Note that this is the same blog that recently started a post with:
TL;DR? Why not just go watch another five second video of a kitten
with its head in a toilet roll, or a 140 character description
of a meal your friend just stuffed in their mouth. “nom nom”.
This blog post is not for you.
> they have a silly name and their focus seems to be solely on ‘sharing culture’ at the expense of everything else.
Then you go on to say:
> What we need in this country is a protest party that campaigns on the issues of Internet privacy, censorship, copyright/patent reform and computer misuse laws.
The Pirate Party campaigns precisely on these issues. For those that think the Pirate Party is just focused on protesting against unfair monopolies, please look up their actual ideas.
A good illustration is given on Rick Falkvinge's blog:
I guess the UK Pirate Party is in need of more members who care about these issues?
We feel that citizens' right to private and confidential communication is vital, but at present it is not respected. We will forbid third parties from intercepting or monitoring communication traffic (i.e. telephone calls, post, Internet traffic, defend the right of citizens to expose emails) and require specific warrants to be issued by a court before the police are allowed to monitor communications traffic.
Putting your time and money behind groups like ORG (http://www.openrightsgroup.org/), the EFF (https://www.eff.org/), and Privacy International (https://www.privacyinternational.org/) feels more productive to me than playing an expensive system for a one-off political statement. We need to support and create sustainable groups with a vested interest in putting pressure on the policy makers in power. Groups who are well-established, who share your views, and who have a head start.
Expressing your distaste for existing parties is valuable. But it is easily ignored, especially if you do not intend to fight for seats.
If the EFF and ORG grew as big, influential, and sustainable as other pressure groups such as the National Rifle Association, then privacy and technology matters could start to influence policy makers pandering for votes.
If you're reading this from the UK, go ahead and join ORG today: https://www.openrightsgroup.org/join/ They need more members. £5 a month can make a big difference to them.
You should donate to the EFF while you're at it: https://supporters.eff.org/donate
I agree that a one-off campaign in the 2015 general election is unlikely to bear much fruit. However, having said that, the Pirate Party's strategy of tackling these problems by being a political party and fighting elections is already bearing fruit.
For example, one reason the European Parliament decided not to go ahead with ACTA is that they fear it would give a major impetus to the Pirates, who the oldparties would rather not see getting bigger in the 2014 European election.
There is no reason, of course, why digital rights activists cannot do both -- political parties and campaigning organisations -- together.
Sure, you would always like to have more money, but it never stops you from doing sensible moves. On top of that, not having boatloads of money makes you look authentic and fresh.
When you campaign, you spend so much of your own time and energy, that you happily spend some of your money as well. The listed costs in this article are peanuts for any group of people that can afford to start and propel a political movement. You certainly don't need Internet crowdfunding for that though it might be a good idea for financing an election campaign.
In my experience, there are many, many people who want to support your politics but don't think they have the time. Those people are very willing to support you financially with what ever amount they can easily afford.
So, at least in Germany, starting a political movement is not limited by money.
PS: There was actually some crowdfunding. The company Spreadshirt included donatations for every T-Shirt with the popular Stasi 2.0 logo. http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stasi_2.0
About 11,000 Euros were raised very quickly and I remember the many discussion on "How shall we spend all this money."
If you want to reform something, it seems like the required action is to reform it. Saying on record 'i want reform', or 'i don't like the old system' does not achieve anything, and in fact wastes everyones' time. The hard part: working out reform and enactioning it, still needs to be done.
Am I missing something?
So what would this achieve. Well having a "privacy reform" party candidate on all the ballots would draw attention to the problem, in that voters would see the name and potentially hear about the platform. Also getting on the ballots would be likely to draw some mainstream media attention (heck the Monster raving loony party gets attention in the UK when it's on the ballot at by-elections)
Then if the party actually gets a decent number of votes, it may persuade mainstream parties to change their positions. My feeling is that at the moment none of them think it's that important a topic, so aren't formulating policies on the topic.
Personally I think it's a good idea to try and do something about this now, as once the idea that PRISM etc are fine and accepted gets embedded into culture, the next steps are likely to follow (e.g. what the US seems to be seeing with DEA and other law enforcement areas getting access to data). How long would it be before your local police are trawling your smartphone GPS data to see if you were speeding...)
Yep, this has happened before. 25 years ago the Conservative party brought in a law banning the "promotion of homosexuality in schools", now they are legalising same sex marriage.
That in itself is quite useful. At the moment, anyone who doesn't vote generally falls into one of two categories:
1) I don't care
2) I don't want any of them
Having some way of explicitly saying "I care, but have no confidence in any of you" can be quite powerful. If it wasn't, votes of no confidence wouldn't mean anything.
> Saying on record 'i want reform', or 'i don't like the old system' does not achieve anything
Only when people agree that the old system has problems. If all the parties think it's fine and they think their constituents are happy with it then a significant voice saying "No, we're not" is important, even when there's no plan. If people agree that there are issues then yes, it's pointless.
You don't need to form a party for this however, you can spoil your ballot paper, that has to be counted.
Unfortunately, due to misinformation (IMO) the plan to reform the voting system failed. I think that would really have helped.
I'm ambivalent about it. I'm Norwegian, so can't vote here anyway, but my feeling, partly because of seeing the Norwegian system, I think that while the proposed system would've been a big step forward, it was also a quite poor stopgap measure, and if it had succeeded it would likely have killed the voting system debate for the next 50 years as anyone trying to lobby for further reform would have just been met with "but we already did enough".
Consider this: In 2010 there were 40+ seats with margins of 1000 votes or less. And Labour lost the chance of cobbling together a coalition (whether or not it'd have worked is another matter) by a handful or two of seats.
So a campaign like this, if well run, is a big threat of upset to all three of the big parties.
But as I wrote on the blog, you can get that same effect by focusing the effort on, say, the 100 or so most marginal seats and using any extra resources on advertising an PR to explicitly make a point out of spoiling it for the incumbent in those seats unless they take a principled stand on the campaigns issue.
For many of these seats, the margin would have only required a swing of <1% away from the incumbent for the runner up win, and many of these seats remain close in election after election.
Also, in these seats it's not only criticising their policy and getting votes that would upset the big parties, but any campaign that'd focus on telling voters "the big three are all just the same, so it doesn't matter which one wins" would be an issue for them in marginal seats as winning those seats depends so heavily on getting people to actually go out and vote as well - voters who decide that they don't give a shit about this campaigns issue but find themselves agreeing it doesn't matter if their seat goes to Labour, the Tories or the Lib Dems might very well stay home even if they'd otherwise vote a specific party out of habit or overall sympathies.
First past the post systems are very prone to big upsets from relatively modest campaigns due to effects like this, and that's one of the reasons why you see so extensive lobbying, but this is a quite interesting approach to it and as much as I loathe the current coalition government, I'd love to see it attempted (and I fall in the category who think that while they're not all the same, they're all so far from what I'd like that I don't care all that much).
There is a legitimate concern about regulatory capture, about large entities having an unfair advantage... However, whenever I see the whole "OMG CORPORATOCRACY" shtick nowadays I just think that the author has seen one too many scifi movie from the 80s about how we will be ruled by some Japanese Omni MegaCorp and it has forever tainted his world view.
And then there's the signalling. UKIP is, of course, racist. The Pirate Party has a silly name. "What would my peers and colleagues think? We need a party that would make me, a constituent, look good to my friends!"
On the other hand, moral preening as a primary political concern surely is a first world thing. So that's a good illustration.
Not to mention that this article is yet another political manifesto with tenuous connection to technology at best.
The alternative to creating a party is to create a campaigning body or organisation - which of course may struggle to get noticed.
Raising and highlighting important public issues, questioning official claims is also the role of the press, but we can never expect that from the utterly abysmal UK press.
That's exactly what this blog post argued for.
Consider that in 2010 there were 40+ seats where taking less than 1000 votes would have been enough to spoil the incumbent party's chance at winning the seat.
Having said that, there are an enormous number of problems with this suggestion.
" There should be no need for local campaigning. I’ve never had a politician knock on my door to discuss who I’d vote for, but I have had plenty of leaflets and fliers put though my letterbox and they end up straight in the recycling. "
Good - because everyone else thinks the same as the OP, right? If we promote on Twitter and YouTube, everyone who matters will learn about the party?
Not so much. A project like this is going to need a marketing budget, and a big one - as well as volunteers on the ground, whether the OP likes it or not.
Most people don't even have a Twitter account. Most people don't follow YouTube particularly closely.
And as many, many marketing professionals over the years have noticed, you need to tell people about your product a lot more than once for them to buy into it.
"There are 650 constituencies in the United Kingdom."
And for each of these, you're going to need a candidate. That's 650 people you need to find, who can appear credible to the media (so, they'll need to be skilled public speakers who can handle a debating environment as well as a media interview focused on soundbites), who don't have any skeletons in their closet or non-standard lifestyle choices that the other parties can use to discredit the entire organisation ("GEEK WHO WANTS TO BE PM IN BISEXUAL ORGY SHOCKER!"), and who are willing to give up their current careers should they win.
One of the biggest problems the mainstream parties have is finding qualified candidates - and they've got 100+ years of experience and network to do so. For an upstart party like this, it's going to be a far, far bigger problem than finding the money.
None of which means that this idea should just be disregarded, but it definitely needs more consideration.
They don't need this; I think the idea is purely protest, with no intention of the person actually getting voted in.
Here is a list of 650 people that are almost as geographically diversely located as it is possible to be while remaining in the UK. Demonstrate that none of them are "batshit crazy".
Back to your post. What I understand is, you want to show to the existing parties that a sizable population wants something the parties are not offering, and hope that they will notice. And you yourself cannot support any of the existing parties because you disagree with several of their policies. Won't your proposed party face a similar problem? It probably will be less of a problem because the degree of disagreement on issues won't be so big, because the kind of people you will gather think similarly of most issues, have a similar (modern, liberal?) morality.
But I think you have to relay the implicit message of your post explicitly. LETS STOP BEING FUCKING LAZY.
Kickstarter cannot be used to raise money for causes, whether it’s the Red Cross or a scholarship, or for “fund my life” projects, like tuition or bills.
Indiegogo has no problem with it though.
Does anyone know why that's the case? Why would Kickstarter be so restrictive?
Kickstarter also requires each project team to sign up for their own Amazon payments account. Why wouldn't Kickstarter just collect the money and then wire it / cut a check to the funding recipient?
Also, why does Indiegogo charge upfront while Kickstarter waits until the campaign is successful.
The whole crowdfunding space seems to operate pretty illogically. Are there legal complexities that aren't apparent to an outsider that force their hand?
Still, I wonder why Kickstarter has each project set up their own Amazon Payments account and not collect the money themselves? Could it be a legal or tax reason? And how do they extract their 5% if the payment is processed with the campaign owner's Amazon account?
Rather than cast an unpleasant slur on UKIP (what nasty visions your comment conjures up) it would be helpful were you to identify the perceived problem. As far as I am aware, UKIP are not planning to discriminate against my own UK naturalized marriage partner or my child.
Enough that as a non-UK citizen with a UK born (and hence citizen) mixed race son, the thought of UKIP getting anywhere near power would make me consider leaving the country.
(a) null voting is already a "none of the above" option
(b) they ask to give money to do... what exactly? Why give this guy 300k£ to basically waste? Give it to charity FFS.
It's certainly possible for it to be a total waste, but in Sinn Fein's case, for example, whether or not you agree with their goals, it is a very clear principled stand: They don't believe Northern Ireland is rightfully part of the UK, nor that the queen is their rightful head of state, so they can't in good conscience give an oath of loyalty to the queen.
Voters who vote for them know full well that this will the outcome, yet they still vote for them because it accomplishes something to these voters: It (now) gives funds to Sinn Fein and it keeps sending a signal that a substantial number of people in these constituencies see British rule as unjust.
Surely there can be any number of other causes where the signal effect can be preferred by voters who otherwise don't see sufficient difference between the major parties to believe it makes a difference which one of them gets their policy through.
The reality anyway is that in the vast majority of votes in the Commons, the small parties votes have no bearing on the outcome at all because the first past the post system means the big parties has such a disproportionate portion of the seats, so most votes for parties outside the big three are still totally "wasted" by similar logic.
There have been times when a party ran on a particular platform, enough MPs got elected so they decided not to sit in the House of Commons and set up their own Parliament, and managed to successfully break away.
Look we even made a video ;) https://donate.piraten.lu/
1. the Euro election is fought using PR, meaning it's possible to actually win seats
2. a lot of the relevant issues are decided at Brussels as much as at Westminster.
The UK has a weird 'first-past-the-post' system, and it'd be neat to see what the different results would have been.
Unfortunately re-running data on past elections would be wildly misleading, as people vote with the knowledge of which parties stand a chance in their seat, and hence a lot of votes that might have gone for smaller parties in a more proportional system goes to one of the biggest parties.
But you might look to the EU Parliament elections for a demonstration of how different people here might vote (with the caveat that the issues are different, and so people might certainly vote differently) with a proportional system: