An Independent candidate is standing to be MP for Selby and Ainsty, using an innovative way of engaging with all the people in the constituency.
Andrew Gray decided to stand due to his dissatisfaction with the current state of British politics. Andrew will use an AI system to engage with the people, to find out what they really want.
- Nigel Adams announced on 10 June 2023 that he was standing down as MP for Selby and Ainsty Constituency, triggering a by-election on 20 July.
- The resignation was part of a group of Conservatives resigning, that included Boris Johnson and Nadine Dorries.
- Adams took the seat in 2010, having previously been a Labour seat.
Andrew Gray said:
“British politics is in a very strange place, with many turning their backs on the established parties, as there is very little to distinguish between them. There is a palpable sense that we are living in unprecedented times and that our politics and our institutions cannot adapt to the pace of change.
Independent candidates are nothing new, but voters usually need to align their views with those of the candidate, but my approach is different.
I have previously used an AI system – Polis – which is a very advanced system for gathering, analysing and understanding what large groups of people want. It is something that has been used in other countries to help shape politics for the better, and it will be the first time it is being used in a UK election.
Interactions on social media, as well as the mainstream media, suggest we are living in polarised times; that people don’t get along. This is nonsense. Having used Polis throughout the UK, I can tell you that there is so much that people agree upon. I want to find these consensus points and use them as my policies. My only policy is to take my policies from the people! That’s what a representative ought to do.
Although it is potentially only one seat, big changes could come from this. I am running Polis AI conversations in every town and village in this massive constituency, as well as a cross-constituency Polis conversation about national issues. All the data, which is anonymous, will be released.
If elected, I will vote in Parliament in accordance with the consensus of the constituency. On election, the conversations will continue, and I will vote in Parliament vote as per the changing desires of my electorate, which means that I can respond to change quickly. If mandated, I will vote for the Government, or against, or abstain. Therefore, by electing me, my constituents are getting more democracy, more power in their hands. Selby and Ainsty will be the country’s bellwether constituency.”
The Polis AI system allows individuals to give their views on statements that are posed, but it also allows further statements and ideas to be put forward, and then voted upon, all anonymously. This gives a significant amount of data on what people think, that goes way beyond a typical poll of strongly agreeing or strongly disagreeing with something. As a system, it can be difficult to grasp what it is fully capable of until it is seen in action.
Andrew Gray said:
“In Harrogate, which is the neighbouring constituency where I live, I deployed Polis AI on the topic of a town centre development, as well as on a Default 20mph question. Although both these issues appeared to polarise people, consensuses were easily found. Sadly, the consensuses were given little attention by the council.”
Andrew Gray is an experienced solicitor and lives in Harrogate with his wife, and children. In 2012, he setup a legal firm called Truth Legal, that he led, and developed, before a management buyout in 2022. He has previously been involved as a Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat activist. He has run the non-profit Crowd Wisdom Project, which used Polis AI, since 2021. He is a Non-Executive Director of an ethical algorithms campaign group.
“Although there is some history in my family in politics, I want to be seen as not so much a political candidate, but a candidate for positive change. There is so much that we agree upon: let’s start there. I’m optimistic. Our many problems are fixable.
Things simply can’t stay as they are. Many of us are rolling our eyes at what is going on in Westminster. Traditional party politics need consigning to the dustbin of history.”
Notes to Editors
- The Selby and Ainsty by-election will be on 20 July 2023.
- Further details can be found at andrew-gray.org or at email@example.com or 07779799189. Andrew would welcome the opportunity for interviews.
- Results of Harrogate Town Centre Polis (in the neighbouring constituency): https://www.harrogatedistrictconsensus.org/conversations/the-harrogate-gateway-poll/.
Results of 20mph Polis in Harrogate: https://www.harrogatedistrictconsensus.org/conversations/a-default-20mph-zone/