Thanks for the questions. I certainly want to be as accessible as I can. After all - this is something we like to criticise 'mainstream' politicians for, like the Tory MP who found it terribly irritating to answer constituents' emails... You can also get me on firstname.lastname@example.org
and on the go I am on twitter at @LozKaye .
1) What are your plans to engage the existing membership base?
Over the next few months:
I think we need a defining cause to galvanise us again. The Digital Economy Act did that, and we need one clear thing to focus on to make a lot of noise about up to February. And keep going on and on about it, and broadcasting it out. All suggestions gratefully received. Top of my list is the revival in strategic defence review of plans to force ISPs to hold records of our internet use, and phone companies to keep our phone records, for security purposes- the return to the we are all terrorists until proven otherwise.
Then, we need to look to May '11 (see next anwers). We all need to be thinking what we can practically do, and what we need help with. We need to be able to give a next step for members once they have joined in to helping the party create influence.
2)What are your plans to increase transparency/accountability within PPUK?
To bastardise a quote, communication communication communication. This is at all levels, we need to make sure we are responding to emails, getting things done and sharing the results with the membership.
3) PPUK is officially recognised as a political party, so what are the plans for the party politically? Short/Mid/long term? In the short term can you confirm that the scottish local elections are the core focus?
I think it is important to remember that we are a political party- that we are about effecting change by contributing to debate, and ultimately influencing the decision making process in the UK. In the short term, the Scottish elections will be the focus, the current goal is to field a full list of candidates for the regions of the Parliamentary vote. I want noone in Scotland to have to spoil their ballot as we are not there, and have to draw a little pirate ship... Equally I want to encourage the fielding of other local election candidates. What we need in the short term is to just find what our starting level is in numbers of voters, and where our support actually is.
In the medium term, a lot depends on how the AV referendum comes out, and how local democracy continues to develop. The next step will be to build on what was learnt from May 2011- knowing where to go to get nominees, turning supporters in to activists, focussing activity. If the system remains as it is, it may well be that we will want to agressively target a particular council seat (for example) where we know we can affect the outcome. Often it is the case of just a few votes.
In the long term I want us to be a part of the political landscape, that our candidates are recognised in the community as well as in our online constituency. I would like to see activist groups throughout the country that can be drawn on in campaigns for the 'on the ground' work. Building on the medium term work, if we hit the mood right, why shouldn't we aim to pull off an electoral surprise. That will take concentrated work. But most of all I want to turn the tide in favour of our ideas.
What about other regional/local elections? What support/infrastructure do you want to see put in place to support people who wish to stand/help the party?
First off, people who would like to stand should contact their relevant RAO. As things stand, we are rather spread out geographically so local campaigns will very much have to have their own drive and enthusiasm. And willingness to do the boring stuff! Having said that, do draw on the experience we have : Peter Brett's campaigning ideas, John Barron's practical knowledge about the electoral process, me for election agent experience... and a place to get support and encouragment. Get friends, family, colleagues... pets... to do volunteering for things like meeting people on the street, door knocking. Be clear what you ask them to do, and it's helpful to give a precise time frame. But on the other hand, don't apologise for asking. Use the 'hive mind' for tasks that don't need a physical presence, like making press contacts, blogging, tracking down useful meetings to go to.
What other political activities do you want to see the party engage in?
There are 2 things right now-
I would like to see us more involved in the civil liberties side of our manifesto. I am now regularly getting requests for interviews on the filesharing net freedom aspects of our politics. I want us to be known for our commitment to rolling back the slide towards a surveillance state. I think this is a question of us making sure that we are talking about this as much as the other issues to start with. I think we might have to think about a demo in this area- CCTV or naked scanners to start to get us associated with this part of politics more solidly.
Also I want to encourage party memebers getting actively involved in the Yes campaign for AV in May. Have a look over on the AV thread. If you are not running Pirate candidates in your area, this would be an excellent way to get some experience as well as being a winnable step to upgrading British democracy.