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New anti-establishment party on the rise in the UK

AboveBeyond | 27.03.2015 13:46 | Ecology | Globalisation | Repression | London | Sheffield

How millions who have turned off the political system have the chance to finally vote in the 2015 May general elections thanks to The Above and Beyond Party

A new political party is standing candidates in May's general election with just one simple policy – that a none of the above option be installed on all UK ballot papers.

The Above and Beyond Party believes it represents a big chunk of the public who are fed up with the narrow choices afforded to voters and the absence of a proper debate on core issues that matter to them.

Long term they hope that once a none of the above option is made available and millions of voters tick it in elections, we would then have a national debate about our current party system and the Above and Beyond Party would then campaign to have it scrapped.

The party, which was only established this year, has quickly attracted widespread media attention and its candidates, the majority of which are aged 27 and under, are helping the movement grow at a rapid pace. The party already has large swathes of support in Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield and Wales.

Dance student Laura Boyle is standing in Cardiff Central where the 27-year-old mum-of-one is confident  the party's simple and straightforward message will resonate in all corners of the country.

She said: "There is a reason why many thousands of people abstain from voting. The media would have us believe that people don't care about how their country is governed. I believe it can be attributed to the increasingly unavoidable fact that our interests are quite simply not represented by any political party. 

"A system where people either feel forced to vote tactically, or not at all, is not a democratic system. The ability to vote 'None of the above' is a necessary fast track to change."

Sheffield-based Thom Brown (20) and Drew Carswell (20), who are both second year politics students in the city but did not know each other before getting involved with the campaign, are now working together in a area where political tensions are running high. Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg holds the Sheffield Hallam seat but many of his support previously came from students.

Thom, who is standing in Sheffield Central, 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 those who want a more democratic and relevant political system to be heard by those in power."

Drew is taking the Above and Beyond Party message to his home town – Cheadle  in the North West – and 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 the area.

"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."  

Keen environmentalist Rory Jepson is hoping his sustainability message will hit home in the Clwyd West constituency, which is in an area full of natural beauty.

The 22-year-old said: "I believe that given the opportunity to vote in a referendum on our system of governance, many people would agree reform is necessary. Our fossil fuel based economy is also unsustainable as the resources are limited, and due to interests of large energy companies the renewable energy sector is not being fully invested in. Also military intervention in the interests of fuel is not what many people want their taxes spent on."

The Above and Beyond Party has only been fully operational since January but has been rapidly gaining support with members joining every day.

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 leader and Leeds North West candidate Mark Flanagan 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.

"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."

Those interested in joining the party can visit or email the party on

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