As we start the New Year - we thought a Member's Update - looking at the Year past and the Year ahead was in order...
A Year in Review
So earlier in the Year we got our first Pirate representative in any level of government; 1st March 2016 (St David's Day) was when David Elston was co-opted onto the St Athan Community Council. He has been an effective advocate for Pirate policies on the council, in particular trying to increase the levels of transparency and openness to the local community.
In May, Andreas Habeland stood in a local council by-election in Westminster, getting a 0.8% vote share which is a good result from a standing start in a new area (City of Westminster). We also fielded three other candidates last year, one in Wales, one in England and one in Scotland.
While most party's membership is falling quickly, ours remained in a steady tolerance with approximately 525 members as we've managed to avoid the sharp drop offs after peaks like we had in 2010 and 2011. This goes a long way towards showing we're not a fad or flash in the pan party but are steadily making over-all gains.
Despite a current lack of people in leadership positions (see more below), the Party has continued pretty much "business as normal" - with blogposts and Press Releases coming out - and getting more people interested and involved - particularly following the success of the Pirates in Iceland.
Obviously for a small party like ours, the finances are always tight. While we are currently covering our running costs, our IT and other departments have been putting together a comprehensive plan to reduce the necessary budget to ensure that we have more money to spend on campaigns and 'promotion' rather than just 'keeping going'. Obviously we could always do with more money... so if you are unexpectedly feeling flush post Christmas the link to donate is here
Looking ahead for the Year and of most immediate note is that we have had a number of people express interest in standing for the NEC positions of Deputy Leader and Secretary. See here. As such Nominations are currently Open for these positions and Voting will start in a couple of weeks.
After that we are looking to field as many candidates as possible in the 2017 local elections, and where possible using that to get local branches started in as many places as possible across the country. If you are interested in standing as a candidate to your local council, then please do get in touch with our Nominations team
2017 will feature:
The first Glasgow/Scotland Pirate Party Branch, Clutha Vaults, 167 Stockwell Street, Glasgow G1 4SP. Thursday 12th January 7:30.
Regular online meetings for the Wales Branch with the first election for the Spokesperson for Wales; meetings currently anticipated for the first Monday of every month at 20:30 on Discord.
Internationally - There is a blogpost here about upcoming European Elections where Pirates are standing and we are looking to digitally support our sister parties where we can. The next national pirate election to watch out for is our Dutch friends in the Netherlands, with their election coming up in March. Let's give them all some well deserved support!
Of course, Free Speech remains one of our flagship policies as without it, we would not be able to continue to oppose the Digital Economy Bill, respond to the ECJ ruling on the Snooper's Charter and campaign on our core areas of copyright and patent reform, transparency in government, privacy from Government snooping and digital rights.
There are plenty of things that need doing - so please do get involved and help us continue to build the party over the next few months. The best way of doing this is to drop into our Discord chat where lots of people are on hand to say hello and make you welcome.