Transcripts of Something New videos, podcasts, speeches, etc

  • My name's James Smith, I'm a software engineer, parent, and resident of Horsham for ten years or so, and I'm the parliamentary candidate for Something New. That's our name, and it's what we stand for. We're a new kind of political party, bringing British democracy into the 21st century. Everything's changing, and our institutions are no different. We're here to be party of that change. We want to build a society that's excited by the future, that embraces change and progress, not one that's afraid of it. By embracing that future and working with it, we can all shape the future we want to see, protect what needs protecting, solve the problems that need solving, and rebuild a sense of community that's been driven out of us over the last few decades.

    We really in this together, and to express that we've created a political manifesto that's unique. Everyone and anyone, regardless of whether you're a party member or even a registered voter, can go to the website, click on Edit and add your own ideas. It's a whole new way of collaborating to build a vision of a better future. It's a vision of a society where every citizen can have their say, where everyone's fundamental rights are protected, and where we can make the tough decisions to make sure that our society doesn't destroy the environment it depends upon.

    We know that you care more than ever about the world, but that our system doesn't hear you. I want us to build a better system, together.

  • How would you raise the income levels of those people in the UK who are poorest? And what policies would you pursue, to reduce the gap between the rich and the poor, and the increasing need for foodbanks, and other support initiatives?

  • So to echo perhaps slightly, it is an absolute scandal, that in one of the richest countries in the world, there are people who are forced to rely on foodbanks - probably around half a million last year. The idea, though, that we help everyone by helping the richest, that wealth trickles down from the top, is utterly false. The share at the top just keeps getting bigger and bigger. [Applause] Thank you. We're at a point where you can earn more from being wealth then by working, and that's incredibly bad both economically and socially. It just means the rich get richer and leave everyone else behind. We need to deal with this level of inequality in society, that means getting rid of tax havens, tackling avoidance, and making sure that those can afford to, pay their share. We need to get money back into the real economy, into people's pockets, not sitting in banks doing nothing.

    Importantly, a major component of this, is that the government needs to spend. When times are hard, the government needs to help the vulnerable in society, not cut them off. Austerity is an ideological deconstruction of the British state, and it needs to stop before it destroys our society. Like many others, I want to see the minimum wage the same as the living wage, and to be tax-free, so that everyone who is employed has enough to get by. Personally, I'd also quite like to see a maximum wage set relative to that minimum. I'm also in favour of both a land value tax, and a basic citizen's income to eradicate poverty completely, both of which have a number of advantages beyond just reductions in inequality.

  • The pre-election discussion has centered on tax and benefits, with parties trying to find the most appealing formula to please the electorate. Money, we know, needs to be tightly controlled, but for some of us, there is a worrying trend away from resourcing care in the community, whatever form that care may take. Could you offer suggestions, or what is your party policy, that despite financial constraints, will support appropriate and adequate financial resourcing of care in the community particularly where that care is directed towards the most vulnerable members?

  • Social care is essential, and most be properly resourced. The social care budget has dropped by over £1 billion since 2010, and £1.4 billion since 2005. This is leaving the most vulnerable in our society our in the cold without the help they need to live their lives with dignity. This is another victim of austerity. The government has waged a war on benefit claimants since they came into power, which has not only resulted in less money going to those who need it, but an increase in attacks on disabled people, both physical and verbal. Our leaders are intentionally 'othering' the weak, turning us against each other. My daughter has special needs and the idea that she might live in a future that won't help her when I'm gone, fills me with fear.

    On the other hand, we have a tax gap of at least £35 billion a year, maybe up to £120 billion. By closing those tax loopholes, cracking on evasion and funding enforcement properly, we can quite easily reverse the destruction of social care. It's a sign of a civilised society that we look after those weaker and more vulnerable than us, and our government priorities need to reflect that.

  • What policies would you pursue to make tackling global climate change a priority, both to protect and improve living standards at home and abroad and to prevent climate change pushing more people deeper into poverty? How might the UK government exercise global leadership by investing in renewable energy, encouraging energy saving measures and seeking secure international agreement to reduce greenhouse gases by 2020?

  • This is a subject that's very close to my heart, I've worked in climate change and sustainability for a few years. I really don't want to be that kind of politician, but I would like to point out there's evidence, not proof that gravity is a thing and that the Earth goes round the Sun. We know this is happening, we know beyond all reasonable scientific doubt. Climate change is an existential threat to our way of life, more than any issue we have actually heard about in this campaign. It's one that threatens everything, and our time is short. We need to take drastic action and we need to do it immediately. We can't act too fast on this.

    There are a few things we need to do. We have to leave the fossil fuels in the ground. We have 3,000 gigatons of CO2 in proven reserved around the world. We can only burn a third of that and have a chance within 2 degrees. So there's no point looking for more - digging up more from underneath the weald. We need to get fossil fuels out of the energy supply with massive investment in renewable and nuclear energy, and get rid of fossil fuel subsidies completely. We need to make our buildings energy efficient, as other people have mentioned, with large-scale installation and upgrade program across the entire country, which has a nice side effect of providing quite a few jobs.

    We need to put a proper price on harmful emissions. I'd like to see a carbon currency, where everyone has a budget they can spend per year, and you trade in the appropriate credit whenever you buy energy. And one more thing, we need to de-carbonise road transport by banning the sale of new fossil fuel vehicles by 2030 at the latest, earlier if at all possible. We have all the technology we need to solve this problem. We just need the will. I'd like us to be the generation to fix the mess that we were left with.

  • There are increasing reports in the media of Christians being charged with so-called "hate crimes" when they are simply expressing their faith and declaring repeatedly that their motivation is love. What will the candidates do to ensure that Christians are able to continue to follow their freedom of conscience and expression both at home and abroad?

  • I had to ask for clarification on this question, I'm not sure if it was you that I spoke to or someone else. But I was referred to the case of Michael Overd for example. Michael is a street preacher in Taunton that was arrested for causing offence with his preaching and convicted last week. Now this is a really tricky one to test the limits of our freedoms. The thing seems to centre on the use of Leviticus Chapter 20 Verse 13, which I'm going to quote in full, from the King James Version so you know exactly what I'm talking about.

    "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them."

    Now I think he only used the first half of that, not the second, though it's very hard to find out, but the difference is important. There is no such thing as a right not be offended. If I want to go into the street and use the first half to say that you're detestable, you're an abomination, that's up to me. That's my freedom of speech. But if I'm on the street and used the second half, if I suggest to people that you should be killed because of your sexuality, then that has crossed the legal line into hate speech, which we do put limits on. This was a quotation from the Bible, so it's more difficult still, and that's where a Judge would have to decide on the intent.

    But, in my view, it's hard to see that suggesting that people are abominations and should be put to death for their sexuality comes from a position of love, as the question states. Also, I'm not sure it comes from simply expressing their faith, I think there are probably simpler ways. Defending freedom of speech in essential, it's one of our basic human rights. The test of those human rights is whether we apply them equally to people we don't like, as to those we do. From what I've read of him, I don't like Michael Overd, not one bit. But as long as he's not threatening to kill people, then his freedom to speak must be defended.

  • What would you do to ensure that everyone in the UK, regardless of their income or wealth, has access to legal support to defend themselves or when necessary to pursue claims for adequate compensation?

  • So legal aid is an essential part of a just legal system. If the downtrodden can't use the courts for redress against the powerful, then inequality becomes entrenches and we might as well be back in a feudal society. Legal aid has been cut under the coalition, particularly in cases that involve welfare and unemployment, where it's obvious that people claiming will be struggling for money and up against a better funded system. We've also seen the introduction of fees to raise an employment tribunal claim, which has resulted in an 80% reduction in those claims being filed. [Applause]

    Now what the figures don't say is how many of those are normally bogus. Rather than just shutting down those bogus claims, as we intended, have we instead given unscrupulous employers a license to mistreat their staff? As I've said before, we need to stand up for the weak and vulnerable in our society, and if that means we have to put up with a few people trying to gain the system, then, I'm okay with that.

  • The interesting scarf is the Kurdish flag, and what I'd like to say is thank you to the Coalition, because they kept us alive. In March I was in what is known as Kurdistan, on the Turkish-Syrian border, and yes, our Christians are dying. Through government supporting some organisations, and money being given to them, hundreds of thousands of Christians have died in the last five years. We need movement. Personally, what I need is government policy to try and open the border between Turkey and Syria because we have a hundred thousand move back into Kobani, and the border's closed. We've got no food there, we've got no water, we've got no electricity, and we've got no church, and there are a hundred Christians in there now.

  • And can you put that into a question?

  • What are the government proposing to do to restore Syria from the mess it's in, and fund it, and how can they do it? And get that border open.

  • Yeah, I agree, we have a long and terrible history of mucking around in areas we really have no right to be in. Those lines were drawn by us. We need to stop unilaterally on these things, we need to work in cooperation with international organisations, to do peacekeeping operations in those areas. But we can't act alone, we need to bring everybody else with us.

  • On the question of the protection of Christians, I think as good politicians, you all did your best to evade giving a direct answer. I would just like to say to all of you, most religions, Christianity included, have specific values. They claim to be unique. By being unique, we can offend other religions, for example for Christians, Jesus said "I am the way, the truth and life, no one comes to the Father but by me." That would offend others. And if we do not have the right to say this, we are denying our very beliefs.

  • It's beginning to sound like a statement, although a very important one, could you put it into perhaps...

  • The thought was: could you please say how can we say what we believe and ensure other religions say what they believe, in a country where you said free speech is fine, but we are prevented from having free speech?

  • The first part of your statement was "How do we defend Christians?" - I'd like to defend humans, in general, I don't really care what religion anybody is. [Applause] We're all human, we're all here together, so that's more my concern. But also, all humans have those basic rights. You do have freedom of speech. You can't, I mentioned this earlier so I won't go into it, but you do have that freedom of speech. We need to defend and fight for that around the world.