The Time Has Come
It’s been a very strange few years in British politics. When we started the Something New journey, the world seemed at least somewhat rational, and the rules were fairly clear. Now, with truth becoming ever more of an abstract concept, a global pandemic, and the dark clouds of more crises gathering on the horizon, it’s a different place.
We started on this journey to try to bring some better engagement with politics. The OpenPolitics Manifesto was a way to explore new ways of working together, and Something New was a party created to put that experiment out in front of voters. But we’ve found the last few years incredibly hard to engage with. The approach of rationality and evidence has no foothold in politics now, so it’s incredibly difficult to get any traction. Our ideals around a vision of a better future seem a very long way from the current political world.
As party leaders and founders, we’ve tried over the years to get momentum around our ideas, to get more people engaged, and to build something that can scale up. But, quite honestly, we’ve failed. For many reasons, we’ve not managed to build a group of people who will push the party forward, and for many other reasons, we don’t have the energy to continue trying.
That’s not to say that we’re out of the fight though, just that Something New, the party, doesn’t seem the right way to continue it right now, and we should be honest about that, especially with our members and those who have supported us financially.
Instead of slogging on with the party approach of Something New, we’re going to focus on the things we’re good at; we’re going to shift our focus back to the original roots of the OpenPolitics project.
What does that mean? Well:
- Something New’s registration expires at the end of October. We’re going to let it run out, and Something New will cease to exist as a political party. We’ll keep the website going as an archive, so people can see what we did.
- We’ll cancel all the subscriptions that are currently set up on October 1st. All data on individuals held by Something New will be deleted, including mailing lists by the end of October.
- We’ll transfer the money that the party currently has to OpenPolitics CIC, a community interest company set up to look after the OpenPolitics project, and support its development. It’s asset locked, so don’t worry, we can’t just run off with the money! If the CIC closes, its money goes to the charity arm of mySociety. If you want a refund of your donations instead, please get in touch.
- We’ll use that money to continue to host the various websites and tools, but also to develop new features for Groupthink (the software tool behind the manifesto) through paid open source bounties. All the finances will continue to be open, of course.
- We’ll formalise the efforts around open party finance and open advertising disclosure into proper OpenPolitics specifications and standards.
- We’ll work with other parties such as WEP, Renew, Volt, and others across the world, to share our ideas and processes, and help them form a vision of an open future.
- We’ll explore and fund non-party applications for Groupthink, such as local plans, community engagement projects, and collaborative company governance.
- And we’ll tell the story properly of what we did, so that others can learn from it and carry on the work.
We dearly want to know what you, our members and supporters, think, so please let us know! We think this is the best way to focus our efforts for the future, to spend our energy in the right places.
Thank you for all your support over the years. This phase may be over, but don’t worry, there’s plenty more work to be done!