Tuesday 24 February 2015

Information about - The Above and Beyond Party

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Two University of Sheffield students are spearheading a new political movement which is trying to open up the debate about how we are governed.
Thom Brown and Drew Carswell, who are both second year politics students, are standing for The Above and Beyond Party in May's general election and will be campaigning under one solitary policy – that the none of the above option be installed on all UK ballot papers.
The duo, who did not know each other before getting involved with the campaign, both joined the party because of their growing frustration at the narrow choices afforded to voters and the absence of proper debate on core issues that matter to them.
Twenty-year-old Thom, who is standing in the student-heavy Sheffield Central seat currently held by Labour, is targeting constituents who have previously not shown an interest in voting, having been turned off the political process by decades of narrowing options and self interest.
Thom said: "This constituency has shown a real trend towards progressive politics, often voting against the government, in favour of minor parties. I think this reflects the dissatisfaction that all people, although particularly the young, feel about the failures of politicians.
"Whilst there is often low turnout here, I want to encourage Sheffield residents to return to the polling stations and engage with the democracy that I know they care about. A none of the above option gives a chance for all the protest voters and abstainers to be heard by those in power."
Drew, who is still only 19, is taking the Above and Beyond Party message to the Cheadle constituency in the North West where he believes the once large Liberal Democrat protest vote is indicative of the large disillusionment with the two main parties. Cheadle MP Mark Hunter is expected to lose his seat to the Conservatives.
"My hope for this campaign is to give the people of Cheadle a truly different option at this general election. This constituency has long had very few candidates standing and that since speaking to residents I have found this is a great frustration for the people of Cheadle.
"This coalition has emphasised that the Conservatives and the Lib Dems are two cheeks of the same backside. The political establishment requires real scrutiny and change, we are living in a plutocratic state and only by voting Above and Beyond are we going to change that."  
The Above and Beyond Party has only been fully operational since last month but has been rapidly gaining support with members joining every day. Formal party elections will take place at the end of the month.
They are hoping to stand around ten candidates with other target seats in London, the South West, the Midlands and Yorkshire. The party are also prepared to be pragmatic and are supporting an independent candidate in the high-profile Sheffield Hallam seat, currently home of Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg. Locally-based lecturer Carlton Reeve would like to see an end to the party political system of governance and that chimes very much with a long term aim of Above & Beyond supporters.
Party representative Karen Stanley said: "It is obvious from our conversations with people from all over the country that they are crying out for a radically different vision. Do we really need to elect representatives when we could create a modern and much more transparent and representative democratic system? There are some interesting and workable alternatives that need investigating because it is clear the system does not act in our best interests.
"Thom, Drew and all the other Above and Beyond Party candidates will be taking out that message on to the streets and we are confident they will get a lot of sympathetic ears."
Author and journalist Mark Flanagan is standing for the party in Leeds North West where Liberal Democrat Greg Mulholland is expected to hang on with a greatly reduced majority and he has organised the party's election launch party.
On March 30-31 nine bands will play two gigs at the AboveBeyond nights at the Belgrave club in Leeds and he hopes it will provide an uplifting start to the campaign for the party.
He said: "All the bands are playing for free and we are expecting to sell out on both nights which will help pay for campaign literature for our candidates but also give everyone a big lift as they embark on the campaign proper.
"This will be the longest election campaign in recent memory and it will be great for lots of our supporters to get together in Leeds and have a great night. We have nine brilliant bands giving their time and energy free of charge and that says a lot about the depth of goodwill towards what we are trying to do."
Those interested in joining the party can visit www.voteaboveandbeyond.org or email the party on party@voteaboveandbeyond.org.


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