We held another UnParty meet up, this time hosted by Hub Westminster.
One of the outcomes of this evenings meeting was a better structure on what the UnParty is, and where it sits in relation to a number of other projects that are currently underway.
Firstly, we have the openpolitics.org.uk crowd sourced manifesto. This project is being led by James Smith (@floppy). Using GitHub as a place to collect, discuss and present an openly sourced set of manifesto policies.
Next we have Democracy Club. At the last election Democracy Club was started and built some tools to try and help people better engage with the whole election process. It started too close to the election, so now, the project is being re-invigorated by Sym Roe (@symroe) and is starting again now with more time ahead of the election. Democracy is about tools, things that can be built to help people to engage better with the existing system. Non-partisan.
Finally we have UnParty, UnParty is a way of framing discussion about politics, participation outside of the traditional party model.
Now for the sketch part, an idea on what the UnParty can be to help take things forward.
What the UnParty can also be, is a way for independants standing in elections to have the support of a cohort.
If you stand in an election at any level, you agree to take part in the discussion openly with everyone else. Sharing of ideas and openess to listen to others who take part. We dont expect you to sign up to the manifesto, policy for policy, though you should contribute to the discussion and if your stance on an issue or policy idea is different, then you should be willing and able to back it up with why you feel you need to take a different tack.
The UnParty cannot punish you for this, for the UnParty has no whips, no structure for discipline within an organisation since it is not that.
What it is, is an agreement and a conversation. Politics and policy will change, the issues change, the facts on the ground often change. New information comes to light, old tenants are disproved by new evidence.
There is nothing to stop anyone just using the OpenPolitics manifesto, nor in fact taking part in all but name of the UnParty, but it is there if you want it.
It feels somewhat odd to deliberately try to create something which isn’t anything beyond and ackowledgment but that is what I feel is the best way forward. The rigid party structures are not what is needed now. The ability to reach into a problem, past ideology and look at the evidence, discuss and shape, making sure its clear on ability (its not good promising to fix something that you can’t at the level of office you hold, that is just disengenuous).
So, we will announce the next UnParty meetup shortly and hopefully we will also be able to tell you about a meetup for people interested in building tools with the Democracy Club.