First of all, let me just say thanks to everyone for their response to my post yesterday about basic income. There clearly are a lot of people out there interested in the idea, so I’ve been spending a bit more time thinking about how we can take it forward.
I think there’s two main areas that we need to work on, though within those areas there are lots of other issues to be dealt with: policy and promotion.
Policy is the discussion of just what type of basic income we want to see, from the question of do we want a universal basic income, guaranteed minimum income, negative income tax or any of the other variants that have been proposed through what sort of level it should be set out to how does it get paid for and implemented? From what I’ve seen in the last day, there’s a lot of enthusiasm for the basic idea, but perhaps a lot of differences about the detail, and that’s something we need to discuss.
Promotion is the question of how do we get from where we are to getting a basic income policy adopted by the party. There are educational issues of how we get information out there to people about what basic income is and issues of how do we want to go out and take the discussion to people to win the argument for basic income. It’s also about getting supporters on side who’ll take up the idea in Parliament and out in the press, as there’s a bigger argument to be won than just the one in the party.
Both of those issues are linked, and we have to be careful not to get into a chicken-and-egg situation where we discuss ourselves into permanent inaction: ‘we can’t go out and publicise basic income to people until we have our policy right, but we can’t get our policy right until we talk to people and find out what version they want’
So, to move on the discussion from the ‘that’s a good idea’ stage we’ve reached, I’ve created a couple of groups to discuss the issues some more and hopefully get us moving on.
There’s an email list on the Lib Dem list server which you can find out more about by clicking here. If you’re registered with the list server you can subscribe there, otherwise you can do it by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘subscribe basicincome’ in the main body of the email and no subject line.
There’s also a Facebook group called Liberal Democrats For Basic Income, which you can join by following that links and clicking ‘join group’.
Hopefully, those two should cover most people’s preferred options for discussing, sharing and planning, but if you have any other suggestions or proposals then please speak up and let us know as I don’t want to exclude people from discussions, but hopefully we can now start to move forward and get some things done!