Time for another quick update on recent party activity and some of the things I have been up to. As ever it's quite a varied programme…
The policy consultation process has concluded and has exceeded all expectations. Thanks to everyone who took part, we have 100s of great proposals, comments and discussions. Currently Campaigns Officer Andy Halsall has been doing a great job behind the scenes collating all of these and sorting them in to a coherent order. This is ready for the next part of the process to work the proposals up in to clear deliverable policy. This is to be done with the membership in working groups on separate areas. This will be launched soon, do get in touch with email@example.com
if you would like to be involved in this. We need as many as possible, it will be hard work, but worth it.
On 20th October I attended a Westminster Forum event with the depressing title of "Implementing the Digital Economy Act". However, as things stand politically that is in fact a fair assessment of where the Government is. Ofcom said that the first notification letters are expected to go out in Spring/Summer 2013. The fact that this hated piece of legislation is taking so long to be imposed on the British people is a tribute to all of us who have fought so hard. And Ofcom conceded that the timetable is far from certain, as all legal challenge possibilities have not been exhausted yet.
Equally the political battle is far from over yet too. The real benefit of the Early Day Motion 1913, which so many of you helped support with the Axe the Act campaign, was that it showed there are over 100 MPs prepared to stand up for digital rights. It is obvious this issue is climbing up the political agenda. Nevertheless, for all the warm words of the Liberal Democrats, there is no sign that the coalition intend to halt the DE Act. It is vital we keep the pressure up.
It seems that political figures of all types have been finding their way to Brussels. As it happens I'm no exception. At the beginning of November I was invited to speak about social media and politics at conference hosted by Demos and the Open Society Foundation. The context was the launch of a report in to right wing populism and online activism in Europe, though the discussion and panels were wide ranging. The invite shows that we continue to gain influence and recognition for our clear stance on digital rights, and that we can contribute at the highest level.
I was pleased to be able to put concerns about web censorship and social media crackdowns to MEPs, journalists and representatives of NGOs. The Prime Minister's suggestion that social media was used for ill and should be curbed during this summer's riots was alarming, and as it turns out entirely unfounded. As there had been much discussion of radicalisation and distrust of mainstream politics at the conference, I was at pains to point out that current politicians only have themselves to blame, and policies that undermine our common freedoms
My notes for the introduction to the session are here if you are interested:http://lozkayepirate.tumblr.com/day/2011/11/07
For transparency's sake I'd like to make clear that the Open Society Foundation paid for my travel to Brussels, £149 return on the Eurostar.
As much as my day job work load has allowed I've been attending events, particularly in Manchester to connect with the community and spread the Pirate point of view. This has included a panel on the Hargreaves review at the Sharp business centre, the Critical Lawyers group and Manchester social media cafe.
I also attended Manchester City's full council session. I must admit those are 3 hours of my life I would like back, I have never seen so much pointless bickering with nothing concrete being achieved. Nevertheless for any of you planning to become candidates you need to start seeing what is involved practically, so get out there to those council sessions and committees. It will take a few Pirates to civilise them…
Some recent press and articles:
Virgin and Sky: our new moral guardians?http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/loz-kaye/virgin-and-sky-our-new-mo_b_1089820.html
Late Night Eviction of Occupy Wall Street:http://www.pirateparty.org.uk/press/releases/2011/nov/15/late-night-eviction-occupy-wall-street/
Pirate Party slams Government broadband strategy:http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/2130916/pirate-party-slams-government-broadband-strategy
You can contact me firstname.lastname@example.org
Twitter : @LozKaye