The team at the Pirate Party apply their policies to local government and tell us their plans for the year ahead.
The Pirate Party campaigns on a range of issues from democratisation to greater digital inclusion and protecting the privacy of our data. In our bid to look forward to the year ahead, we asked the team at the Party how their policies relate to local government in 2016.
Openness in government
One of the key Pirate Party policy areas is ‘restoring trust in democracy’ and David A Elston, Pirate Party Deputy Leader, suggests a number of ways that this can be achieved in local government.
“Local councils should operate in an increasingly more open fashion. Some local councils have started to upload their consultations and meetings online but many are still lagging behind and often what has
been uploaded is not immediately clear. This is also the case for town or community councils.”
The Pirate Party also campaigns to lower the voting age in national and local elections, arguing that for young people to engage with politics, they must be included in the democratic process. The UK government has been debating the issue of lowering the voting age since 1999 but has not moved to change the law so far. Contrarily a unanimous decision was made in Holyrood last year to lower the voting age in Scotland to 16, a move that the Pirate Party believes would “restore and re-energise democracy” at a local and national level if replicated in the UK.
David Elston explained that it is not democratic for the House of Commons to deny a vote for people that they do not represent.
“The argument in the Lords was made that the elected house has said “No” to votes at 16 and we must respect that as democracy. The problem therein is that elected house was not representing the almost two million potential voters who are 16 and 17 year olds.”
The City of London
As part of the Pirate Party’s policy of restoring trust in democracy it also seeks the reform of the City of London specifically. Harley Faggetter, Governor of the Board and Chairperson of the London, Branch said:
“The City of London has long enjoyed a continuation of voting practices that disproportionately benefit local businesses over residents by enabling corporations and businesses the right to vote in local elections, a practice abolished throughout the rest of the country since the 1960s.”
The year ahead
Each Pirate Party, whether in the UK or Sweden, operates independently rather than as one organisation and has seen varying degrees of success. Iceland’s Pirate Party is now the largest political party in the country, with high hopes for the 2017 general election. In the UK the Pirate Party is looking to increase its supporters and active members over the next year as well as contesting a number of seats in the May 2016 local elections.
For more information on the Pirate Party in the UK please visit www.ppuk.org.uk