Something New (political party)

Something New is a political party in the United Kingdom,[2] founded in October 2014. The party is primarily based on the concept of an open-source manifesto, which means that it could be described as a party of the radical centre, as it combines ideas from the left and right of politics. It could also be described as syncretic.[3] As such, Something New has no fixed ideology and instead believes in evidence-based policy creation.[4]

Something New
LeaderDr James Smith[1]
Nominating OfficerPaul Robinson
FoundedOctober 2014 (2014-10)
HeadquartersVesta House, 4 Liberty Bridge Road, London[1]
IdeologyRadical centrism
Political positionSyncretic
ColoursBlack and white[1]
SloganBringing British democracy into the 21st century

The party stood two candidates at the 2017 general election in Horsham and Ross, Skye and Lochaber, winning 0.6% and 0.5% of the vote respectively.


Something New was founded in 2013,[5] and was revived in October 2014. The party was registered with the Electoral Commission on 12 March 2015, naming Dr Raymond James Smith as its Leader, Alexander Hilton as its Treasurer and Paul Robinson as its Nominating Officer.[1] Hilton had been the Treasurer and Nominating Officer for the first incarnation of Something New in 2013.[5]

At the 2015 general election, James Smith, who works as a software developer at the Open Data Institute,[6] stood for election in Horsham,[7] which was the constituency of Francis Maude, although he stepped down ahead of the election.[8] Smith, in his election campaign, held a series of meetings with constituents in order to "give people a choice and increase the level of debate."[9] Smith raised the money for his campaign through the use of the crowdfunding website, Crowdfunder, and in 27 hours had already raised the £500 for his election deposit.[10][11] Following the ITV Leaders' Debate on 2 April 2015, Smith filmed his own responses to the questions that were put to the leaders and posted it on YouTube.[12][13][14]

Something New also stood a candidate in South West Surrey, Paul Robinson, a former Royal Navy officer and now a Director of Seedpod, his own business. From May 2011 to May 2015, he was a councillor on Godalming Town Council, serving from 2011 to 1 October 2014 as a Conservative, and from 1 October 2014 to 7 May 2015 as a member of Something New.[15][16] At the 2015 local elections, he stood for re-election to Godalming Town Council and also for election to Waverley Borough Council.[6] Robinson's wife, Rebecca Robinson, a fellow Director of Seedpod, also stood for Something New on Godalming Town Council.[17]

In the run-up to the 2015 general election, Something New formed party alliances with the Whig Party, My MP 2015 and Rebooting Democracy,[18] and it cross-endorsed candidates from both the Whig Party and Rebooting Democracy.[17] Both Smith and Robinson signed the My MP 2015 pledge to respect the will of their constituents.[19][20] Smith signed the West Sussex County Times "Free Speech Charter."[21] Something New also recommended several Independent candidates and all the candidates being stood by the Pirate Party UK.[17]

In the course of the election campaign, both Smith and Robinson attended several pre-election hustings. On 21 March 2015, Smith attended one husting organised by the Sussex branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England.[22] Robinson attended one husting in South West Surrey that included the incumbent Member of Parliament and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and the chief challenger, National Health Action Party candidate Louise Irvine.[23]

James Smith stated that he wished to beat the Green Party candidate in Horsham, as the Green Party received only 570 votes at the 2010 general election with very little campaigning.[24] However, Smith only received 375 votes whereas the Green Party candidate received 2,151. Paul Robinson came 7th in South West Surrey, winning 320 votes or 0.6% of the vote.[25] He also came 4th in the Waverley Borough Council election in the Godalming Central and Ockford Ward, winning 485 votes.[26]

Following the 2015 general election, Something New stood a candidate, Jessie Macneil-Brown, in a by-election in the Stepney Green Ward on Tower Hamlets London Borough Council, that was held on 11 June 2015. Macneil-Brown won just over 1% of the vote and came last out of all the candidates.[27] Something New also intends to contest the 2016 London Assembly election.[28] On 14 May 2015, Lindsey Garrett, Chair of the New Era Tenants Association, was announced as Something New's candidate for Mayor of London in the 2016 London mayoral election.[29] Garrett was instrumental in removing Westbrook Partners from the estate and worked with Russell Brand and other New Era residents throughout the campaign. However, on 30 November 2015, it was announced via the Something New website that Garrett had withdrawn her potential candidacy.[30]

OpenPolitics Project

The OpenPolitics Project was launched in August 2013.[31] It is an open-source manifesto, in that anyone is free to contribute a policy that is then discussed and subject to consensus or scrapped.[32] It combines elements of open-source governance and also direct democracy and consensus democracy. The project is organised on GitHub and the contribution process is operated in a way similar to Wikipedia's.[33][34]

The manifesto is supported by a base of active contributors, numbering roughly 25.[31] Any candidates are open to stand on the OpenPolitics Manifesto, however only Something New and their two candidates for the 2015 general election have pledged to stand on the policies.[35]

James Smith has said, on behalf of Something New, that the three policies that he would prioritise would be to "change the voting system to three-member single transferable vote, tackle off-shoring of profits, and target of no new fossil-fuel vehicles by 2030."[34] Smith has also described the Manifesto as "never 'finished,' never 'published.' It's a living document, always being updated and improved."[36]

On behalf of Something New and the OpenPolitics Project, Smith wrote an essay that was included in the Design Commission's report on "Designing Democracy." The essay appeared on pages 67 and 68 of the report in Section 4: The Stuff of Democracy. The inquiry was headed by Dr Richard Simmons and John Howell and the report was launched on 23 March 2015.[36] Smith concluded his essay with the line, "The Open Revolution is here to change everything."[37]

Party leaders

# Leader Tenure Notes
1 James Smith2014–presentStood in Horsham in 2015.

Electoral performance

Parliamentary elections

House of Commons of the United Kingdom
Election year # of total votes  % of overall vote # of seats won
2015 695 0.002% 0
2017 552 0.002% 0
General Election 2015

Something New stood two candidates in the 2015 general election, but also endorsed candidates from other parties and recommended several candidates in constituencies where it did not nominate a candidate. It recommended that people voted for all the Pirate Party UK candidates and several independent candidates in several constituencies where it was not standing. Something New also endorsed "Allied Candidates" from the Whig Party and Rebooting Democracy.[17]

Candidate Constituency Votes  %
James Smith Horsham 375 0.7
Paul Robinson South West Surrey 320 0.6
Total 695
General Election 2017
Candidate Constituency Votes  %
James Smith Horsham 375 0.6
Stick Sturrock Ross, Skye and Lochaber 177 0.5
Total 552

Local elections

Local elections 2015

Something New stood one candidate in the 2015 local elections: Paul Robinson in Godalming Central and Ockford Ward on Waverley Borough Council.[17]

Candidate Ward Council Votes  %
Paul Robinson Godalming Central and Ockford Waverley Borough Council 485 12.54
Stepney Green by-election (2015)

In a by-election in Stepney Green Ward on Tower Hamlets London Borough Council, that was held on 11 June 2015, Something New stood Jessie Macneil-Brown as a candidate.[27] The election was called because the incumbent, Alibor Choudhury, was found guilty of corrupt and illegal practices and forced to leave his post by an election court.

Candidate Ward Council Votes  %
Jessie Macneil-Brown Stepney Green Tower Hamlets London Borough Council 40 1.03
Local elections 2017
Candidate Ward Council Votes  %
Philip John Lichfield City North Staffordshire County Council 175 5
Philip John Stowe Lichfield City Council 101 7
James Smith Holbrook West Sussex County Council 199 6

See also


  1. "Something New". OpenElectoralCommission. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 16 March 2015. A mirror of data from the Electoral Commission PEF entity registration search[permanent dead link].
  2. View Registration Something New Electoral Commission Register of Political Parties
  3. Thornberry, Charlie; Smith, James (7 January 2015). "Episode C: What The Dickens". Open Revolution (Podcast). Open Revolution. PodOmatic. Event occurs at 12:20. Retrieved 10 April 2015. We're trying to go forwards from that to take the best parts from all the political thinking so far, from all of the ways we've tried to do things so far, and move forward. So, we might take the social conscience stuff which more traditionally belongs on the left, with the ideas of decentralisation and so on that come from the right perhaps.
  4. "Our Values". Something New. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
  5. "Something New". OpenElectoralCommission. Retrieved 15 April 2015. A mirror of data from the Electoral Commission PEF entity registration search[permanent dead link].
  6. Williams, Andrew (15 October 2014). "Something New for Politics?". Institute of Opinion. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  7. "Father of two launches bid to be Horsham's next MP". West Sussex County Times. 9 July 2014. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  8. Mason, Rowena (1 February 2015). "Francis Maude to step down as MP after three decades in parliament". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  9. "Election hopeful to hold series of ward meetings". West Sussex County Times. 15 January 2015. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  10. "Elect Something New for Horsham". Crowdfunder. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  11. Ratty, Jess; Smith, James (7 April 2015). "Crowdfunding Politics – a word from the front line…". Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  12. Powling, Joshua (7 April 2015). "Horsham election candidate takes part in Leaders' Debate". West Sussex County Times. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  13. Smith, James (3 April 2015). "Something New Joins the ITV Leaders' Debate" (Press release). Something New. Retrieved 9 April 2015.
  14. Powling, Joshua (7 April 2015). "Horsham election candidate takes part in Leaders' Debate". Portsmouth News. Retrieved 5 May 2015.
  15. Robinson, Paul (1 October 2014). "Offering Residents in Godalming Central and Ockford Something New" (Press release). Something New. Retrieved 9 April 2015.
  16. Bodkin, Henry; Taylor, Becca (21 April 2015). "Election 2015: Meet your South West Surrey constituency candidates". getSURREY. Retrieved 5 May 2015.
  17. "Candidates". Something New. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
  18. "Party Alliances". Something New. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
  19. "James Smith – Something New, Horsham". My MP 2015. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
  20. "Paul Robinson – Something New, South West Surrey". My MP 2015. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
  21. "General Election candidate for Horsham signs County Times Free Speech Charter". West Sussex County Times. 9 October 2014. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
  22. "21 March 2015: Countryside… or Concrete?". CPRE Sussex. Retrieved 5 May 2015.
  23. Taylor, Becca (1 May 2015). "Election 2015: South West Surrey constituency candidates make their final pitches". getSURREY. Retrieved 5 May 2015.
  24. Tamplin, Harley (8 May 2015). "Something New candidate: 'I want to beat Green Party in Horsham'". West Sussex County Times. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  25. "Results for the UK Parliamentary Election 2015 (South West Surrey)". Waverley Borough Council. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  26. "Borough election results 2015: Godalming Central and Ockford". Waverley Borough Council. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  27. "Election results for Stepney Green". Tower Hamlets. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
  28. Smith, James (11 May 2015). "May 2015 Election Results" (Press release). Something New. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  29. Hilton, Alexander (14 May 2015). "New Era's Lindsey Garrett to Seek London Mayoralty" (Press release). Something New. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  30. Williams, Andrew (30 November 2015). "Rebooting Something New". Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  31. Gilley, Matthew (27 March 2015). "Digital democracy". Positive News. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  32. Butler, Nik (27 February 2015). "Open ended promises". The District Post. Horsham. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  33. Bluer, Jordan (2 March 2015). "OpenPolitics: 'Wikipedia-like' manifesto lets YOU decide the agenda". Mancunian Matters. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
  34. Gilley, Matthew (20 February 2015). "Open Source Politics, with James Smith from the Something New party". Parties on the Fringe. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
  35. Williams, Andrew. "Time for Something New?". Whippersnapper. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  36. "Essay Collection: Designing Democracy". All-Party Parliamentary Design and Innovation Group. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  37. Smith, James (23 March 2015). "Designing a better democracy" (Press release). Something New. Retrieved 9 April 2015.