Pirates To Pillage UK Politics

Picking up seats in the local elections in southwest Germany has put wind in the sails of The Pirate Party, which is now intending to field candidates in the UK’s council elections.

Its members will stand in the local elections in Manchester, Glasgow and Edinburgh, although they’ll find it harder to get a foothold in mainstream British politics than their colleagues have in Sweden and Germany, which both have electoral systems based on proportional representation.

The party first appeared in 2006 in Sweden, broadly in support of The Pirate Bay founders, where it’s gone on to get two candidates elected to the European parliament.

At the end of March it won four seats in the elections in the state of Saarland, in southwest Germany, although it came under further criticism because – apart from advocating “digital freedom” – it doesn’t appear to have any sort of manifesto.

UK Pirate party leader Loz Kaye refutes the charge and says it isn’t only about digital freedom.

“Across the world we are seeing an unacceptable crackdown on digital rights, civil liberties and a lack of openness in accountable government”, he told The Guardian.

He believes the ideals of openness can be applied to drugs, for instance, by abolishing patents.

“The NHS shouldn’t be a cash cow for pharmaceutical companies,” he said. “We’re thinking about how to create jobs and an economy that is fit for the 21st century, and the growth area is in technology. How do you give the next generation skills and imagination, rather than just forming them into passive consumers?”