Monday, 16 February 2015

If I Ruled The World...

I was asked to write this article for The Western Morning News and it was published yesterday. I had so much fun writing it, I thought I would share it more widely.

My First Law

Children must read one hour daily. It doesn’t matters what: classic literature, YA novels, newspapers or comics; it all keeps imagination stimulated. With age, imagination atrophies, so every adult must read two hours daily. 

My Cabinet 

It’s politicians, and party politics in particular, that cause the world’s problems. So, no Cabinet; I would rule as a benign dictator. 

My chief advisers

My sister, Sheila, who talks more sense than any politician and frequently begins a sentence with: ‘when I’m Emperor I will…’; Bill Gates for his business acumen; Queen Elizabeth II, who has more job experience in ruling than anyone; and Tim Minchin as a voice of sanity.

My capital

Called VARIABLE, it would move around the world one month at a time; no city or nation would gain power or influence over another.

Honours system

Awarded for random acts of kindness only; no other honours available. 

My views on the West Country and its people

I’m a blow-in who’s only been here since 2007 and I love it. We came partly because of how green it is, compared to the South East. Of course, there is a reason for that - but now we've bought wet weather clothing and wellies, we’re fine. And everyone is so friendly. I love the fact it can take two hours to pop up to the shops, by the time we've stopped and passed the time of day with everyone we meet.


It’s tragic, but understandable, that the size of the electorate falls with each election. I always vote; it’s a hard-won right, especially for women, and I think we should honour that; but the self-centred, untrustworthy behaviour of many of our politicians has led to a generation of disaffected citizens. [Of course, in my Utopian dictatorship, there would be no need for voting…]

The environment/climate change

This is the single most important issue facing us today. Given the age of the Earth and the relatively short time we’ve been around, we should be a mere blip, but our effect is out of all proportion to that. I don’t know what the answer is, but I suspect it’s more radical than littering the countryside with wind farms and solar panels.


In my world, there would be huge investment in sensible, effective public transport, coupled with incentives to work locally.


People should work to live rather than living to work. In my world, everyone could choose the job they want, and everyone would get paid the same.

With one set of rules and an equal sharing of the world’s wealth, there would be no need for economic migration; but I would actively encourage mixing of races and cultures. 

I would ban

BOGOF offers in supermarkets. They encourage us to buy food we neither want nor need - which is dumped when it goes off. Or is that only in my house?.

I would make compulsory

Laughter several times a day - and reading (reading comics complies with both at once)

I would un-ban

I would decriminalise drug-taking. Making it illegal hasn’t stopped it. It’s better to control the supply and address underlying reasons.

My pet hates

Unsurprisingly for a writer, I hate poor grammar. I know language changes over time - and even indulge in the odd bit of text-speak myself - but in official or formal writing, there is no excuse. I shout at the TV every time someone uses ‘less’ instead of ‘fewer’. 

Instead of ruling the world, I will probably end my days as a graffiti terrorist creeping around town removing unnecessary apostrophes in street signs!

So that's what I would do if I ruled the world. What would you do?


  1. Replies
    1. Yes, I suppose there is a flaw in the logic, Norah, isn't there? Someone will have to vote me into power first - and then I can abolish voting and become a (benign) dictator.