Of A Sapling Named Song

written by John Urquhart, Harmony Party UK general secretary

“Only to the rude ear of one who is quite indifferent does the song of a bird seem always the same.” — Rosa Luxemburg

It has been a little over a week’s change more than four months since a number of random conversations coalesced within my head to become a seed, which abruptly germinated in late June, becoming @HarmonyPartyUK (website). The sapling still grows. But what is it for?

When I began, my principal driving core ideal was that Harmony would not be “like other parties”. It would be for its members. By its members. Led by them and organised by them.

It would be an endeavour approached collectively. It would eschew hierarchy. This meant “letting go” of a lot of things that founders usually retain, like control. I’m not “in charge” of Harmony, though for now I’m its principal, loudest organiser, and unlike most people who are leaders, I have a lot of responsibility to the Party as an organiser.

That’s not the same thing as being the leader, though. We don’t have one of those.

How’s it going? is a question coming up a lot lately.

Well, firstly great, but secondly a bit weirdly. After all, there’s nobody to tell us what to do, when to do it by, how to do it, or why we should, and I think this is a bit hard to grasp at first.

We have to find all of that for ourselves, and I think the motivations can be hard to come by for absolutely anyone from time to time — which is why we’ll need to keep growing and adding to our talent pool, particularly in the organising bracket. But while our numbers are low, we lurch a little bit, from thing to thing, sluggish. But we’re growing into it. We’re in the act of becoming. Sometimes all the skills are there but the confidence isn’t, and that’s OK: there are a lot of weeks ahead.

And fortunately, unlike a butterfly, we know what we’re becoming. It’s all planned out: we know the “why” of it. The “why” of it is super simple: we just don’t have time to faff around anymore. We need change, big change, or a number of dangerous events will overtake not only our small island nation, but the whole world.

The debate about climate change is, for me, long over. We are now in that phase where it feels unrealistic to call it that; it feels more normal, which is worrying I suppose, to say “climate disaster”. We are in the midst of that, the early midst — and like we were moving through the soundalike, we can see ahead but only dimly.

What we can see tells us utterly without doubt that the future is one filled with peril if we step into it anything but a species unified in intention even if not in specific individual purposes: that we will make our existence a lasting one, a sustainable one.

To achieve that we have to achieve another goal first: we must end inequality.

And, in our little corner of the world, on our pretty little island off of Europe, @HarmonyPartyUK is intended to fight that very fight. To end inequality.

Not simply by seizing office by the ballot route. That is far too far away still. 1,354 days is a long time: there is an awful lot to do between now and then that might well help get a new political party on the map, but which much more importantly will do real, meaningful good in our communities.

And that ultimately is our purpose. While we discuss policy — and we are launching a weekly public policy discussion forum which anyone will be able to attend, and have their voice added to our democracy — we are also working on other, equally vital facets of our plan to build it better, and we don’t see any need to be in office to start work when so much of the labour is there, waiting to be undertaken — just crying out for helping hands and minds.

Partly this will be what has gone before: more unionisation, ways a political movement might support the union movement — but also it is not: we have plans to engage in advocacy for community directly, to assist in the running of campaigns for change at a local level, to provide real material assistance in a way that is not wholly typically associated with the words “political party”.

And other plans, plans to approach problems we’re not really talking about yet but will be pivotal to our overall strategy as a Party come the future. It’s written not just in our stars, but in our constitution as well.

Harmony is quite different because it does not simply plan to set out how it will run the country better than the existing lot.

It is different because it will actually demonstrate that fact, out in the real world.

And anyone is welcome to join in. Come help us!