Finishing off a course in ‘Advocacy and Lobbying’ where one of the tasks was to do an interview. I’m in London for a 3month internship which makes for a good opportunity to explore how Pirate Party UK works. I talked with Regional Administrative Officer (RAO) Daniel Hertz today about PPUK and London activity.
The Pirate Party UK
The Pirate Party UK was officially registered on 30 July 2009. In the UK they have no formal requirements of signatures but each political party requires a person that is legally responsible for what the political party does and prints. In the political arena they are considered to be a single-issue party despite having three main issues they focus on (just like in Sweden). Their main focus lies on the three areas of “reforming copyright and patent law”, “ending the excessive surveillance” and “ensuring real freedom of speech”.
The Pirate Party UK consists of an elected National Executive Committee which handles the administrative aspects as well as legal requirements and general guidance. Below them they have a Board of Governors consisting of 12 persons responsible for “proposing amendments to the Party’s constitution”. There is also a Press Office to get more media attention for the party. On a more local level they have Regional Administrative Officers (RAOs) that are responsible for local activity of the party. They have some international relations (mainly through the Pirate Parties International secretary who is Brittish) but Daniel stresses that each country is very different with their own political system.
At it’s peak the party consisted of about 900 members but currently they are around 450 members according to Daniel. Currently there is a membership fee of £12 (£3 for under 21) that is used for covering the £500 required to participate in national elections and other administrative costs. The communication within the party happens on skype, irc, forums, the official blog and they also have a blog that aggregates blog posts called The Pirate Ship (similar to Swedish live.piratpartiet.se). The Pirate Party UK is currently preparing for the regional and local elections of 2011.
Daniel Hertz was elected RAO for London only last Monday and have yet to hold a meeting in his new position (one coming up on Feb 12th). Despite London being such a large media capital the membership in London is meager and this is something Daniel aims to change. Currently the core group in London only consists of about 15 persons (with more people behind supporting but not as actively). After the national elections the activity went down a bit and there hasn’t been a RAO in London for a few months before Daniel was elected. Daniel says he mainly wants to focus on “small things to get things going” (e.g. beer mats, billboards and of course activity). Another thing he finds very important is watching the parliament bills closer since they often seem to “hide away bills”. Daniel can be reached on Twitter by @monkeyjelly if you want to wish him good luck with his new position as RAO for London!
[pic: CC-BY-NC, andy broomfield]