Over the last few months it has been impossible to avoid that old battleground of British politics: Europe.
In the run up to the European Parliament elections our membership of the European Union is being discussed all over the country. We've seen statements issued, arguments laid out and promises made, yet there is still seems to be confusion about where various parties stand, and whether they will still be standing there in six months time....
No one should be confused about our position within the Pirate Party though. Quite simply:
- We want a referendum on the UK's membership of the EU.
- We do not want the UK to join the Eurozone or use the Euro.
We need a referendum because our membership of that block has an impact on our lives, work and opportunities within the UK in a way that us very different to when we joined the EC. We need a referendum because people deserve a say and our party believes in democracy. We need a referendum because the debate will give us a better idea of what we want in the future and the momentum we need to make radical changes to the EU. We need a referendum because it is long overdue.
This isn't a new position, this isn't a recent decision, it has been our position for as long as we have had a full manifesto.
As a party we support continued membership of the EU, but it is past time for positive change. It is time to make the partnership reflect the wishes of Europe's people. That means renegotiating how the EU works - its far more than just 'repatriating powers'. It is high time the British people have their say, and an EU on the people's terms.
It not about being euro-sceptic, it's about being sceptic of power full stop. For too long those who want vital progressive change in Brussels have allowed the debate to be hijacked by fruitcake xenophobia. In the Pirate Party we are not afraid of public debate. We want to see the UK as a vital part of a new more democratic people's EU.
We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to make a real difference to the direction of a union that should be a benefit to hundreds of millions of people. We can set a direction for the largest economic block in the world, and make sure everyone gets their fair share in it. We can't waste that opportunity out of fear that it might not please everyone, but instead aim to convince as many people as possible of what is right.
It is sad then that far from ending speculation, the Labour Leader wants to condemn us to years more of factional fighting and UKIP sniping on the EU issue. The nature of our relationship to the EU has dogged British politics for decades. It is time to confront this head on, it is cowardice to hope the whole thing might go away if we ignore it.
So if you have the opportunity to vote for the Pirate Party you know where we stand, you will know what our candidates will stand for.