Eric Mutch is running a fancy campaign for the next Mayor elections of Bristol (England), in an attempt of raising attention on the basic income.
“My name is Corrupt. Corrupt self serving lying thieving Bastard, and I’m a candidate in the Bristol Mayor elections.” This is how Eric Mutch introduces himself. And his leitmotiv his pretty simple as well: “If I am elected, I promise I will give every citizen of Bristol a basic income of 15,000 pounds, in a local currency. Vote for me and you’ll get the money!” he says in a video on his website, exhibiting bundles of notes to the camera.
For sure, when you come across Eric Mutch’s speech on the internet, you may think this is a farce. However, this 46 years old married father, café worker and dancing teacher, is only half-joking.
As one of the 10 biggest cities of UK, people of Bristol were given the opportunity to decide by referendum whether they should elect directly their mayor or keep it being chosen by other elected councilors. As a result of the polls, elections are set to be held on November 15th.
There are two reasons why Eric is running it: “Initially, I just wanted to make a statement about politicians”, Eric says. “I wanted to give people a means of protesting against the politicians, by giving my name as a choice for saying ‘no’ to the other candidates, if for instance, they think they are all corrupt self serving lying thieving bastards!”
But eventually he found a second motivation: “I though that this election would be a great opportunity to promote one single policy that I have been advocating for long: a basic income guarantee, funded in a local currency.”
How would it work? “I’m not a specialist”, Eric admits. But he has some ideas though. “I want to distribute it through a local currency so that the money simply doesn’t go away. It should remain in the local economy”, he explains.
Good news for him, a local currency already exists in Bristol. Since the beginning of the year, a local credit union has launched the “Bristol pound”. The project is even backed by the British financial authorities, which guarantee parity with the official pound. “That would make things easier to build it upon that project”, Eric Mutch reckons.
The other part of the funding would be done through the implementation of a local sales tax. “Because every single transaction would be taxed, you only need a small rate of taxation. As far as I read, something like 2 or 3 percent would do it. Possibly even less.” he argues.
More than rational arguments and scientific proves, his campaign aims at raising attention on the idea of the basic income.
“The whole point of my campaign is about the name”, Eric explains. “I will officially change my name so that people will notice it in the polling booth. Hopefully, some of them will vote for me by despair or anger against the politics – and get to know about the basic income on the way.”
“Of course, people might just think it’s a joke and won’t pay attention. That’s a double-edged sword. But without the name change, I would be no one.” he thinks.
“Whether they think it’s a bad idea or not, I would be happy anyway if the basic income becomes more known as an important issue”, Eric claims. Yet his campaign gave him several opportunities to discuss basic income with other parties.
What if he wins? “Yes! I would love to win!” he exclaims. “I have no illusions, though. The mayor has no official power to implement something like a basic income. Except maybe if he is elected on the exact purpose of doing it?”
To read more about Eric “Corrupt” Mutch’s campaign to go: