The German Pirate Party has held a flashmob at Berlin’s Tegel airport, in response to its unquestioning adoption of new, intrusive body scanners after the abortive attempt to blow up the flight in Detroit at Christmas. And they’ve kindly shared their ‘fleshmob’ with the world:
(via Privacy International)
They suggest it’s about giving the impression of improved security – I would tend to agree but it’s not just a sop to public opinion. It’s a further, needless intrusion into the private realm of the individual for no need. If the intelligence agencies had done their job properly – Abdulmutallab’s father had alerted the American security services to his son’s behaviour for goodness’ sake – he would never have ended up on that plane. Why should the rest of us suffer yet further attacks on our privacy because ‘intelligence’ officials can’t do their jobs properly? Well done, Piratenpartei!
The German general election may be under a week away, but Germany’s young people have already started to vote, and they’ve voting for the Pirate Party in huge numbers:
The youth organization U18 aims to promote political awareness among the German youth and traditionally they hold their own election prior to that of the adults. This year the Pirate Party was one of the surprising winners.
This Friday more than 120,000 youngsters cast their votes at one of the U18 voting booths. Of these, a massive 8.72% voted for the Pirate Party that currently holds one seat in the German Parliament.
The result of this election is encouraging for the Pirates, who already had a great run at the European election earlier this year where they surpassed some of the established local parties in some districts.
“The outcome of this election shows us that young people recognize the importance of ‘having a vote’,” Pirate Party Charmain Jens Seipenbusch said. “The fact that many of them have chosen us, shows that young people find it important to defend their civil rights and that the Pirates tackle the crucial issues of the 21st century.”
The ‘real’ German federal election is scheduled for 27 September, and the Pirate Party hopes to gain a few dozen seats in the German Parliament so they can do something about increased Internet censorship and abuses of copyright by multi-billion dollar companies.
It remains to be seen whether they’ll actually win a few dozen seats or not, but the generational appeal of the Pirates is clear, at least in Germany. It’s an interesting trend to observe, whilst the Pirate Party UK continues to grow and find ways of differentiating itself from the other, smaller liberal parties:
We are not a party of careerist politicians like Labour or the Conservatives, who parachute in favoured candidates into their safest seats, irrespective of the fact that their candidate has hardly any connection with the people they are supposed to represent. Even the Greens have gone down that route, by handing their most winnable seat to their party leader. Unlike other parties with established hierarchies, PPUK needs popular and charismatic individuals to step forward, and not wait to be approached. Individuals with the skills, passion and commitment to convey the importance of pirate politics to a sometimes sceptical world cannot afford to wait for the party to find them or wait for a process to officially pick candidates, as we will only know where to fight based on the data we have. Likely candidates need to make themselves known and to come to the fore now, and to do so by building the local teams of supporters.
Britain however has a significant hurdle for the Pirate Party UK to overcome: the-first-past-the-post voting system. Germany has a proportional system which allows for the views of young people meaningfully to be represented; the same is not true in the UK. If young people in the UK really want their votes to start counting they’re going to have to start supporting campaigns like Vote for a Change, and insist that the voting system in the UK is changed to a truly proportional one, not simply an alternative vote system, which would retain most of the same flaws in representing votes meaningfully. Quite possibly very good news indeed for the Piratenpartei; the Pirate Party UK however has a far more complicated mountain to climb, and needs to pick its political battles with disproportionate consideration.
(via Glyn Moody)