Loz Kaye's blog

What Next?

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In the weeks since the election, apart from getting something like a normal life back, I have been doing some reflecting on what comes next for me in politics.

I joined the Pirate Party on the back of a specific issue- the Digital Economy Act, and more generally to kick against the system. Which is fine for an activist. However, the experience of standing for election has changed me and my point of view. What the wider world has seen the least is the amount of time I've spent pounding the streets in Manchester in 6 elections in just 3 years.

I see daily child poverty, poor health outcomes, environmental damage, intolerable inequality in the city where I live. It's gutting to visit the same streets months and years later and still see the same houses boarded up, the same problems weighing people down.

This is why I championed a broadening of the manifesto. It was not just so we “looked sensible”. It's because I passionately believe in action on the issues I have seen around me.

Making the Business Case Against Mass Surveillance

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Once again the threat of blanket surveillance legislation is back thanks to the new government. One of their first acts was to announce the return of the Snoopers' Charter.

This is not just a threat to civil liberties, and a waste of resources that should be better channelled on actually protecting us. It is a threat to our economy too. Software companies announced they would be pulling out of the UK :

http://arstechnica.co.uk/tech-policy/2015/06/software-companies-are-leaving-the-uk-because-of-governments-surveillance-plans/

This is way more significant than whether Katie Hopkins or Paul O'Grady come and go. The signal is that we have a government that doesn't get tech, that would put investment in danger, and would directly interfere in digital business.

TTIP News – Good, Bad and Ugly

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During the election one of the top issues in terms of voter emails I received was TTIP, and the dangers it poses to public health, labour protection, the environment, digital rights and the very way our democracy operates. Chiefly this was because the campaign was championed by 38 Degrees, but even so it was striking as TTIP was not part of the mainstream debate during #GE2015. As with ACTA, grassroots activists have been quicker to see the problems with international deals cooked up behind closed doors.

Moving On

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I think we're all still reeling from a very strange General Election campaign. And the result.

I'm really proud of what we have done. That we have got people involved in politics that would never thought they could. That we have put our ideas forward. That we have increased our visibility.

We've gained a lot of respect in this campaign.

It was always going to be difficult fighting our corner for civil liberties, digital rights and a new kind of politics when the pressure was to squeeze votes. Thanks to all our amazing activists for working to put the case for thinking differently.

I'm glad we've moved forward as a party since the last General Election. But it's clear we have more to do.

That's why I won't be putting my name forward for the next National Executive elections. So I will be stepping down from leading the Pirate Party UK. I'll be talking to the board about the best timetable for this.

Why Pirate ?

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In the run up to the election the calls for tactical voting are increasing. Newspapers are telling you how to vote. Celebrities are being wheeled out to tell you how to vote. There are ever louder cries for people to abandon their principles and gamble on a particular outcome. Even though the outcome of this election is the most uncertain in recent history.

Every attempt is being made to squeeze every small party vote by appealing to the fears of either Miliband or Cameron as Prime Minister. When frankly quite a lot of us don't rate either.

So why vote Pirate then, when so much is at stake this time?

The simple answer is that every vote for us is a vote for a different agenda. That politics' priorities should be set by all the people, not  just by Westminster insiders, a Murdoch press and celebrity bigmouths.

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