Something New is unique. We make all our policy in public, completely openly, and anyone can propose a new idea. You can think of it as being like Wikipedia, but for a vision of a better future. All the existing contributors get to vote on new ideas, and if your idea gets in, then you get to vote as well.
Although we have a manifesto, we guarantee not to make our candidates or elected representatives support policies that they don’t agree with. We build our policies together, but not everyone will agree with everything, so we expect our candidates to vote with their conscience, or even better, with their constituents.
We will challenge any one of our candidates or elected representatives if they support policies that conflict with our values, but not if they have a different view on how those values are best realised.
That said, here are a few highlights of the full manifesto:
We will reform our voting system, which doesn’t represent citizens’ wishes well enough. We would replace First Past The Post with a Single Transferable Vote system (where you number the candidates in order of preference), with at least 3 members for each constituency. That removes tactical voting, safe seats, and allows more proportional representation in Parliament. We would also introduce a “none of the above” option on all ballot papers, and reduce the voting age to 16.
The system of democracy isn’t finished. There are many things we need to improve. In the short term, we would replace the House of Lords with a House of Citizens, where randomly-selected citizens inspect legislation, a bit like jury service. We would also give voters the right to recall their representatives.
Eventually, we would like the UK to be a true direct democracy, where anyone can vote on everything and we no longer need representatives. As voting on everything is impractical, we like the idea of delegative democracy, where anyone can vote on anything, or they can delegate their votes on different subjects to different people. So, if you know a teacher, you might give them your vote on education; if you know a doctor, you might give them your vote on health; and so on.
We don’t believe that the party system is fundamentally necessary. We are a registered party, because it’s necessary at the moment, but we want to create a future where our party doesn’t need to exist any more.
We believe in maximum devolution to the various nations of the UK, and to regions within England. Westminster would only be responsible for foreign affairs, defence, the constitution, high-level economic matters, and national infrastructure.
British citizens’ fundamental rights, and the basic rules for operation of the British government should be enshrined in a written constitution that everyone can read and understand.
Ideologically driven austerity has punished many of the weakest and most vulnerable for conditions that they didn’t cause. We need to get money into the real economy, and reduce inequality.
We want to make the minimum wage equal to the living wage, and link the two together so that a full-time job will always pay enough to live on. We would also make the minimum wage tax-free. We would work with the EU to remove regressive taxation such as VAT that falls most heavily on the poor.
We will investigate if a universal basic income is possible, so that instead of a complex benefits system, everyone in the country receives a certain level of income, which they can then earn more on top of.
To finance these, we would shut down tax havens, and simplify the tax system to make it harder for people and companies with good accountants to avoid tax. We would also introduce a financial transaction (Robin Hood) tax, which can calm financial speculation and raises a large amount of money.
Global climate change poses an existential threat to our civilisation, but our current political class is not taking quick enough action. We will decarbonise the energy supply by 2030 by investing in renewables and nuclear power, including new types such as Thorium power.
As we already have more fossil fuels than we can burn, we will ban fossil fuel extraction for combustion purposes, and end subsidies for fossil fuel companies. We would embark on a national program of home insulation and efficiency upgrades to reduce energy demand, and introduce a carbon currency to equitably allocate and reduce carbon emissions over time. We would also ban new fossil fuel vehicles after 2029.
We believe that the NHS should remain free to everyone in the UK, and that it should be removed from the hands of politicians who insist on top-down reform every time the ruling party changes. Instead, the NHS should be an independent publicly-owned body, with its own constitution and democratic governance, with a primary focus on the health of the nation.
We believe that the public should own public infrastructure such as the rail network, energy and water supplies, and basic communications infrastructure. We would create new National Infrastructure Organisations that would operate these publicly-owned utilities in the interests of the population as a whole, not private shareholders.