Proposal to Close Pirate Party UK

30. 08. 2020
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Proposal to Close Pirate Party UK
Proposal to Close Pirate Party UK

Dear Party members,

It is with great sadness that we have reached the conclusion that PPUK has run out of steam. We hope that this will not be a permanent situation, but for the time being we think that there is not enough interest or energy to keep going and to justify collecting membership subscriptions.

As a result, we will shortly be holding a ballot of all members on the simple proposal:

Pirate Party UK shall be dissolved consistent with article 7 of the constitution.

The ballot will be announced by email, on social media, and on the web site. The vote will be electronic via the web site.

Background

The PPUK effort at the 2017 election was the best showing we have had with ten candidates, some good media attention, and a passable number of votes. Of course, in this first-past-the-post system and with the single-issue of Brexit that has dominated politics, it is very hard for a minority party to make a mark.

Since the 2017 election, the Party has been short of energy. This can be tracked by the small number of people attending on-line meetings on Discord and by the low level of new material generated for inclusion on our web site and in social media.

In May this year, we wrote to all members (and posted the message on the website at https://pirateparty.org.uk/article/pirate-party-future.html) to ask, “What is the future of Pirate Party UK?” We suggested a three-way choice:

  • Hold a ballot to dissolve the Party.
  • Continue in our current format with an injection of new blood.
  • Reinvent the Party as a collection of local/regional branches.

We decided that the option of “mothballing” the Party was not available for legal and financial reasons.

After some chat on Discord and an “all hands” voice call, we decided to give the Party a three month trial to see whether energy could be found that would justify continuing and trying to rebuild. We have now reached the end of that three month period, and it is time to take stock.

Since May there have been four articles/pieces published on the Party’s web site. Two were from “old hands”, but two were from newcomers which was very welcome. All were good pieces bringing the relationship between the news of the day and the Party’s principles into focus, and they generally attracted discussion on social media and on Reddit. However, the most recent of these publications was over two months ago, and despite attempts to encourage other authors, we must conclude that there is not enough active participation to keep up momentum.

We also invited members to put their names forward for the vacant NEC and Board positions, but received no nomination.

A quick check with the current NEC and Board members reveals that we are all reluctant to keep putting effort into a Party that is not showing signs of movement, and we are uneasy about continuing to take membership fees for no purpose.

Hence we are holding a vote to dissolve the Party.

The Vote

Article 7 of the constitution reads as follows:

The party may be dissolved by a simple majority of members making clear their wish to dissolve the party. Any assets belonging to the party at the time of dissolution will be donated to a registered charity of the NEC’s choosing.

The vote, once opened, will run for a two week period. Formally, the Board is responsible for holding the vote. The returning officers will be the Party Leader (Harley Faggetter) and the Chair of the Board (Adrian Farrel). Any problems voting should be reported to:

There will be a choice of three ways to vote:

  • Yes
  • No
  • Abstain

Once the voting has closed and the ballots have been checked for validity and counted, the result will be announced via an email to the members and a notice on the web site. A “simple majority” will be considered to be an absolute majority (i.e., more than 50%) of the votes cast. Abstentions will be counted as votes cast.

Details of Implementation

Before the Vote

In order to not take money under false pretences, we have turned off the ability for people to join or renew membership through the web site. Members with standing orders or recurring PayPal payments are cautioned to check these to avoid making an unintended payment.

The disabling of membership payments may mean that a few people find that their membership has lapsed right at the time when they needed it in order to vote. Any problems with voting should be communicated at once by email to [email protected] and [email protected]

We are sending this communication by email to all of the registered member addresses. We will also publish it on the web site and point to it through Discord and Twitter. We will attempt to use FaceBook as well although, at the time of writing, FaceBook has suspended our page without giving a clear reason.

If the Vote is “No”

A “No” result will indicate that members wish the Party to continue. It is clearly the right of the membership to vote this way, and to some extent we would be delighted with this result. However, members voting “No” need to be clear that a party does not run itself: if there is a vote for the Party to continue then there will be an immediate need for volunteers to help run the Party and for contributions to be made to writing and developing material. Please don’t vote “No” on the basis that “someone should run the Party”, but do vote “No” if you are determined to help.

If the Result is “Yes”

A “Yes” result will instruct the NEC to wind up the Party. And dispose of the resources as follows:

  • Services. The email and web hosting services will be terminated according to the conditions of the current contract. The snail-mail post office box will be closed. Social media accounts will be terminated. The Discord server will be retained, but renamed and restructured.
  • Domain names. The existing domain names will be paid for and transferred to be held in case they are wanted by a future incarnation of the Party. A splash page will indicate how they can be obtained, permission to not be unreasonably refused.
  • Money. All outstanding debts will be settled. Any remaining money will be split 50/50 between The National Museum of Computing and Privacy International as donations. The bank accounts and PayPal account will be closed down.
  • Personal records. All personal records (membership records) will be destroyed subject to legal requirements for record-keeping and reporting to the Electoral Commission.
  • Electoral Commission. The party will be formally de-registered at the Electoral Commission so that it ceases to exist.

A Road to Potential Resurrection

If the Party closes, the current plans are to hold the domain name and Discord server in trust for some time. Retaining the domain name will help deter domain squatters or anyone that may wish to tarnish the reputation of the Party and its officers. Retaining the Discord server will allow us to maintain a hub for Pirate Politics in the UK, but will also provide a place where, should a plan to revive the party arise, discussions can be held about whether to transfer the domain and server to new owners. These plans are subject to change, but our intention so far is to hold onto these for a period of up to five years.

We also hope that any new Party will make efforts to repair our relationship with the international Pirate community, and to that end we’ll aim to involve Pirate Parties in other countries and Pirate Parties International in helping any resurrection attempt.

Closing Remarks

It has been our great pleasure and honour to work with you all over the years. Your support (both financial, and in time and effort) has meant a lot to us, and we believe that the Party has achieved a lot in terms of highlighting the issues that were at the core of what PPUK stood for.

We are sad that there is not enough energy to continue the party at the moment, but the current political climate and the first-past-the-post electoral system in the UK make it very hard to make progress as a minority party without substantial funds and a great deal of enthusiasm.

That we are where we are is not anyone’s fault: it is just how things are. We would like to take this opportunity to wish you all well, and hope to see Pirate politics make a resurgence some time in the future.

Bon Voyage!

Harley Faggetter (Party Leader)
Adrian Farrel (Chair of the Board of Governors)

About the Pirate Party

The Pirate Party in the UK is a fledgling political party. It has fielded a few candidates in European and National elections, but like most small parties it is significantly constrained by the UK electoral system. Despite this, the Pirate Party has started to poll alongside major parties and is looking to build support from the grassroots. The party stood 10 candidates in the June 2017 General Election and briefly held 2 community councillors.

Find out more about the UK Pirate Party on our website or contact [email protected]

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