The Idler Manifesto

1 Jun|Tom Hodgkinson

We asked Idler readers to send in their ideas for a manifesto of pro-idling policies. Here is a selection of our favourites.

Pro-Merriment Legislation
• in each school class there will be one lesson a week devoted to music and one to telling jokes
• there will be a public holiday named The Day of the Dance, on January 8th (Elvis´date of birth)
• anyone considered to be living unhealthily gets an increased pension – they´re going to leave earlier than the rest of us anyway, thus saving the state money
• the sport (or art) of slow walking is to be established and practised in Hyde Park – sponsorship and support from any manufacturers of alcohol highly welcome,
Clive Kewell

Keep it Local
Local communities should be given more power and active encouragement to choose shops and the aesthetics of local development. Such encouragement is so much easier now through the auspices of networks like Nextdoor ( ), which is revitalising neighbourliness in our part of London at least. Relatedly, local spending could be more actively directed towards the festive, sharing the example of this country’s many wonderful local seasonal festivals (using local bands and calling upon local traditions) which permeate down to village and even street level, but which used to be even more widespread.
Will Orr-Ewing

Free Stuff, Free Time
How about only free range chickens? Years ago I joined ‘Chickens Lib’ highlighted the horrible conditions battery chickens endured before the relief of a painful death.
They give their lives for us to eat them… the least we can do is slaughter swiftly and as painlessly as possible.
Old folk to get free TV licence, free mobile phone within UK, free Netflix, free lunch at local Churches…
All schools finish early in winter so kids walk home in safety in day.ight and enjoy a few hours Encourage cycling weekends…tuition for bike repairs,health counters for fat kids who need to
Have Idler on radio… good chat, good music, good laughs by real people for real people with a zest for life and appetite for pleasure! I will do the first interview (was my job).
Dawn Williamson

Replace Schools with Idle Clubs
Schools are geared to knocking any idle thoughts out of children and destroy a passion for lifelong learning. Whilst I would like to propose the replacement of schools with something more fit for purpose, this might be a little radical at this stage. Instead, I would propose Idle Clubs to be set up throughout the country and run on lines similar to Code Club (teaching children to code) Maker Club (teaching children to invent). Idle Club would allow children to explore the joys of idleness under the direction of the Idler Academy. (Maybe replace the ukulele with the accordion – a far superior instrument imho).
Richard Vahrman

Against Corbyn’s Four New Days Off
I would like to say that four extra bank holidays would prevent our enjoyment of choosing when to take idling time off work.  After all, having the choice of activities and relaxation depending on your mood or inclination is an important part of having a good lifestyle.
Most companies do not provide their employees with paid bank holidays.  The extra days planned by labour would take away our flexible holiday allowance and force us to have a day off on 1st March (St David), 17th March (St Patrick), April 23rd (St George).  We already have Easter, Mayday and Whitsun bunched into this time of year.
Statutory paid holiday allowance is 28 days per year, including bank holidays.  Currently there are 8 bank holidays in England.  Why increase it to 11 or 12?  It could reduce my flexible holiday from 20 to 16 days (only 3 weeks and 1 day) taking away a fifth of the time I can choose to join friends and family or take part in scheduled events and activities.  There will be no extra pay.
This is a bad idea.
Christine Whitaker

More Laziness in the Workplace
Work: what about creating, in every workplace, a Lazy Team? They are charged with finding new and easier ways to do a job.
Education: Schooling: flexible school hours.
Transport: buses to be made comfier.
Shopping: reduce or scrap charges for online delivery.
Cultural: A nationwide culture that celebrates laziness and rejects hard work.
Jon Cording

Work Your Proper Hours
These days there are criminal sanctions against racist abuse. Can the Manifesto express a similar aim to protect people who arrive and leave work at normal times (assuming it’s that sort of job); take holidays they are due and, while on holiday, ignore work emails/texts/calls? These people, particularly in certain organisations (investment banking, advertising, almost any American multinational) are often subject to abuse and intimidation, and it should be outlawed.
Nick Wiseman

Ban Overtime
Regarding your thoughts on four new Public Holidays, the four-day working week et al, I am a great fan of the idea that overtime at more than the hourly wage is outlawed. It encourages working at weekends and after a normal working day, and the extra cost to retailers exaggerates prices to cover these extra staffing costs. And the argument that it gives shoppers the opportunity of shopping whenever they wish is inappropriate. Have they not heard of the Internet? And while we are about it, let’s get shops to revert to early closing on Wednesday afternoons.
Tony Parrack, London, by email

Longer Weekends in Summer
How about “Summer Hours”? It’s the US idea whereby “the workers” have every Friday afternoon off – from end of May to the end August – to play ukulele, golf, tennis or simply escape to Assisi or somewhere similarly lovely.
Wendy Wright, from her rocking chair

Guaranteed Income, Free Netflix and Free Beer
Everyone over the age of 16 is to be provided with a guaranteed income, sufficient for them not to be concerned about the basic necessities of life. Additional bonus income will be paid to those who can play the banjo, read and write Latin and regularly attend public libraries. Individuals who work will, of course, be able to add to their income, but those who don’t will not be punished, stigmatized or castigated.
Seniors – those over fifty five – will be regarded as wisdom keepers. As such, they will travel free anywhere in Britain on public transport, have free television (including cable television and Netflix) and will be eligible for special benefits in cinemas, fitness centres and cricket matches.
British citizens over eighteen will be guaranteed a supply of wine or beer each month, the aim being to improve the tasting palate of the population over time. Beginning with wines from the new world and beers from Canadian craft breweries, an average British citizen will qualify as a sommelier by the age of thirty.
These policies are intended to promote compassion, sensibility and a sense of calmness across the land.
Stephen Murgatroyd, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

A New Day Called Nonday
A two-day weekend is not enough!
Anyone who works full time will be nodding their heads in agreement. On Saturday, you are exhausted after a week of work and Sunday, you have to get ready to go back to work. Puff! Weekend gone in a haze of work recovery and work preparation.
The solution – we need another day on the weekend and I have the perfect one.
Meet Nonday.
Nonday is the day after Saturday and the day before Sunday.
What makes Nonday different is that it has no date. And if a day doesn’t have a date then you can’t make appointments for it or book anything in. It is a spare day, like a tuck in the week that you can let out if you just need a bit more time to relax. Perfect for Idlers.
But wait. There is a little bit of tweaking we have to do as we really need to keep 365 days in the year otherwise our seasons will get out of sync with our dates.
At this point we are going to assume that Leap Years stay and we’ll stick to the Gregorian calendar Leap Years which decree that there is a leap year every year whose number is perfectly divisible by four, except for years which are both divisible by 100 and not divisible by 400. I hasten to say that someone else figured that part out.
Back to Nonday business.
We will keep the 12 months. But we are going to take one day from the months that currently have 31 days, give an extra day to the months that currently only have 30 and give three extra days to February because it deserves it.
So, January, March, May, July, August, October and December now have 30 days.
February, April, June, September, November have 31 days.
Believe it or not, after all that shuffling of days, we still have 365. So far so good. Apologies to those whose birthdays this affects – just pick a new date, ok?
Now, the extra day in Leap Years will be added onto the end of October. In non-Leap Years, Halloween (aka All Hallow’s Eve) will fall on 30 October because All Hallows’ Day (aka All Saints’ Day) will still be 1 November. Simple. But in Leap Years Halloween will become good old 31 October, extra special for old time’s sake. This Old Halloween will probably become, like the Olympics, an extraordinary event every four years.
And that’s it! Simple! I give you Nonday –  the silver lining to your weekend.
Bryony Pearson

Got an idea for the Idler Manifesto? Write to us at [email protected] with subject line “manifesto”