...and why you're not a Green too.
On the campaign trail it's not uncommon for Green Party supporters and sympathies to ask:
“If digital rights are so important to you why don't you join the Green Party?”
While it is true that perhaps there are forward looking people in the Green Party with their heart in the right place, the digital world will never be a priority for the Greens. They're inexperienced, they've come late to the digital fight, they're a little too, well, green. I say this as someone who joined the Greens hoping they were a truly progressive party but left when there was a completely void of support for our digital freedoms.
As it was put by a co-host on The White Rose Club radio yesterday “Greens are like 3G and the Pirate Party are 4G” which I think captures it perfectly. Essentially while there is a faction within the Greens that know there is something in the digital world that needs their attention, they're most certainly not up to date while Pirates are at the frontier.
The second question I get asked is:
“If you're determined to be a Pirate, then why not stand on a joint-ticket?”
Of course this is in reference to the recent motion the Greens passed to allow joined candidates. Many Greens have expressed their excitement for a “Green Pirate” candidate. However, in Wales and especially in Bridgend where I am standing, this is met with heavy resistance. It would seem the Welsh Green Leader Pippa Bartolotti, perhaps to some degree feels neglected by the main Green Party entity after they joined the anti-austerity alliance. There is an undertone that Welsh Green votes will be traded in to Plaid Cymru for greater support for Greens in England. For this reason they are overly-aggressive towards "the other".
This is not the only reason. In order to consider a joint ticket the Greens would need to want to save our digital environment with the same bravado that they do with our physical environment. Until that happens Pirates would be weighed down, dragging the Greens up to date. In my Bridgend constituency the Green Party candidate does not even have an Internet connection, which has harmed his own campaign by preventing him from signing the frack-free promise to Greenpeace. I am currently the only candidate out of 10 that has signed the pledge to oppose fracking in Bridgend.
So the choice is simple. Join a well-meaning but ultimately out of date Green Party or a party that isn't afraid of technology, a party that is at the frontier of politics, a party that wants complete and all encompassing freedoms in both the physical and digital world.
If net neutrality is important to you
If privacy is important to you
If the free and uninhibited access to knowledge is important to you
If you want to end mass surveillance
If dramatic increase in openness in government is important to you
Then like me, you are already Pirate.