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Standing for Election - A Political Party, not a Campaign Group
One of the key things about being a political party, rather than just a campaign group - is that we can stand for election. This is really important as we believe that change can only truly occur by changing those who hold elected power, rather than simply by campaigning for them to change the law.
As a political party we know that we have a long way to go - but we can see from the experience of our international colleagues across Europe that it can be done, and that Pirates, when elected, can make a real difference to the communities which they serve. We want to be able to do that here in the UK as well.
We also know that we won't get there overnight - it takes a long time to build a political 'brand' in the UK - it has taken the Greens 40 years to get a single MP for example. One of the ways of building that Pirate brand is to stand in as many elections as possible - it means that people start to see the Pirate logo on their ballot paper, and journalists will remember to ask the party for comments on appropriate topics. Whenever there is an election the biggest criticism that we receive at the moment is 'why aren't you standing in my area'.
What we need is many more people willing to stand up and say 'I'm a Pirate - and this is what we stand for'. I can understand why people are reluctant to put themselves forward - it can be intimidating putting yourself up for election, and it can be disheartening when you put in lots of work and effort and then see just a trickle of votes as a somewhat scant reward. Equally, we have been doing this for a few years now, and I believe that we are more able to support potential candidates from the centre than we have done in the past.
We also know that we can't possibly influence people, let alone be elected if we are not even on the ballot paper! If standing as a candidate is something that you think that you could do - then get in touch with the nominations team, or look at the various Elections pages on the website to find out more.
There is a set schedule for national elections in the UK, with the first Thursday in May being the traditional 'election day'. There is a 4 or 5 year cycle with some elections every year nad some only intermittently. Also, there are different deposit (financial cost) requirements of different elections, and different restrictions on who can stand and vote for each of these. It is the responsibility of the Nominations Team to know all of these details and communicate them to the NEC and potential candidates, so please do get in touch if you have any questions or want to help prepare candidates by being an election agent or similar.
- May 2017 - (some) Local Council Elections nationally
- May 2018 - (some) Local Council Elections nationally
- May 2019 (usually moved to June) - European Parliament Elections + Local Elections
- May 2020 - UK Parliament General Election
Of course, a snap General Election has been called for June 2017. This has thrown all of the careful planning into chaos and sent all of the political parties scurrying to prepare manifestos and select candidates.
Additionally, there are by-elections (elections to fill vacancies that occur mid-term due to resignation, death etc.) periodically throughout the year as well and these can potentially provide an opportunity for a smaller party to stand and get some publicity with the media having a single focus.
Historically we have been held back more by a lack of candidates than by a lack of funds, (Although obviously if you are looking to donate money to the party it'd never go amiss...)