaller parties who had enough votes across Northern Ireland, but not enough votes in one place to get a seat. This was abolished for the first Assembly elections in 1998, but it’s a sound idea that’s sorely needed – with 105 out of 108 MLAs part of the government, we can’t have a healthy democracy until we have more alternative voices – this proposal would bring those alternatives – feminists, radicals, alternative voices – to the Assembly. (Adam McGibbon)

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  • FromEarth1792

    affordable public preschool daycare

  • barnshee

    Restrict governments ability to tax to 29% of GDP dissolution of parliament follows when breached

  • Practically_Family

    Naplam/white phosphorous to be cleared for use as riot control agents.

  • Peter O’Neill

    Thanks Alan. You can read the responses here

  • Kevin Breslin

    If this is what’s offered as an alternative, no wonder the mainstream is so mainstream.

  • D99

    Manifesto 1:
    Ask everyone who has private wealth in excess of £100m to dispose of the excess, i.e., spend it, give it away to charity or pass it on to the government exchequer, and evidence the fact that they have done so. (No passing it on to friends or relatives or hiding it with HSBC.)
    Give the excess wealth holders exactly one year to comply. After that, anyone found to be holding wealth in excess of £100m will have ALL their wealth confiscated and added to tax revenue. And they will not be entitled to claim JSA for at least 18 months.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    A rigorous, critical, profound and imaginative examination of what the state is for on both sides of the border, to include: the relationship between the state and its people, the contrat social, national identity, nationalism (of both colours), the power of multinational corporations, the reductions in the state’s powers (external & internal forces), transparency & accountability, the EU and what the hell does (the often invoked) self determination mean any more?

  • FromEarth1792

    What would constitute an alternative to you?

  • Kevin Breslin

    Some of these are just not enforceable and uneconomical others Stormont has no authority over like tax, tax collection and and press freedom.

    The 1% levy probably doesn’t work because educational investment is higher in some countries with lower corporation tax.

    What remains is probably implementable but unpopular.

  • David

    Scrap Stormont, bring back direct rule at a fraction of the cost, put the rest into the health service, education and job creation.

  • Peter O’Neill

    Any more takers? Some more info on this campaign is available on this link

  • Zeno


  • Fixed the submissions URL in the post – not sure what happened to it!

  • Kevin – suggest something less mainstream on the site!

  • Sir Rantsalot

    Free E’s for the over 40s!

    This age group is disadvantaged and has usually lost all there old dealer contacts due to decreased socialisation…