Don’t shout at the telly – build a movement

May 25, 2024

It takes time to build a narrative in politics. Despite getting 25,018 votes in Newcastle three weeks ago, and lots of people encouraging me, I will not be standing in this snap General Election. Instead, I will be building a movement to change things long-term.

The General Election coverage has already descended into trivia. Ooh, look, Rishi Sunak got wet. Keir Starmer keeps saying “change” a lot – what does that mean? Almost no journalists are asking how either of them will improve the lives of the working people of Britain.

Our two-party system and first-past-the-post makes the result a foregone conclusion. Successive Conservative Governments have heightened wealth inequality, corroded our public services, and fiddled while the planet burns. Very few Tories want to defend that record. Keir Starmer will be Prime Minster.

What comes next is also a foregone conclusion. Deemed a safe pair of hands by the establishment, Sir Keir and those around him will continue failed Conservative economic policies. When it comes out, Labour’s manifesto should be called “Tinkering around the edges”.

So how do we effect democratic change?

Labour’s plan to fix nothing will quickly lose popularity. Next May, Northumberland and Durham have all-out council elections. May 2026 will see all-out elections in Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland, and South Tyneside, and council elections in North Tyneside. Then May 2028 is the North East Mayoral election. Even under first past the post we can win these. And build for the next General Election.

So I will be building a network of North East independents.

People committed to democratic accountability, high standards in public life, and putting working people first. Including those not paid for their work, unable to work or retired from a lifetime of work.

This project will empower people with the strategies and skills to win elections. How to develop a popular, deliverable programme. Communicating with impact. Building support in your community. And organising to get elected. It’s for campaigners as well as candidates. People who want to be involved in different ways.

This is how we build a narrative in defiance of the banality of the mainstream media. If you want to know more, come along to Tyneside Irish Centre on Saturday 1st June, 2pm. You must book a ticket, it’s free:

Don’t shout at the telly – it changes nothing. Get yourself along, and make a difference.