If I ruled the world: Matthew Wright

Simon Button

Matthew Wright, 53, is the journalist-turned-presenter who hosted The Wright Stuff for eight years. He now has a weekday show on talkRADIO

I would legalise all drugs.

If you look at Portugal and the experiment they have there, where essentially you don’t get prosecuted for drugs in a criminal sense but you’re referred to doctors and detox clinics and it’s treated as a health issue, they’ve seen levels of addiction and drug crime drop dramatically. When we have 100,000 tobacco-related deaths a year and a conservative estimate of 10,000 from alcohol it might seem counterintuitive to say, “let’s legalise more drugs” but the only way I think we can avoid things like the death of Louella Michie is to legalise and test.


I’d limit the use of smartphones.

Instead I’d have more free internet stations so when you’re walking around a busy town and you don’t know where you’re going you can look up Google Maps at the station, then go back to talking to people.


Nuclear weapons would be banned.

I went to my first “ban nuclear weapons” march in 1980 and I’ve been passionately opposed to nuclear weapons my entire adult life. The argument is that you have to have a deterrent, but there are 220 countries on the planet and fewer than 20 of them have a deterrent, yet the other 200-plus manage to get by OK.


I’d ban private schools.

Yes, I’m in a banning mood! I’m a great believer that if you have a state school system everybody needs to go through that same system and if people have £30-£40,000 to spend on private school education then we’re not taxing them enough. We could take that tax and put it into a comprehensive education system that would benefit everybody. I just don’t believe it’s fair that people can pay for their children to have an advantage through life.


Everybody would ride on two wheels.

They’d have to do that for one year before they could apply for a provisional licence to drive a car. My dad was a keen motorcyclist and his theory was if everybody rode a bike, a moped or a motorbike for a year they’d become much more aware of the dangers that those on two wheels have to experience, like having a car up right your backside in wet weather or when going round corners.


We’d have lessons in grief.

I remember a boy at my primary school was killed cycling to class and the way they dealt with it was to sort of pretend it didn’t happen and we didn’t really talk about it. I’ve since unfortunately had many friends and beloved family members die, often too young, and it’s been a struggle for me mentally and emotionally. I know people who dealt with death when they were young and they’ve experienced a similar thing. School prepares you for life but it doesn’t really prepare you for death.


Babies wouldn’t get gifts.

My wife Amelia and I have been trying a “no gifts for babies” tack because we don’t want our daughter Cassady to end up in a room full of hundreds of plastic junk toys. Kids in this country get far too much and the expectation that comes with it creates pressure, so I’m quite hoping that “no” is the first word that Cassady learns.


Manners would be compulsory.

They’re the lubrication that makes the gears of the world turn smoothly. It’s a great shame that “please” and “thank you” are out of fashion and holding doors open has gotten very politicised. A friend of mine held a door open for a woman and she turned round and accused him of sexism. She said, “I don’t need a door held open for me” and he replied, “I’d have held it open for you whether you were a woman or a man, thank you very much.” 


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