David A Elston

#WeArrSix (But don't sing the song!)

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If six years ago today the Party was born. If you had approached me and said “In six years, you will be the Deputy Leader of a political party, after running in the GE2015” I would have said “...then in six years I must have gone crazy!”.

Turns out I'm not crazy... but I am a Pirate.

Since 2009 we've seen Pirates elected all over the globe, most notiably in Sweden, Germany and Iceland. In the UK we've seen Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowdon be persued for exposing the truth of what Governments around the world are doing in secret. Net Neutrality has been attacked and our own party and leadership threatened when we created proxies to try and keep the net neutral. It's been a hard six year battle for Pirates everywhere.

Now we are seeing the Freedom of Information laws being reviewed. The Government has not learnt its lesson on keeping the public in the dark and wants to increase its secrecy. Not forgetting David Cameron now wants to censor our internet with “objectionable content” filters.

Labour and Greens both wrong on Rent

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So we heard on the 1st that Labour's new shadow chancellor, Chris Leslie is against rent controls and he's a Landlord.

Mr Leslie said the party's policy of limiting the speed of rent increases for tenants had upset people seeking to profit from housing by implying that fast rises were exploitative.

Well isn't that exactly because they are generally exploitative? Too many tenants have been lured into a seemingly reasonable 6 month tenancy agreement only to have their rent increased substantially shortly after the 6 months or they face eviction. It's almost always the easier option for the tenant to simply agree to the rent increase. There are of course, the first-timer Landlords who will rent a property out for substantially lower than market value and who, given 6 months of research may wish to increase that rent to the “proper” level but this should still be done so gradually, through the regulation of rent controls.

Yet in the Pirate Party there is a very different tune. Deputy Leader, David Elston and the Spokesperson for Wales is a Landlord but is instead a strong advocate for rent controls.

Mainsplaining - Green Party's Gendered Insults

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At a time of introspection, with new Leadership, Board and a whole variety of new faces mixing with the old, it's natural for a party to question if we are representing and speaking to all demographics.

When speaking to people, the Greens are usually thought of as the party for equality, especially around women's rights and social justice but it's not something I really ever agreed that they represented. In fact, I find them just as bad an extreme as UKIP when it comes to the equality balance, but in the other direction.

I have always found that the Greens are interested in focusing on specific groups as victims, rather than trying to achieve any real sense of equality and often veto justice or evidence and instead do what they morally feel is right.

A prime example; this image, which emerged after the Green Party Leader, Natalie Bennett attended the Glastonbury festival.

You need a new political party

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While the fury over the Conservative Government winning the election drives on; the disillusionment in politics will be ripe but thankfully we're seeing the opposite of that in the Pirate Party.

So many people are coming forward to make the Pirate Party stronger and with an even wider range of skills. What encourages me more than anything is that each of these new voices start by offering us something new. No one is clutching for power or to get their personal agenda in. So many are hearing the call to action and want to help make us a strong opposition to those out of date parties sat in Westminster.

With this in mind, I'd like to say a big welcome to all our new Pirates.

Not all parties are enjoying this success and we need to keep encouraging others to join us. So many good people thought the Liberal Democrats were the party for youth, for protecting students and for personal freedoms yet were monumentally betrayed when they finally got into Government. I say to these people, you need a new party.

Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone

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I was running through my head the number of people who helped make the Bridgend 106 a reality and thought to myself “I must thank them”. By the time I tallied them all up, a blog post seemed inevitable. So many people worked tirelessly to give Piracy a voice in our democracy.

Let's get started!

I think it would be pretty bold of me  to start a series of Thank-Yous without starting with Loz. As I have said before, you're the first leader of any party who I actually believed and who I could tell actually believed in what he was saying. You never once resigned to the tired old Westminster soundbites and despite everything, delivered you next sentence with a grace and cheer that gives our politics a sense of hope, something the other party leaders should really take note of. I've never seen a leader so approachable, even on the night of the count, you checked in with me down in Bridgend to make sure I, personally, was doing all right.

The Rise of the Welsh Pirates

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I'm about to show you just how huge 106 votes are. The first Pirate Pioneers in the UK did not always poll in triple figures, this time every candidate did... but before we get into that, let's reflect on what happened at The Count on election night for the first Welsh Pirate election, in Bridgend.

There is no denying there was always a strong undertone in Bridgend that “If we don't vote Labour then the Tories will get in” and many Pirate voters originally expressed the same concern to me. While Labour winning in Bridgend is certainly not a victory for us Pirates, it is undeniably better than having a parachuted in Conservative candidate, which is more than many other constituencies in the UK woke up to on the 8th. The incumbent MP also took the time to speak with me as did her son and I have been invited to talk about the Pirate Party at Bath University.

The Plaid Cymru Candidate had a really good 2,784 (7.1%) Vote, which is a 1.1% increase. James was also a very likeable person and we shared a laugh over how we both had long hair and unavoidably met the odd person that would always say “I can't vote for him, he needs a haircut”.

GE2015 - The Betrayal of the TUSC

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There were some truly inspiring moments at the count in Bridgend and some very discouraging signs from some of the other parties.

Perhaps this is where you would expect the presence of the National Front playing to their stereotype and causing fights or that a UKIP candidate made some ill-thought out remark. Instead the single most disheartening thing at the count for me was the TUSC.


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The answer to #WhyPirate is so obvious to me.

We understand politics are local: To the Daily Wales I explained that in Wales we want to see reform of the Welsh Language act to move to allowing Welsh to flourish instead of being protected and greater devolution to allow Wales to stand on it's own two feet. Powers to protect itself against against fracking and make decisions that are in Wales' best interest.

We understand looking outward can fix the inward problems: With Carter TV Interviews I explained our digital economy needs to come to Wales. By improving our broadband to European levels, it solves our over-population and congestion issues in cities and brings much needs jobs and revenue into Wales by allowing remote working or greater entrepreneurship.

Be the change you want to see

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Back in 2008 I worked for Swansea University in a department called DACE – Department of Adults Continuing Education. I lost this job. Government cuts saw to it that this department was closed. It was my first job, I was a website design assistant. It seemed such a huge injustice to work so long and hard in academia, from the age of 5 until 21 and graduate only to lose my first job in a matter of weeks. To add pressure, my son had just been born, so I had to find alternative employment quickly.

I remember feeling shocked but not just because my job was cut. The University lost many highly qualified and experienced staff, some holding PhDs, experienced lecturers and other valued support staff. There was the knock-on effect of the community centres in places like the Rhondda who leaned on Swansea's DACE for support, were now also going to suffer.

Why I'm not a Green

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...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: