When I discovered The Pirate Party UK a couple of months ago, I thought it was going to be exciting and revolutionary new party for the people of the Internet. I completely agree with their goals, to drastically shorten the term of copyright, add fair use clauses to UK copyright law for personal copying, reform the patent system, abolish Crown Copyright, put an end to the evergreening of medical patents, prevent excessive monitoring and surveillance by companies and government and to promote freedom of speech and expression.
However, it turns out they’re just like the other parties. Here’s why I won’t be joining the PPUK any time soon:
After a Telegraph blogger made a reference to some childish remarks posted about Peter Mandelson which could be criticised as homophobic, PPUK’s leader Andrew Robertson performed a typical knee-jerk-reaction and posted an article stating that homophobia will not be tolerated in (the) party. This upset me, if I want to poke fun at Mandy for being gay then that’s my business, fascists. I can understand that the higher echelons of the party should be held to standards of political correctness, but to force ordinary members to adhere to standards of political correctness while not representing the party, when freedom of speech is a core value of the party, just stinks of hypocrisy. Whatever happened to I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it?
Another freedom of speech issue is that prominent members support the Obscene Publications Act and the new ban on cartoon pornography. If perverts want to write stories of sexual mutilation and murder, even if they include sex acts on babies, then this should be none of my business. I’d like to draw a lesbian stick-girl orgy set in a college, but these oppressive laws prevent me from exercising this freedom.
You'd better clear your cache just in case!
Finally, and this is the worst problem with PPUK, they have removed all political discussion from the public section of the forums, which means you have to pay your membership fee to express an opinion on policies. This is a step too far, it is a thinly disguised money grabbing policy which only alienates the public and stifles political debate. So much for a new, revolutionary, Internet based party for the people.
I seriously hope that someone forms a new and inclusive party, which actually practices the policies it preaches. Until that time I guess I’ll be voting Liberal Democrats.