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4 July 2007


Simon Munnery says what he would do if he was prime minister giving us a glimpse of a brighter world

By Simon Munnery

I’m informed there’s been a change of leader. I feel as a passenger on a long-haul flight might when woken at 4am to be informed that for the rest of the journey the co-pilot will be at the controls: almost indifferent.

The outgoing leader wanted history to be his judge. That’s good; so let’s not even talk about him. We’re encouraged to condemn our leaders, but is that fair? Shouldn’t the followers take some of the blame? Even Hitler, in the end, was only giving orders.

And how much power does a prime minister have? Isn’t the job really about pretending to be in charge and taking the blame, a figurehead for a sham democracy. Sure; every five years you get a vote – but every week you go to the supermarket; and they’re not democratically run. There’s few changes in my life over the last ten years that I can lay at the ex-PM’s door. The war perhaps.

My friend went on that war march a few years ago – the pro-war one, not very well attended – though they won, which was strange. I went on the anti-war march; two million people, the biggest in British history, everyone chanting “No war! No war!” and the Prime Minister listened and said “No, war.”

Nevertheless it can be fun to play the game “If I Was Prime Minister…”

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* I’d begin immediately by having one off the wrist, singing to myself “I’m a prime minister, I’m a prime minister” as I cleared my custard. Then I could get up and begin my duties immune from Lewinskys.

*I’m not sure exactly what Parliament does, so I’d set up a Royal Commission to find out; then if it had any essential functions I’d outsource them to China.

*Health. I’d disband the medical service. They’ve had hundreds of years to work on it but are we immortal? No. Time’s up lads, sling your hook. A new health service would be established in which if a patient died their doctor would be required to be buried with them. That would sort the sheep from the goats.

*Transport. I’d link up satellites, cameras and anything else needed to a computer to track every moving or stationary vehicle at all times. You’d then be charged insurance depending on your driving; if you drove slowly on an empty road it would cost nothing, fast on a crowded one; your house.
In cities I’d establish a network of cycle tubes – lightweight transparent cylinders in the sky, with lifts to get the cyclist up there and spiralling chutes to make the descent a thrilling spectacle for all.
I’d ban the advertising, import, sale and manufacture of new cars; immediately making everyone’s car worth more, and providing plenty of long term work for mechanics. I’d close the airports.

*Foreign Affairs. I’d not use the word foreign, it’s a bit pejorative. I’d use ‘Enemy Scum’ – that’s proper pejorative. I’d pull the troops out of Iraq and send them to Portugal. No one will expect it, we’ll have the advantage of surprise, and probably do the place in a week. Then what? Get tanked up on Port, chuck a dart at a map and see where next.

*Tax. First I’d increase taxes across the board by 75%. Just to see what happened. Then I’d tax the poor out of existence and the rich till their pips squeaked. And what would I do with all the money collected? Keep it under my bed and laugh like a drain.

*Defence. I’d rename it the Ministry of Attack. It would give a much needed boost to morale.

*Immigration. Many Poles come here. Lots of people here move to Spain. I’d run a big advertising campaign encouraging Spaniards to move to Poland, completing the loop. Something like “Too hot? Sick of Paella and the roar of the ocean? Move to Poland”

*Prisons are absurd; putting all the people excluded from society together so they can form their own society with an axe to grind and plenty of opportunity to swap techniques – it’s like a university for criminals. What’s wrong with exile?

* I’d marry the Queen and that way become King as well as Prime Minister, so there’d be no need for further elections.