Think Different, standing up for Sheffield.

It's General Election time and I'm looking forward to representing the Party and our ideas in Sheffield as the Party's PPC in Sheffield Central.

Five years ago when I helped Tim Dobson with his campaign in Manchester Gorton, I wasn't entirely sure he wasn't mad putting himself on the line for the Pirate Party. But I helped out and we learned a lot. I realised he was doing absolutely the right thing, providing a solution to the problems he wanted to solve.

I'm standing for the same reason. The Pirate Party is a genuinely young party that has worked over the last five years to bring a better kind of politics to the UK. Policy processes are genuinely open, membership isn't exclusive and our candidates run for election where they live or work, on policies that they have developed cooperatively with a huge range of people.  I've worked to make that a reality and I believe in all of it. 

We are always looking to improve on what we have achieved so far, making use of new technology as well as the old-school approach of knocking on doors and listening to people.  I look forward to doing that here, for the first time with members here in Sheffield, in a General Election.

I want to achieve a transparent and accountable government that works for all of us. I think this is essential if we want to reduce apathy and boost involvement in the political process and in civil society more generally. We need a political system that better reflects our society. 

I've not come the obvious route into politics. I'm not a university graduate. I wasn't privately educated and I'm not wealthy. I have worked in a shop, been a soldier and lived in various parts of the UK, I'm a dad and now apparently also a politician. I care about my local area as well as what happens to Edward Snowden. I want to be a part of rebuilding trust in parliament and the political process.

But why stand for the Pirate Party?  Why not the Greens, Lib Dems or Labour?  

It's simple really. I don't think the parties are interchangeable. I think that of all the parties, the Pirates' positions are the closest to what I believe is right. It may not be as well funded or as big as those other parties, but I think being right is more important.

I want to stand for a party that opposes mass surveillance and stands up for civil liberties. A party that understands the common good, that people must have jobs that pay fairly in an economy that benefits them, homes they can afford and access to great education. The Pirate Party does.

I need to know that the party I am standing for stands behind the idea that healthcare must be free at the point of delivery and available to those who need it. That believes and knows that justice must be fair, accessible and understandable. The Pirate Party does.

I know that our society needs to be defended from external and internal threats, but never at the cost of the principles and values of that society. I know that people have to be able to express themselves; to speak, write, protest and strike when they feel like they must. And the Pirate Party does too.

I also know that Pirates won't be forming the next government - yet if I don't stand, if our candidates in London, Manchester, Salford and elsewhere don't stand and challenge the major parties where they are wrong, then change will be impossible.  We have so much to offer to the UK and in a system that isn't kind to small parties, we are going to continue to work and we are here to stay.

No vote for the Pirate Party is wasted, we will stand up for what we believe, support initiatives that works towards our goals, and oppose government when it is wrong. We need Pirates in Parliament.  I look forward to the challenge ahead, to making our case and to your support.