I was brought up my two parents, both of whom are Conservative Party activists and elected representatives. From a young age, I joined my folks on the campaign trail, delivering leaflets for the Conservative Party. I even attended the Conservative Party conference in Blackpool in 1995. I met John Major and other leading Tories, including William Hague. I was convinced that the Conservatives had the answers to all of country’s problems.
Steeped in politics from a young age, I was compelled to study it at university. Like a cliché, studying politics pushed me leftwards, towards the Labour Party. After university, I worked as classroom assistant, in inner city Salford, working with children who have Special Educational Needs (SEN). This experience profoundly changed my outlook, nudging me to join the Labour Party. The only time I went anywhere near the Labour Party conference was to protest about the Iraq War. In Harrogate, several times I stood unsuccessfully in council elections, often finishing last. I even chaired the local Labour Party.
I left the Labour Party because I didn’t like what it became under Jeremy Corbyn, and I struggled to handle the animosity directed at Conservative Party voters and representatives, like my parents.
In or around 2018, I was quite excited about the launch of Change UK, the Independent Group, as they seemed to want to usher-in a new form of politics. In 2019, I joined the Liberal Democrats, staying for one year. I met many good people, but I was dismayed by their hatred of other parties. I have no time for tribalism.
Free from the intellectual constraints of party membership, I penned several articles for The Yorkshire Post, regarding economics and education.
As a birthday present to myself in 2020, I founded the non-profit Consensus Politics Limited, which runs the brand “the Crowd Wisdom Project”. This project uses a form of Artificial Intelligence called Polis. Polis is a tool which can survey large numbers of people in their own words, then finds where most people mostly agree. This project has facilitated a few hundred thousand votes, often working for councils, such as Wandsworth Council, Cheshire East Council. Environmental groups use the service for free.
I set-up the Harrogate District Consensus, where I live, to find out what people broadly agree upon. This project is not aligned to any political party or ideology. I have facilitated tens of thousands of votes, finding lots of areas of agreement – because people agree with each other far more than the media or social media would suggest. Sadly, and frustratingly, the archaic main parties largely ignore the data which has been provided to them. As a result, the opportunity to make sensible and rapid progress has been missed.