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Leadership

Morning Everyone,

I was alarmed to receive an e-mail last week confirming how close the party came recently to going out of existence in the UK and the contents of this memo were enough to shake me out of my inertia. I think that in many ways the Pirate Party is an idea whose time has come and so it would be particularly ironic if the Pirates were to disappear just as a degree of extreme fluidity was being injected into the British political scene. The UK political scene is dominated by parties who insist on either defining themselves on left-right-centre terms or else defining themselves by way of particular interests, intersectionality in the case of the Womens Equality Party, environmentalism in the case of the Greens, nationalism in the case of the SNP and Plaid Cymru. The two parties less obviously on the left/right scale have both missed the chance to present something different to the electorate. The Lib Dems by taking the decision to place themselves firmly in the 'centre' following Jeremy Corbyn's victory rather than explore their more interesting liberal and social libertarian ideas and UKIP by purely playing to the 'lowest common denominator' and adopting populist policies designed to play on peoples fears and prejudices purely for the purpose of garnering votes. For those in the, I would say, modern electorate, then, what are the options for those looking for a progressive, participatory form of politics looking to engage in consensus politics that is radical but refuses to conform to or create its own ideology. I think everyone reading this forum knows that the Pirate Party occupies this space.

Over the years I have become disillusioned with mainstream party politics. Like our former leader Loz Kaye I started my political journey in Labour and left the party at about the same time he did. Unlike him I then joined the Greens and spent 15 years in the party becoming a local councillor and running for parliament twice. Most recently I have until 2014 been a member and then Deputy Leader of RESPECT before leaving mainly due to the total deficit of democracy within that organisation, as well as some pretty major policy differences. I wouldn't have had a problem if those policies had come up from the grassroots membership but they didn't, they were largely dictated down by the 'triumvirate of influence' that runs that party, 2 out of the 3 being unelected. The job of a party's leadership is, in my opinion, to communicate and explain the policies decided by the membership and, of course, to lead. It is not to instigate and drive personal policy agendas, or at least no more so than any other member of the party has the right to do so. So to cut a long story short I left and since then have been watching politics more as an observer as I undertake a Politics and International Development degree with the Open University, whilst also working full-time.

Like everyone else in the world (seemingly) I do of course have no free time. However I am prepared to create some space in my diary and to set about attempting to revive, or indeed to create, some interest in the Pirates and to take them to a level commensurate with the undoubted interest levels in wider society of what the party has to offer. With that in mind I am prepared to offer myself forward for the vacant post of party leader and to seek out a seconder for the role from this forum. As I've said earlier in a democratic party like the Pirates I see the role of Leader as being more of a facilitator and communicator with policy very much driven by the membership. I bring a fair degree of communication skills to the table having previously been a professional actor, journalist and broadcaster (all of this work carried out under my Equity name of Dave Edler). Having previously been in a leadership position of a small political party (and for 6 months as Acting Leader) I know both the constraints and the opportunities that this presents if the democratic and operating frameworks are right. As my area of specialism was election strategy and organisation, something I helped with in the Greens, I can also put in place strategies that will begin to form the basic frameworks necessary for electoral success in the longer term future.

I obviously have a lot more to say but this is my opening gambit, so to speak. If anyone would like a more personal discussion then please indicate and I will facilitate this on whatever platform you would prefer. Pirates are generally good at boarding and making the most of sinking ships and so maybe this is the most opportune time to be wearing the Captain's hat.

Best Regards

Dawud Islam
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Comments

  • Hi Dawud,

    Thank you for being shaken from your inertia :smile:

    We do desperately need new members to come forward interested in leading the Party, as such you doing that is exactly what is needed! I hope you're not the only one!!

    It would be good to see some others doing so both for the other roles and also for the same role you're interested in - healthy competition being a good thing :smiley:

    Given I don't actually know you. I don't feel comfortable just immediately seconding you - but I encourage you getting involved nonetheless as that is the ideal way to get known to your fellow members of the Party (actions are better than words after all :wink: )

    Over the next one-to-two weeks I and others on the Board will be sorting out access to our bank account and paying some of our most immediate bills. After that we'll be focusing on getting some of the essential Party external functions operational e.g. the press team.

    If you are to become Leader of the Party you will become a spokesperson for us and while your views won't necessarily reflect those of everyone else in the Party you'll understand that the members will want to be comfortable with most of the views you'll reflect as Leader.

    As such it would be nice if you were to write about your views, with respect to the Party's stronger policy areas as well as areas we have no direct policy. That gives us a chance to see what you believe and also gives you the opportunity to advertise yourself to the members. You can, as any member can, use the Party blog for this.

    Additionally if there are any issues of the day that crop up that you want to respond to you may wish to offer up your views. These might help us put out press releases or just get a better insight in to your politics.

    All the above goes to any and all other members interested in getting involved :smiley:
  • edited February 2016
    Thanks for your reply and here are some brief personal views:

    Health & The NHS: The NHS should be free at the point of use and prescription fees in England should be scrapped as in Scotland and Wales. All creeping privatisations should be ended and rolled back. Car Parking should be free at all hospitals, money should not be made (sometimes huge amounts) from people visiting a relative daily for several months. Mental health should be given parity of esteem and funding compared to other branches of healthcare. However most fundamental of all we currently have a National Sickness Service rather than what the title suggests. Hardly any money is spent on preventative measures that could save the NHS millions if not billions. The whole emphasis needs to change to one of a focus on preventing illness from happening and on encouraging citizens to empower themselves to make sensible health choices and to adopt healthy eating and exercise patterns.

    Transport: Railways should be re-nationalised as part of an integrated transport policy, although for this to happen reform will be necessary at EU level which could prove difficult if we remain in the EU. At present private companies have a mandatory right to bid for franchise tenders. Transport should be better subsidised, especially low usage routes that are vital for marginalised constituents. London should re-introduce a new 'Fares Fair' scheme similar to that introduced by Ken Livingstone in the 1980's.

    Welfare: Britain should move towards a Citizens Income Scheme, an idea whose time has come. With advances in artificial intelligence the workforce will change dramatically over the next 20 years with many current roles becoming redundant. Home based work needs to replace the daily commute with a shorter working week and a better life/work balance. Workfare should be scrapped as should the benefits cap. Society should recognise that there are many ways to contribute to it that do not take the form of traditional types of 'work' but that are nevertheless beneficial to the cultural wellbeing of the country. The minimum wage should be raised in line with the 'real' living wage (not George Osborne's) and should be open to all ages. Retirement should be optional but pensions should be available for all from 65. Council tax should be scrapped and replaced with a more re-distributive system but not a mansion tax.

    Foreign Policy: As a matter of course the 'default' position should be not to engage in foreign wars unless there is a direct threat of imminent attack on Britain (by conventional means, not by terrorist activity). Trident should be scrapped. Foreign aid should be kept at current levels but better directed. All efforts on the world stage should be aimed at conflict resolution and the eradication of hunger and poverty. The west should not seek to impose its own moral code on societies with democratically elected governments that choose a different way of living. The Asylum process should be quick, open and transparent with a desire to help and accommodate being the default position. Yarls Wood and other detention centres should be shut.

    Workers Rights: The trade union reform bill should be scrapped and some previous legislation rolled back. There is no desire to return to the disputes of the 1970's but the balance has been shifted far too much in the governments favour and trade unions and their members need to have many of their basic rights restored. Facility time for trade union officials must be enshrined in any new legislation. The gap between male and female achievement both in raw wages terms but also in achieving positions of influence in FTSE 100 companies needs to be addressed.

    Education: Tuition Fees should be scrapped and lifetime learning should be available for everyone. The internet should be available for free in every household. Education policy should be at the centre of government with every child and adult able to and encourage to achieve their full potential.

    Business and Taxation: The whole approach to taxation needs to be re-examined with a more re-distributive system introduced that nonetheless should not discourage entrepreneurship and innovation. Funding for micro businesses should be widely available and the number of co-operatives should rise dramatically. Britain should lead the way in innovation and developing a new economy to meet the needs of a new 21st century society. Corporation Tax should rise slightly but more important is the closing of tax loopholes and the cultivation of a 'new deal' with business and industry that rewards companies for their transparency over corporate taxation with lower rates than those that conceal and try and hide funds offshore.

    Culture & The Arts: These areas have been ignored for years by government and the country's provincial theatre network has almost disappeared as a result. The acting profession has become the almost exclusive preserve of those with money with virtually no working class students at the top 15 British drama schools. Discretionary grants need to be re-introduced to enable talented actors to train regardless of their means. Funding for small scale theatre, both static and touring, needs to be re-introduced with childrens theatre also funded and valued. Community based arts projects should be given more prominence and incentives for British Film re-introduced including tax breaks. Communities should be encouraged to explore new definitions of 'British Identity' in our multi-cultural society and all British born citizens should be valued equally as Britons regardless of their generational backgrounds.

    Freedom and Rights: Keep and enhance the Human Rights Act and resist all attempts to limit freedom of information and to introduce surveillance and covert measures. Absolute freedom of speech including the freedom to offend and to be offended. However legislation needs to be introduced to prevent and police hard core 'trolling' on social media platforms. An end to 'no platforming' and a recognition that disagreeable opinions can better be challenged in open debate. After years of being denied platforms and at the same time rising in popularity it was the appearance of the BNP's leader on BBC Question Time that very hastily led to the complete collapse of that party. Deny people a platform and they become victims and martyrs.

    EU: For me, the jury is still out on this one. Ask me again in a couple of months!!

    Scottish Independence (or anywhere else): Nations are a political construct. If the inhabitants of a particular geographical area want to organise and govern themselves in a different way, and a majority agree in a democratic format (i.e without physical force or compulsion) then they should have the right to do so.

    Digital Rights: As per the PPUK current policy.

    Environment & Climate Change: The attacks on the 'green agenda' must be reversed and rolled back. New investments and incentives in renewables should be introduced.

    Democracy and Citizen Empowerment: Votes at 16. PR using either the STV or additional member systems for all levels of government. A youth parliament with representation at Westminster. A 'mature parliament' for the over 65's also with representation at Westminster. Moving the House of Commons to a central location in a new purpose built chamber with the original still used for certain ceremonies for tradition and tourism. Genuine recall for MP's. Local and national referenda on a range of subjects and policy areas. An opportunity for citizens to introduce private bills into parliament. Online consultations with the public mandatory for certain policy areas including decisions to go to war.

    This is all off the top of my head so feel free to ask questions about any policy areas I've left out. And of course to re-iterate that these are only MY views and I would be happy to represent party policy regardless of whether it conflicts with above.

    Dawud
  • Hello Dawud

    Thanks for coming forward. The party certainly needs more active members right now.

    I see you stood in Bradford West against George Galloway. What was it that caused you to leave the Greens and join Respect? A conversation with George on the night of the count perhaps?

    A consistent problem I've found in the pirate party is there are those, who from experience have found that a huge proportion of constituents care more about the minimum wage, nhs, economy... fuel prices and the sort while our key demographic is more concerned about copyright, openness, civil liberties and so on.

    If we talk about our core policies, it's harder to connect with the general public and get attention from the media, thus our impact is small.

    If we talk about a broader set of policies and respond when asked for comment on hot-but-less-pirate-related topics, our main supporters are discontent with our "not focusing on our core policies enough".

    I've personally been at a loss on how to satisfy both groups simultaneously.

    Would your experience offer any solution to this?

    As a side question, what was it like to meet Howling Laud Hope? I've had some small conversations with Alan, he seems a super nice guy... and hilarious.
  • Hi. Yes Howling Laud Hope (and his entourage) brought a lot of light and hilarity to a pretty serious evening with Labour having to go cap in hand to Ed Miliband and explain to him how they had managed to lose by over 10,000 votes a seat that they had told HQ was 'in the bag' two days earlier.

    In terms of George and RESPECT I suppose, like a lot of people when they first meet him, I was impressed with the passion of his campaign and his oratory in the debates and in terms of the issues on the ground that he was addressing in Bradford West I was in full agreement with him. It was clear that we had been in agreement on a lot of issues and about 10 days into the campaign George's people approached me to sound me out about joining them after the election. I asked them to come back to me once the election was over which they did. As the result had been so decisive and because of a lot of engagement from young people in the campaign and, for the first time ever, by large numbers of young muslim women, I saw it as an opportunity to end Labour's hegemony in the City where the party had a reputation for running corrupt and dirty politics, something that persists to this day. So I joined but was vetoed for a winnable seat by Party leader Salma Yaqoob who felt it was wrong that someone who had just run against the party should be given one of the top 6 targets. One of those was the ward I actually lived in and by a huge dose of irony the party messed up its nomination for the ward and had no candidate in a seat they would almost certainly have won. I still fought a strong campaign in my 'difficult' ward gaining over 700 votes and coming in just behind the Tories in third. I then stood for the RESPECT National Council (NC) at the party's AGM and was elected topping the poll ahead of activists who had been in the party for years. When Salma resigned as leader I ran as deputy alongside Arshad Ali and we were both elected as the new leadership team. Shortly after Arshad had to resign after allegations in the Guardian and so I assumed the role of Acting Leader for 6 months until Yvonne Ridley took over. My brief was head of elections, branch development and organisation.

    In terms of presentation I think that you lead with what makes you unique and so I would always start a debate or interview with a few words about the PPUK core agenda. In the same way that Labour found at the last election that you can't 'out-UKIP UKIP' by coming on strong about immigration we are not going to win over socialists or environmentalists when there are currently much strong political 'brands' out there for their niches. So first you consolidate your (small) base and reach out to those who would naturally be attracted to your unique message. Having established your uniqueness you then go strong on the 'normal' main policy areas like Health, Education, Housing and the Economy to show that you are not a 'one trick pony'. It took the Greens years to learn this lesson and it was really only at the 2015 general election that they were seriously considered as a party that covered more than just environmental issues for the first time. I'm not saying this stuff is easy, it most certainly isn't, but you are absolutely right in saying you have to find that balance.

    To end on an optimistic note I would argue that recent electoral developments in Scotland, the rUK, Europe and the US show that people everywhere are very similar and the public mood is searching for change, both on the far right and far left. In many European countries the Pirate message has resonated and has proved very popular. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that many people in the UK share the exact concerns of their European cousins and that a PPUK message could resonate with a large constituency if the message can be got out effectively. Despite first past the post there is still plenty that can be done and achieved and seats at a local level can certainly be won.
  • Thanks Dawud, very useful.
  • edited February 2016
    Hello Dawud

    It's always good to see new people here, and you certainly have a wealth of experience in politics, both internal and public-facing. I feel we may have something in common, as I too once had a public falling out with Mr Galloway, however mine was on Big Brother's Big Mouth (hey, I had to get TV experience somewhere!). As you mention, we are in a similar situation to the Greens, in that we are stepping away from our single-issue roots and trying to establish our credentials as a party with a fully rounded manifesto. As a former party leader, I can attest to the fact that we are a long way from achieving this, which leads to my question for you:

    As Pirate Party Leader, the vast majority of media coverage and press interest you'll get will be around copyright, patent and surveillance issues. As a former equity member I expect the public would assume you would actually be a copyright maximalist, opposed to our policies. Would you feel well versed enough in current IP law to argue the case for shorter copyright, legalising file sharing or introducing patent reform, and are these things you feel passionately about?
  • Hi Andy. I fully support the PPUK aspiration to have copyright law reduced to ten years. Whilst running a theatrical agency with my ex wife we were constantly thwarted in our efforts to stage showcases promoting our actors because of copyright issues and a lot of our promising up and coming recent drama school graduates were held back because of this. We did still stage our own productions to an invited audience of industry contacts but it would have been much easier if we didn't have to consider the copyright implications of everything first. I certainly feel very strongly about this issue. In an internet age freedom of information is paramount and I am also totally supportive of mandatory free broadband for everyone as well as measures to ensure access to the disabled and disadvantaged. I am completely against all forms of surveillance and restrictions on encryption as well as any rolling back of the Freedom of Information act or the Human Rights Act. I support strengthening digital rights. I support the efforts of our German MEP to introduce EU wide legislation on copyright to simplify the rules, although this obviously needs to go a lot further than the timeframes proposed. It is, however, a start and if achieved shows what can still be accomplished even with one elected representative if he/she works in a collaborative way.
  • Thanks Dawud for engaging in this discussion and being good natured about the grilling you're getting. It's a difficult conversation as we try to get to know you and get a feeling for personal style and so on.

    In the spirit of continuing the conversation, I wonder whether you can tell us about any aspects of current PPUK policy that worry you. What would you feel uncomfortable about defending to the Press (or your friends and family ;-) and what would you hope you could persuade the membership to change?

    I'd also be interested to know where you draw the line between increased State involvement (for example to provide health service, offer free broadband, run a nationalised rail service) and minimised State "interference" in the lives of citizens. The Party seems (to me) to navigate difficult waters between an interventionist, socialist approach and a strong libertarian leaning.

    Sorry, this all feels like you're already on the hustings for an election!

    Thanks,
    Adrian
  • Thanks Adrian, that's not a problem, I suppose it is really a hustings of sorts. One of the reasons I put myself forward was because I agreed almost word for word with the 2015 PPUK general election manifesto. If I had to pick an area that I think is tricky for Pirates then it would be euthanasia. Without a trustworthy government overseeing the policy (and there aren't many of them!!) I feel it could easily be abused. Take a situation where an elderly citizen is in hospital and has outlived all of their living relatives (my wife works in care homes and has seen this scenario many times). They could easily have pressure put on them to sign the papers 'in everyone's best interests' to free themselves from pain and more importantly from the hospital's point of view free up the bed. I think once we go down that road we start down a very slippery slope and I am yet to be convinced that a system could be devised that would not prevent such happenings. If such powers were in the hands of the current government I'd be worried if anyone entering hospital over the age of 80 would come out alive!! I do of course agree with the general principle of empowering the individual to make that decision themselves.

    Your final point is a dilemma for both Pirates and Orange Book Liberals. I agree with the general liberal principle that the job of the state is to facilitate the existence of a society that allows individuals to do whatever they like as long as their actions don't cause harm to others. For this to happen they need to have access to good health, access to good education (including via free internet access) and the ability to travel to achieve their ambitions. So in the case of the three examples you quoted state intervention can easily be justified as providing a means to an end of personal freedom for the individual. Once you move towards intervention in areas such as creating parity of wages you start to tread on more dodgy ground particularly if you start to impose upper earnings limits, something I wouldn't personally be in favour of. I do support introduction of the living wage, though, as again that would be another empowerment to provide the freedom for a life beyond mere existence.

  • Hi Dawud,

    Politically, how did you get from Respect to the Pirate party?
  • Hi Adrian,

    I think the Green and RESPECT positions on freedom of information, civil rights, surveillance and so on would be very similar to those of PPUK although neither party (particularly RESPECT) had a developed policy on the PPUK key agenda around digital rights and copyright issues. In terms of George himself I think a lot of people make the mistake of thinking of him as a Trotskyist or at least a Marxist but from my experience he was very wary about even using the term 'socialist' to describe himself, preferring 'progressive'. RESPECT is/was really a progressive social democratic party and I would say on most policy areas was to the right of where Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell want to take Labour now, with a few exceptions. It was the exceptions that I didn't sit entirely comfortably with, although my main reasons for leaving as mentioned in an earlier post on this thread was because of the total deficit of democracy within RESPECT. I would happily give more concrete examples in a more private setting.
  • I suppose "progressive" could be (and is) used by just about anyone to the right of the Tories and to the left of full communists.

    I wasn't so much thinking about your specific reasons for leaving Respect, which as you said earlier, were more to do with organisational differences than political ones, but more in terms of your personal political trajectory. Are you saying that Respect and the Pirates occupy roughly the same political space?
  • Dear dawud,
    Welcome aboard our ship, you certainly have a keen pen to say the least, and your input towards debate appears to be exquisite. However, from experience, a new person coming to a [fringe] party and 'offering' to become leader immediately rings alarm bells! Whilst your political pedigree hails from the labour / green / respect camps, in yourself as the figurehead, PP would simply become another socialist 'alternative' to the other socialist alternatives! Granted, PP, like the greens, would need policy expansion to grow, bleating on about Nationalising the Railways, saving the NHS, taking sides [too late now] on the EU, does show how keen you are on one hand, but at risk of boring our core support into a corner methinks? PP's core values should always be at the forefront and not buried under piles of socialist dogmatism.
    I've no doubt that you'll be a 'known' name soon enough, let's hope that there're still enough shipmates to sail this vessel...

    Bluebird
  • Taking Adrian first, I agree that although I am guilty myself of using the term 'progressive' on my Twitter profile it has now become a cliché and almost meaningless. I think what PPUK and RESPECT have in common is that they are both 'disruptors' in a political sense. Neither party wants politics to continue as normal nor do the vast majority of the public. I don't think the two parties occupy the exact same space but RESPECT did evolve from its original far left roots (as a coalition including the SWP) into a very different fish after the split and by the time I joined it was something of a hybrid with some still very 'left wing' positions but on the other hand a very pro-business attitude that was definitely to the right of Ed Miliband's positioning. I think my own personal political philosophy is closer to old style liberalism (i.e. pre the merger with the SDP) than anything else but like PPUK there are areas where I veer off from an obvious left, right or centre position and I think that is exactly the point. These are old definitions requiring subscription to a whole ideological set of policies that you have to sign up to 'en bloc' and that is what we have to move away from towards a more participatory form of democracy with initiatives such as the crowd sourcing of the last manifesto.

    Turning to Bluebird, who might first be interested to know that I was a season ticket holder for the final season at Ninian Park (whilst living in Barry) but I digress. It is interesting what you say because in the wake of Salma Yaqoob's resignation from RESPECT George asked us at an NC meeting what qualities we should look for in a new leader and my response was to say that anyone who touts themselves for the position is almost certainly NOT the person that we are looking for!! I was not going anywhere near this position and had ignored all previous e-mails calling for nominations. However it was only in response to the 'last chance saloon' e-mail that came round last week that I realised how desperate the situation had become and in the absence of anyone else showing interest I decided to throw my hat into the ring to try and preserve what I think is still a very important and unique political party. In terms of definition it is vital that PPUK doesn't define itself as anything!! The minute we put ourselves into a box we are finished and remove the reason for our existence, our uniqueness. I think 'disruptive' is probably the best adjective to describe us as and whilst almost any sane person would subscribe to the policies you mentioned earlier the fact that we also include them in our manifesto is purely to demonstrate that we are not a 'single issue' party and have the same wide agenda as everyone else. As I have said before we absolutely should lead on the PPUK core policies and all our press releases should be providing commentary on events or decisions that impact on our core agenda. That is certainly where I see our 'action' as being at but at the same time we do still need to have policies on 'normal' policy areas as well.
  • Dear Dawud,
    Leaving aside the obvious football intonation and south Wales, yes, I concur, core values first [as in its Swedish parent model], other add-ins afterwards. Don't get too Biblical with your script [there are reams already from yourself], just stick to the point. How long have you actually been a PP member just out of interest?

    Bluebird
  • It says 1 year 11 months on my account settings which would make it around April 2014 that I registered but I seem to remember it being after the local elections that year, could be wrong. I have been expansive as most people know very little about me but as a rule I believe in straight talking and agree brevity is best.
  • I have a question myself. Can someone explain why some of the major Pirate Parties (including PPUK) all resigned from Pirate Parties International last year? I have obviously seen the brief report that appeared on the website but wondered if someone could expand on the reasons as international co-operation is obviously usually a good thing?
  • Dear Dawud,
    Agreed, they [PP] know little about myself also, so this little oxymoron tete - a - tete of ours could just expand itself into the Leadership / Deputy Leadership contests eventually {?}. I had thought about the DL last year, but was put off by faceless trolls! This party certainly needs an injection of something...Let the contest warm up. I am of the centre right persuasion.

    Bluebird

    P.S. My membership has been 3 Years & 3 Months, so just after the London Olympics I started with PP.
  • I'd encourage you to put yourself forward and a leadership pairing that leaned in different directions of the old left-right labels would probably be a good thing for the party. (i.e myself more to the left and yourself, as you say, centre right)
  • Dawud,

    I don't want to get into splitting fine hairs over specific political definitions on which we might or might not agree. What I'm interested in, as I said, your personal political trajectory. In other words, the changes in your political outlook between 2014 when you left Respect and today.

    It's usual for people's views and attitudes to change over time. Often our views evolve slowly, while at other times we can experience sudden and dramatic changes of perspective. Whether rapid or gradual, these changes come about as a result of a series of events and our corresponding insights into those events.

    I assume that your political perspective has shifted between the time you were in Respect and today. So what events and insights have brought about that change?
  • Adrian, I suppose in particular I've been interested in new ways to do democracy as the old methods haven't delivered anything decent for years. I realised after leaving RESPECT that I didn't really have a connection with any mainstream (or even other fringe) party operating today. To be honest I was quite disillusioned with politics for a year or so and didn't really engage much at all with the 2015 general election campaign other than by following it online and on TV. The SNP whitewash and the Corbynista movement made me realise that there is still a massive appetite for real grassroots change and since moving up to Scotland last June I have been re-invigorated politically and go to two or three different events a week. So there wasn't really a 'Eureka' moment it just slowly dawned on me that your approach offered the best way to develop a genuinely participatory grassroots form of democracy. The tens of thousands of new Labour members, for example, will quickly realise that they will have almost no input into that party and a lot of them will soon be disillusioned. If we can offer them something that is genuinely vibrant, disruptive and transparent then that is one potential source of recruits as are the old school liberals who deserted the party during the coalition. So, to cut a long story short, the changes are really about how I think politics needs to be done more than anything else. The 2015 election was a watershed in that it exposed for all to see the size of our democratic deficit with only 24% of registered voters electing a majority government. That stat alone is enough to shake anyone out of their inertia. I know my answer is more boring than if I'd had a dramatic moment of enlightenment but I'm afraid its accurate.
  • ThyPirateDaveThyPirateDave South Wales
    edited March 2016
    Regarding PPI resignation:

    I was on the Board of Governors at the time this decision was taken. It was taken by a huge majority.

    The reasons vary - for me personally there were questions around how they conducted their finances that to this day have gone unanswered by PPI. There were also some concerns over what we considered to be a lack of democratic process and the location of the meetings exclusively being held in Germany.

    However perhaps more relevant to joe bloggs member, we took the approach that you should be a member of something as long as it is useful. PPI was no longer useful to PPUK and instead was taking up our NEC's time in a far greater degree than we were benefitting from PPI.

    I think we, as a party, take this approach with everything and it will no doubt play some part in how we stand on the EU referendum.
  • I concur Drowz0r.
    Bluebird
  • Dawud,

    That's interesting. Thanks.

    Surveillance is a big area of focus for the party. You said earlier that you are "completely against all forms of surveillance". Could you expand on that?
  • I completely oppose the Snoopers Charter. Everyone should have the right to communicate in private with warrants to monitor comms only granted in extreme circumstances as part of a transparent process. No limits on encryption. Innocence presumed as in all other areas of law.
  • ThyPirateDaveThyPirateDave South Wales
    edited March 2016
    Personally I'm not entirely against all forms of surveillance. My understanding is the party is against the mass surveillance of innocent people - and we should move to a court order based system whereby if someone is found to be a suspect or guilty, they can be monitored but not baselessly, as we have now.

    In the same way we want huge copyright reform but don't want to just remove copyright completely.

    It's an important distinction and an angle far easier to argue.

    Could you clarify on that? Are we at odds? I sometimes find myself guilty of saying "I'm completely against X" when I mean "I'm completely against our current X". It's only a small slip but it can be costly when in front of a camera or on the radio.
  • On copyright I agree that there should still be a period where creators of works can earn from them and this period should be somewhere in the region of 10-15 years and I certainly wouldn't go any lower than 10. I also agree that there are some instances where surveillance is justified and this should be available with a warrant. However I used the phrase 'in extreme circumstances' as there has to be a genuine reason to suspect them of an offence. At the moment there is a lot of surveillance of 'suspects' because they 'go to the wrong mosque' for example and clearly it is this type of unwarranted intrusion that I am against and which in any case is counter-productive and stigmatizes whole communities to the extent that if they do see something they think might be suspicious then they are less likely to come forwards. I have worked closely with the Asian communities in both Bradford and Rochdale and have plenty of evidence to support that last point.
  • You seem interesting, Dawud. I don't know how soon anyone will second you into running for leader, but I don't see any major reasons as yet to object. Now, these are not yet ideas being put into policy as they are basically my opinions offered up for discussion as potential suggestions for the next crowdsourcing, but since we're all here asking you questions, what do you think to my threads in the Policy Discussion part of the forum, about the City of London and about Parliament?
  • @Drowz0r The rule is never to make a broad-brush statement. Ever. ;)
  • Dawud, I also like the potential to bridge traditionally separated community groups that you appear to hold. It can be a tricky thing to appeal to disparate sets of people at the same time. So I trust you're all for a fully inclusive multicultural way forward that allows for the celebration and inclusion of traditional cultural aspects from the Celts to the present day, and of all who have come to join these isles since and who continue to over time?
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