In the weeks since the election, apart from getting something like a normal life back, I have been doing some reflecting on what comes next for me in politics.
I joined the Pirate Party on the back of a specific issue- the Digital Economy Act, and more generally to kick against the system. Which is fine for an activist. However, the experience of standing for election has changed me and my point of view. What the wider world has seen the least is the amount of time I've spent pounding the streets in Manchester in 6 elections in just 3 years.
I see daily child poverty, poor health outcomes, environmental damage, intolerable inequality in the city where I live. It's gutting to visit the same streets months and years later and still see the same houses boarded up, the same problems weighing people down.
This is why I championed a broadening of the manifesto. It was not just so we “looked sensible”. It's because I passionately believe in action on the issues I have seen around me.
The trouble is that my passion ended up confusing the voters this May. I was asked after hustings why I was fighting candidates with almost identical key issues. People could not see how my interests related to the Party mission. I have never had any problem articulating my political views. But I found why I was doing politics in the way I was doing it increasingly difficult to defend.
This is neither fair nor helpful to the party I have given so much energy to. It's clear my priorities have changed. So I must move on from the Pirate Party.
This is not to say I'm giving up on key campaigns. Actually, I'm looking forward to devoting more focused time on surveillance and the fight on the Investigatory Powers Bill. Stepping away from a party allegiance will make it easier for me to do this.
I must make clear my decision is not a criticism of Cris, the direction he has set out or the new NEC and Board. It's a very personal choice, a political “it's me, not you” if you will.
There is another factor. I must be honest that I have ceased to feel kinship with the wider international “Pirate movement”. There are a number of reasons for this. Perhaps it's just best to say its more obscure obsessions matter not a jot to voters on Weybridge Road.
This has not been an easy decision to make. I have literally given blood, sweat and tears. Just leafleting letter boxes can provoke all three. My biggest misgiving has been that I felt I might be letting down the small, but loyal group of people who have nominated me for elections and voted for me. But I think I can now best serve them, and address those issues I see around me, by seeking a new path.
I look forward to whatever comes next, and send all the best to all of you my friends in the party for what comes next for you too.