Renew 2020 plans

Plans

Renew Foundation

Renew’s non-party project. Encouraging civic participation, voter registration, encouraging youth, marginal and underrepresented groups to engage with their local politicians, campaigns, lobbying, writing to MPs, starting campaigns, petitions etc. Supporting and educating those who intend to stand as independents. 

Encouraging people from outside politics to participate.

Tech Outreach

Engaging actively and openly with the tech community, especially civic tech and election/campaign tech groups.

We are already working closely with the Something New party and sharing technology including our Digital Democracy platform and the open-source OpenPolitics manifesto. We have presented to the Citizen Beta group at Newspeak House and will continue to seek to work together on mutually beneficial projects.

The aim is to do politics differently. To harness tech as a way of giving a smaller party a bigger voice. To demonstrate our commitment to openness, collaboration, transparency and attracting people from outside politics.

Campaign Group Outreach

We are now reaching out to various campaign groups offering to be the vessel/vehicle/party wing of a movement to build a new opposition.

We aim to offer a slate of broad policies and goals that all groups might support and find consensus on broadly accepted policies.

We are organising an ongoing series of meetings to drive this forward.

Potential areas of discussion

  1. Electoral Reform - (esp. Proportional Representation)
  2. Constitutional Reform
  3. Compulsory voting / votes at 16 / boosting civic participation
  4. Citizens Assemblies
  5. Fixing Inequality (esp. employing Minimum Wage / UBI)
  6. Radical approach to climate change (esp. employing tech approach)
  7. Tax reform (esp. internationals)
  8. Land Reform (esp. housing)
  9. Reform of drug and sex laws
  10. Supporting evidence-based policy making
  11. Backing a 'coalition of independents' at all levels nationwide (?)
  12. Transforming relations with EU whilst protecting and boosting trade ties

Notes on Renew Foundation and Open Politics

Renew Foundation

Creating a project that encourages civic participation (from registering to vote, activism, all the way to standing as a candidate) amongst youth, diverse and disenfranchised groups (ethnic, underprivileged, left-behind, EU citizens in UK, Brits abroad etc).

This:

  1. Is valuable in its own terms
  2. Hews closely to our core values of bringing people into politics.
  3. Provides us with a public project beyond national political work 
  4. Provides us with a potential vehicle for attracting funding from those not comfortable with funding a political party.
  5. We have already been doing this with our staff, interns and candidates, but without getting credit for it.

Demonstrating our value as 'more than a party' amongst the stakeholder groups that puts flesh on the bone of our broader proposal.

Open Politics

In 2020 Renew needs to define itself in the context of a post-Brexit United Kingdom. Until now the party has championed pro-Europeanism, centrism and political reform.

Renew does not need to radically alter its identity or abandon the values that it has championed thus far. This identity has attracted a national membership, fantastic parliamentary candidates and an established political figure as party leader. Renew needs to reinvent itself without disposing of its past and its progress; it needs to evolve whilst maintaining continuity.

The 2019 election sas the culmination of 3 years of acrimony over Brexit, which became personalised around the characters of May, Farage, Johson and Corbyn. In this atmosphere it was almost impossible to break through with the message of an alternative. Even groups with massive advantages over us, such as Change UK, could not sustain their appeal and hold their party together.

Our space - Open Politics

In a post-Brexit context the party can remain pro-European, advocating for a relationship with the European Union that protects trade, jobs and youth opportunity. Scrutinising and campaigning against government proposals we disagree with in any policy area - including the future relationship - is an important function of being a party, but we need a strong post-Brexit message.

The space that is vacant in the UK political arena is for an open party. The way that the UK has defined its political landscape in the post-war era is left vs right, but that is changing. The traditional right are promising bigger states with: Johnson’s spending pledges on police officers, hospitals and Northern infrastructure; Farage’s pledges to spend £200bn on projects around the UK (outside of London) by scrapping HS2, not paying the EU divorce bill and reducing foreign aid. The right are not advocating fiscally conservative governments but they prescribing increasingly socially conservative policies, such as reducing immigration, erosion of workers rights, centralising power and rolling back judicial checks on the executive power. The Conservatives under Johnson seemed to be able to own this space in the election, with the help of the Brexit Party. However, the Labour Party wasn’t able to get away from 20th Century politics focusing on the old politics of socialism vs capitalism.

Openness has been a tenet of Renew since its inception, bringing new people into politics and changing the shape of the political class fits a message of “Open Politics”. Opening up politics, is about Renew being the party that brings people from outside politics in. We are not tribal, we have demonstrated a willingness to work with other parties (e.g. Change UK), cooperate in pacts (e.g. GE 2019 Unite to Remain) and support umbrella campaign organisations (e.g. People’s Vote).

How do we do this?

Opening up politics means making it more accessible to groups that are currently facing barriers - women, working classes, LGBTQ+ community, disabled people, minority groups, young people, foreign nationals. Some of these groups (foreign nationals, children) face legal barriers, whereas for others the barriers are less tangible. Abolishing legal barriers is quick work in theory, but creating a more open landscape in which the less tangible barriers disappear is a larger and more disparate project.

 We can use three tools to generate an open, inclusive, and truly participatory politics:

  • Digital Democracy - We can continue to use Digital Democracy as we do internally, but outwardly we offer it as a tool in the model of “Better Reykjavik”. In short, it would be a tool for all levels of government having a digital platform for constituents to propose ideas with other contributors able to debate and vote on their proposals. This could be extended as a digital public consultation for local authorities to solicit public opinion. 
  • Local council vacancy tool - We make public our tool that notifies us of vacancies in local government. We create a pack for potential candidates that explains the basics of campaigning for local elections (e.g. leaflets, delivery, canvassing, hustings, spending and election returns guide) and basics of what a Councillor is responsible for (parish, town, borough, district, county). These are publically available and we ask website visitors if they would like to stand for Renew, rather than ask visitors to apply before they receive this information.
  • OpenPolitics Manifesto - Already built and adopted. The process is simple, and as open as we can make it. People propose changes to the manifesto, which are then voted on. If their proposal is accepted, they get to vote on future changes. The more changes that a contributor has accepted the more weight their vote carries. We could adopt the open source manifesto that already exists or create our own. The right to contribute to the manifesto could be extended to a number of levels: party membership, “friends of Renew” or the public. This open-sourcing of a manifesto demonstrates Renew’s ability to be flexible and tech-savvy, setting us apart from the traditional policy development and manifestos of the other parties.
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