6th December 2013 00:43 by Stephen Ogden
No, this isn't deja vu, Loz stood yesterday in yet another by election for Ancoats and Clayton.
2nd November 2013 17:06 by Stephen Ogden
This week two delegates from the Pirate Party UK attended the Eighth Annual Parliament and Internet Conference on 31st October. The event, held by the Parliamentary Internet, Communications and Technology Forum (PICTFOR) which is the leading all-party group in the technology sector in the Houses of Parliament, was attended by parliamentarians, regulators, delegates from technology industries, public interest groups and many more.
19th October 2013 15:31 by BlogEditor
Party Leader Loz Kaye rounded off the successful, fun, and productive conference at Manchester's Museum of Science and Industry. In his speech to members and delegates, he set out some of the key themes of the past year and priorities for the way ahead.
Loz pointed out that the venue was an appropriate one for the conference saying: “Museums and libraries are the original Pirates. Freeing up knowledge. Freeing up culture. Because it allows everyone to take part not just an elite.”
He called for the country to embrace new technologies like 3D printing, for proper investment in broadband, real delivery from the rural broadband programme, wider rolling out of public WiFi and the rethinking of schooling and evaluation.
The party is setting its sights on the European Parliament vote in May next year, and being clear where we stand on the EU: “We support a referendum on whether the UK will be part of a new more open, democratic and accountable EU. Our position is about getting something that will benefit everyone on the continent, not just narrow nationalism, or shuffling a ragbag of powers. “
Loz rejected the idea of “detaching the country from the continent and dumping it in the mid Atlantic … After all, it is ridiculous to talk about surrendering sovereignty to Brussels when we give it to Washington without debate.”
Looking back over the past year in digital rights Snowden's revelations about the shocking true extent of mass surveillance dominated. Loz said: “Are we citizens or are we suspects? We have always said that the attempts to crack down on file sharers are dangerous not just because it is a move to choke off our shared culture. It is dangerous because it legitimises snooping on us all.”
10th October 2013 09:00 by Stephen Ogden
Ancoats and Clayton By-Election Liveblog
Welcome to the Pirate Party UK Liveblog for the Ancoats and Clayton by-election in Manchester.
Party leader Loz Kaye is running for the Manchester City council seat vacated when Jim Battle resigned to take the job of Deputy Police Commissioner.
Competition will be tough, as we are against all of the major UK parties, and are by far the smallest. We will be providing coverage of the campaign, and the results here through the day, led by Party Governors Stephen Ogden, and Andrew Norton.
8th October 2013 01:05 by BlogEditor
Its been a busy few months, but it isn't over yet!
If you can make it to Manchester for the party conference – come. We don't get together often enough as it is and this will be the last chance of a proper national get-together before the European Elections next year.
You will have seen some details on who we will have speaking on social media over the last few weeks, and no doubt you will have read our programme but we now have the rest of the week for you to give us some topical questions for our panellists.
The Saturday panel is:
Open discussion and Q&A with the NEC. (Jack Allnutt Moderating) with the full NEC
The Sunday panels are:
The Participation in Democracy Panel (Andy Halsall to Moderate) - This panel will touch on current issues with democratic participation and ask: How can can reinvigorate the political process and truly give citizens a voice? Panellists include Jamie Bartlett (of Demos) and Maria Aretoulaki (Pirate Party Manchester)
The Social Policy Panel - 'A Sharing is Caring society?' (Jack Allnutt to Moderate) - The panel will discuss how the "sharing is caring" approach of the Pirate Party can be broadened out in to society at large. Panelists include Louise Bolotin (Journalist) and Jerry Barnett (photographer, writer, technologist, entrepreneur, and campaigner @PornPanic).
30th September 2013 15:37 by BlogEditor
On 15th December 1791, the First Amendment to the United States Constitution was adopted, stating, “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech”. The concept of free speech, I submit, must be considered core to democracy and a fundamental human right, for it allows for completely open and honest discussion and debate, which is surely ideal and necessary for a society that collectively desires, at least in theory if not entirely in practice, liberty and freedom. Over two centuries later however, the upholding of such an essential value continues to repeatedly fail, and in my defense of freedom of speech and freedom of expression I intend to portray, condemn and argue against such weakness and cowardice that disappointingly suggests democratic populations will take what they themselves consider their rights for granted, as though they need not be defended, to then allow them to crumble.
I intend to focus on two key points with regards to the subject. Firstly, that no line to what may be said or written in the public domain should be drawn, and an absolutist approach must be taken. While this clearly cannot be extended so ruthlessly to the production of certain visual media due to potential victimisation or the demonstration of serious harm, such as with the distribution of photographs of child pornography, or of video footage of any individual without their consent, it must be admitted that this is a form of censorship whether the vast majority welcomes it or not, and hence one must be wary of allowing the line to be pushed any further; if a line is to be drawn in some cases, it must be firmly held in place with a reluctance to allow its movement. However, as I consider this a slightly separate branch of discussion I will leave it at that for the time being, and I hope you do not believe me to be dodging the subject. Secondly, and I think more importantly and to be the crux of my argument, there is a dangerous unwillingness to protect free speech, particularly throughout the Western world, often out of fear, a desire to refrain from causing offense or even simply because it may not comply with the accepted views of the majority. Free speech is an essential right and must as a result be defended.
20th September 2013 15:57 by Andy Halsall
Two and a bit years ago, I sat in a Chinese restaurant in Glasgow with the Pirate party's then campaigns officer Peter Brett, enjoying a meal, and discussing the potential of the Pirate party. I was quite liberal in expressing my thoughts on what needed to be done and how long it might take, to move the party on from its somewhat disastrous general election results.
If I'd known then that two years later, I would still be working on those very same issues, making steady if slow progress, I'm not sure I would have been able to commit myself to it. It seems naive now to think that I thought that the biggest challenges we would face would be in elections, in getting our message across, and maybe explaining our party name.
The conference in Glasgow, and having a chance to meet people from across the country who had been involved to some degree or another in the party galvanised me to do something.
So, I stood for the post of campaigns officer, was elected by the membership and ran headlong into what appears to have been a bit of an administrative nightmare…
28th August 2013 18:06 by Andy Halsall
Its not often that we see positive reforms of copyright or patent systems, in fact the vast majority of changes that we see are tightening of regulations, a tightening that is too often driven by corporate lobby groups over the objections of innovators, developers and creators. It seems like an ever rising tide of restrictions, covering more and more areas, limiting what any of us can do, reuse or build upon.
Well that tide seems to be on the verge of turning. Not in the UK yet perhaps, but certainly in New Zealand. The long awaited Patents Bill, amending legislation from 1953, has been passed in New Zealand. It is a bill has been a long time coming, first proposed in July 2008, it was met with intense lobbying from multinationals and spurred almost 5 years of debate and controversy.
But now the debate is over, and more importantly, rationality has prevailed. The bill, which will effectively ban software patents, is being hailed as 'breakthrough' by the Institute of IT Professionals (IITP), New Zealand's ICT professional body.
28th August 2013 14:18 by Loz Kaye
The last few weeks has seen a deluge of news for our kind of politics - more mass surveillance revelations, the smashing of Guardian laptops, and not least the Manning sentencing. I couldn't help reflecting that Manning has been locked up longer than I have been Leader of the UK Pirate Party.
23rd August 2013 20:06 by Loz Kaye
At Media City in Salford there is a huge screen showing BBC News. Just as I came out in to the square two days ago they were showing the breaking footage of the gas attacks in Syria. Haunting pictures of devastating human suffering, images that bore in to the conscience and demand compassion, and cry out for action. Given I had just been doing an interview on Manning's sentencing I couldn't help thinking of the Collateral Murder video. The callous gunning down of over a dozen people including two Reuters staff, the chilling detachment, similarly pricked the conscience of citizens across the world.