It would be wrong to say I’ve been quiet these last days. It would be fair to say I’ve been less noisy. Alongside the Dublin case, I’ve been working on this: Spring The Party.
I’m very lucky. I have some great friends in the music and creative industries. Serious people. “It’s a wonderful idea,” they said, “but completely impossible to execute in the available time.”
I have at last, with great reluctance, accepted they were right. And I will not be standing. It was impossible to stage the festival in the available timescale and without it there was no reason to stand. I publish the short paper only in the hope there might be something to take forward after the General Election.
But here it is. If you’re one of those people who look at your country through the windscreen rather than the rear view mirror I hope it might spark some thinking about where we go now. Might there be something to take forward after the General Election?
Please do add your comments. Is there anything we might take forward?
[The above section edited for additional clarity. The Spring the Party paper remains unchanged].
Spring The Party
A new start. A brighter future.
Spring The Party is… A party to celebrate who we are. The most unconventional election campaign in political history. And the launch of a new political Party.
A party to celebrate who we are
The mood for progressives is sour. The election will feel unending. The result, inevitable. The outcome, depressing. And the alternatives, uninspiring.
But there is a profound yearning for an alternative, for optimism, and hope.
So we throw a party. A joyous, optimistic thing. Not political. Celebrating unity. 28 days long, each day ‘hosted’ (food, drink costume) by one of the member states. We have bands, and comedians, and writers, and thinkers, and artists, and designers.
And to deliver focus, and urgency, and to frame the contrast with the nation at large, and to make the party a national event, we stand a candidate (Jo Maugham QC) in Maidenhead against Theresa May. Jo has a good national media profile as a campaigner against tax avoidance and on Brexit.
And the national media will be monotone – and desperate for colour. And this, we will provide.
The most unconventional election campaign in our political history
Theresa May has an enormous majority. And is a relatively popular local MP. Nationally she is divisive. And Maidenhead voted overwhelmingly to Remain.
Labour is non-existent in the seat. And it is not being targeted by the LibDems. For an independent, without a local infrastructure, the seat is in practice unwinnable.
There are local pro-Remain groups. The seat has great symbolic value. And – most importantly – if we can inspire people with our celebration they will come again. They will come early, tomorrow. And knock on residents’ doors, and smile, and talk.
The launch of a new political party
The celebration will lay the foundations for a new political party. The strength of those foundations are our metric of success. We will collect members. We will build a brand. And we will raise funding.
Spring. A new start. A brighter future.
Spring is a party of the radical centre. Solutions for the world today and tomorrow. Not yesterday.
Honest: We will restore trust in our politics. We will not wheedle and lie to the electorate. We will tell people how it is and how we will fix it.
Fair: All must have the chance to prosper – working and middle class, men and women, black and white, gay, straight, able and disabled.
Progressive: For too long our politicians have kicked the can down the road. On the environment, on the NHS, on housing, on social care, on industry, on jobs. We will confront these problems, not ignore them. And we will solve the problems not their political cost.
And we already have policies to deliver these values.
And there is opportunity.
Like Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty, Labour’s left and moderates are bent on one another’s destruction. No one knows what the Lib Dems are for – other than the Lib Dems. And we vote for the Tories reluctantly, lacking an alternative.
It hardly needs saying that it is difficult for a new political party to succeed. But there are many ways to gain and wield political power. And the political landscape after the general election will prove the demand.
How does the story unfold?
Step One: Jolyon announces to The Maidenhead Advertiser that he’s standing. It filters out to the National Press. The website goes up, with a short biog, a teaser, a ‘register’ button and a ‘donate’ button.
Step Two: We announce the festival and some acts.
Step Three: We begin to release policies.
There is a lot to do. But. If you build it, they will come.