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If I Ruled the World: Emma Bridgewater

If I Ruled the World: Emma Bridgewater

Pottery designer and businesswoman Emma Bridgewater set up her iconic brand over 30 years ago, after failing to find a special cup and saucer to give her mother.

I’d get rid of takeaway cups

Instead of rushing out of cafes, people would take the time to sit down, reflect and enjoy their tea or coffee with a proper cup or mug. Disposable cups are a source of litter and make whatever drink you have in them taste disgusting too.


It would be illegal to build social-housing projects without proper infrastructure

New developments should have good transport systems factored in, along with schools, a village green and cafe to make the best possible place for people to live. I’d be glad to subsidise architects to ensure that houses are beautifully designed—everyone deserves somewhere they’re proud to call home.


I’d sit all the bishops down and tell them to stop fussing about sex

There’s a lot of real and important work the Church ought to be doing instead—such as putting kindness at the top of their agenda. My grandfather was a clergyman so the Church has always been a part of my life, but I feel that its members should become more engaged in our society and prioritise helping those in need.


Every mile of railway track shut down in the 1960s by Dr Beeching would be re-opened

I’d make it easier for people in this country to travel around on an enlivened rail network, getting to know our marvellously varied landscape and historic architecture. I’d love to have dining cars back in trains again—with proper cups and saucers, of course. I’m longing to explore Wales; I’d make the journey by train and eat and drink in style on the way.


Glass bottles would be part of a deposit-return scheme

The success of the plastic-bag levy has proved that we’re quite happy to have a legislative nudge that says, “You want to behave better for the environment”. Countries with deposit-return systems have benefitted from a positive impact on reduction of litter and an increase in recycling. When my brother and I were kids, we’d rush around finding old soda bottles that we’d exchange for money—which we're invested in retail by spending on sweets!


We’d talk more about the benefits of privately owned companies

At the moment the tax system rewards you for selling your business rather than  encouraging you to keep it in the family. This is a shame because shareholders are encouraged to make decisions based purely on profit margins, rather than making socially responsible decisions a priority. For instance, our company has forsaken making extra profit by keeping our workforce in Stoke-on-Trent, rather than going somewhere like Indonesia. But we’re so proud to be one of the largest employers of potters in the area.


Pubs would have live music once a week

Not for acts that are looking to get famous, but simply to entertain people and give them a great night out in their local pub.


I’d run a campaign to show people how politically powerful they can be by taking a second to consider where things are made

When we buy cheap clothes, we all know they may have been made in unpleasant circumstances by people with minimal rights and pay—and we should never be exploiting that. In this country, there are laws that prevent that from happening. And isn’t that what we should all be aiming for—understanding the real cost of things?

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