With 50-62% of the British public having no religion1, including 64% of those aged 18-242, Britain is no longer a Christian country and so its official status as such will be removed. Britain will become a secular nation under a Secularism Act.
Human rights are paramount, because we are all human but not all religious. No-one should be restricted from practising their religious beliefs unless those beliefs infringe on the human rights of others. Equally, the non-religious or those of other religions, should be free of interference from religions. So we will enshrine in law two principles;
Disestablishment of the Church of England.
Ending prayers in Parliament and local government.
When Government seeks advice from religious groups they will also be required to consult groups representing of non-theists.
All human rights exemptions for religious organisations, such as discrimination in recruitment, will be revoked.
Religious organisations operating public services will be explicitly banned from promoting their religion in the process in order to protect vulnerable members of society.
Religious individuals delivering public services wishing to conscientiously object will be limited from doing so in all but the most extreme cases (e.g. doctors and abortion).
Local and national Remembrance Day/Sunday celebrations organised or controlled by any branch of government should be secular events, including the Cenotaph ceremony.
The British Isles have been the destination of migrants for millennia. Each new influx of migrants have brought new skills, languages and other cultural influences. Immigration has been unambiguously beneficial to this country, and continues to allow companies, organisations and communities to strengthen and improve by bringing in talents and viewpoints they otherwise lack.
This manifesto opposes those policies and views that seek to stigmatise, isolate, or denigrate those who wish to come and make a positive contribution to British society and the economy.
We propose a system that will allow employers to seek the best and brightest from around the globe, as well as encouraging anyone to settle who has something to contribute to our communities. We hope to encourage more international companies to invest and establish offices here, knowing that the United Kingdom is an international hub for talent.
We also wish to ensure the United Kingdom remains committed to fulfilling its international obligations as a safe haven for anyone suffering, or at risk of suffering, persecution for their political or religious views, or because of their actual or perceived race, gender or sexual orientation.
The state should be able to honour deceased individuals in ways that the current Honours System does not allow (e.g. remove the specific number of places within the Order of the Bath which prevents the ability to grant knighthoods to the deceased).
Nominations for State Honours should continue to be encouraged from the public. These nominations should be shortlisted by a Committee appointed from within an elected Upper Chamber of Parliament. A nationwide public online vote should then decide on the final award of Honours on the basis of a redacted nomination paper to remove identifying information and prevent cronyism.
The state should not seek to incentivise marriage through the tax system, but it should recognise family household units whether married, unmarried or in a civil partnership. It is therefore proposed that a non-working adult’s personal income tax allowance may be transferred in full to another working adult residing in the same household. Only one transfer would be allowed per household.
Humanist marriage (a wedding performed by a humanist celebrant) should be officially recognised across the UK, as it already is in Scotland.
Bigamy laws will be repealed, and polyamorous marriage explicitly legalised, all with the goal of allowing love in all forms to flourish, should the participants choose to utilise the institution of marriage.
Currently under all devolved jurisdictions, each party to the civil partnership must be of the same sex. This option shall be extended to heterosexual couples who may not wish to partake in the institution of marriage.
By implementing shared rights to parental leave, couples raising young children may decide for themselves how to best share and make use of their time and resources.
Our entire society and economy is centred around the principle of continued economic growth driven by ever increasing consumption. Everyone in society is put under pressure to put in more hours at work, to aim for the next promotion, to get a better salary, to get a bigger house and fill it with more things - despite the fact this rarely leads to increased happiness or contentment. We feel pressure to do so because it’s expected of us, because of peer and family pressure, and because of the constant stream of advertising on the web, TV, radio and billboards. The Government encourage this in order to grow the economy forever more, whilst ignoring the fact it creates feelings of peer inadequacy, is causing chronic physical and mental exhaustion in our workforce, is fuelling an obesity crisis, and is hugely damaging to our natural environment.
We recognise that this is hugely damaging, and to take an alternative approach that would provide a sustainable economy with a greater emphasis on physical and mental well-being, to pursue careers that focuses on self-development and professional contentment, and to steer society away from consumerism.
“Easter Religion and Other News”, British Religion in Numbers, April 5, 2015: http://www.brin.ac.uk/2015/easter-religion-and-other-news/ ↩
“British Social Attitudes 28: Religion”, NatCen, 2012: http://www.bsa.natcen.ac.uk/latest-report/british-social-attitudes-28/religion.aspx ↩