A sketched picture of James' head

James Smith

Building a better future out of code

Standing for Parliament in 2015

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I’ve got an exciting announcement to make; in May 2015, I’m planning to stand in the general election to be MP for Horsham. I’ll be running on the principles in the OpenPolitics Manifesto, an open source collaborative manifesto that anyone can contribute to; I’m reasonably sure that’s a world first.

Why do this?

I’m an optimist. I look to the future and hope that we can build a brighter, happier, more collaborative, more equal society for everyone, enabled by the best aspects of our technology. I see a future where we can do democracy itself better, where we all have a say in the way we do things together. I realise that’s utopian, but I figure that it’s better to have a idea of where you want to get to than just stumbling from crisis to crisis without an end goal in mind.

On the other hand, I’ve come to the conclusion over the last few years that nobody is representing me or others who are optimistically working towards a better future. I’m fed up of the politics of fear, the othering of the vulnerable, and the misguided doctrine of austerity. I’m also frustrated by our lack of sufficient climate action, and our dismal record when adopting supposedly “new” technologies like the web. The bleak future offered by the current political choices just isn’t a place I want to be.

So, I think we can do better, and the right way to deal with that in our current system is provide the option yourself and stand for office.

Starting something

I’m the first to admit that it will be a hard fight; I’m standing in a very safe Conservative seat, against Francis Maude, a cabinet minister. However, Horsham is where I live, and so while there are probably easier targets, this one falls to me, and I’m ready to take it on.

Also, this isn’t simply about winning one seat next May; it’s about trying to inspire others to stand across the country on the same platform, and about getting started on the long haul of building a political movement across many years and multiple elections. There is a growing movement towards a more networked citizen-powered form of democracy across the world, and standing on an open-source manifesto is an exciting way to be part of that.

Let’s do it

In summary; I’m not a politician, but I do think things need to change if we’re going to build a decent future. If you agree, and like me you can’t trust anyone else to fix things for you, stand where you are, and maybe we’ll put a party name on this thing.

Let’s bring an Open Revolution to British politics.

If you’re in the Horsham area, visit openhorsham.org.uk to keep in touch with the campaign when it starts.

To get involved in writing the manifesto, visit openpolitics.org.uk and @OpenPoliticsUK on Twitter.

And finally, you can follow me on Twitter at @Floppy. If you want to stand where you are, let me know!


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