I read with interest the other day that a number of Dutch municipalities are introducing a pilot scheme in which a small group of benefits claimants will receive a ‘basic income’ of about £650 a month. Nothing novel there, I’d admit. But what’s interesting is that, if these individuals are in work or manage to get a job, then they will be allowed to keep any additional money that they make.
Now, this may not exactly seem revolutionary. And it isn’t. In fact, it’s an idea that has been around since the late 1700’s and forms a significant part of current Green Party policy. But as far as actual welfare policy ideas go, you have to admit that it is a teeny weeny bit towards the radical end of the spectrum. In fact, even the politicians introducing it seem to be doing so with some trepidation.
I’m not here, of course, to argue for or against the introduction of a basic income for welfare recipients or anyone else. (Though, I’d have to admit, it’s possibly not the worst idea in the world.) What I am arguing for, however, is the merits of trying something new from time to time. And as we enter the new year, what better time to start.
Sure, trying something new is scary. It can mean a lot of effort and hard work. And it can, of course, go awfully, horrendously wrong. But if we’re lucky, it might just go fantastically, magnificently right. It might, in short, be amazing. And we’ll be sitting there all embarrassed, shuffling our feet and wondering why we didn’t do it a long time ago.
So why not try something new this year? Something big, something small or perhaps just something that’s been gnawing away at the back of your mind for a little too long. For my part, I’ve spent the last few weeks bubbling with ideas for Sockmonkey that I’m raring to try out over the coming months. So give it a go. And I’ll see you out there…
Oh, and a very Happy New Year to you all!