As the title suggests, this post is my nomination for the position of Campaigns Officer for Pirate Party UK.
I’m a relatively new face to the party; I’ve been a Pirate Party UK voter and member for around 18 months.
This year I became more involved, becoming campaign manager for Cris Chesha – Gorton Candidate (full disclosure: Cris is also my partner). It became a joint decision to work as a team in Gorton because if one of us weren’t to stand in the Gorton constituency, no one would be able to vote Pirate in that area.
Although I’ve always had an interest in politics, it’s never been so strong that I’ve wanted to be involved. I’ve always felt that politics wasn’t a place for me. It seemed so bureaucratic and complicated, but the Pirate Party changed that for me. I talk more about that on my #whypirate blog here
. (#whypirate was one of my campaign ideas while working on the 2015 campaign). So why do I want to stand for this position?
I’ve always been an activist. I feel I can bring my experience and skills to something that can make a difference – something tangible. From helping a Community Interest Company build a website, running events helping social enterprises or just general volunteering, I’ve always found time outside of my job to input to causes I believe in. But they’ve been so disparate and opportunistic, making me feel like I could be concentrating my efforts to make more of a difference.
After working on the Gorton campaign, attending the count and generally being much more involved with the party over the last few months, I’m not frightened of politics any more; the Pirate Party covers so many of the issues I feel passionate about including freedom and human rights issues, but also preserving society. And really importantly, we do it in an accessible way: one that not only makes me feel I can get involved, but also that I have the right to be involved. I want to help more people feel this way.And what can I bring to the role?
I’ve worked in the digital industry for nearly 10 years after switching from a job in avionics engineering, via a Design Management degree at Salford University. During my career I’ve mainly worked in marketing and research covering SEO, social media, PR, content marketing but I’ve also more widely taken a strategic role in projects concerning new technology, marketing and web and app builds. I’ve worked with quite a few well-known, ‘blue chip’ corporations. For the past four years I’ve also moonlighted as an associate lecturer at both Salford Uni and Manchester Metropolitan University in branding, marketing, events and digital marketing.
Over the years, I started to really struggle with the conflict between my personal ethics, and my work life. On the one hand, I was working with charities, and people trying to make a positive impact in the world; on the other, I was earning a crust working for large, heartless corporations. So I actively moved into working 100% with pro-social organisations. I now work full time leading a Strategy & Insight team for Manchester digital agency Reason Digital. Reason are a social enterprise who work towards using the web for social good.
My depth of experience has led to me becoming a well-known figure in my industry and I am often a speaker at conferences or in the media. I feel that my extensive knowledge of both online and offline campaigning and my involvement in the digital industry can bring a lot to the role of Campaigns Officer.
Based on discussions on this forum, I’d like to point out that I am also eager to help create diversity within the party. I am very interested in diversity issues across the board, and I have actively studied the field of diversity management as a practical skill. My roles running teams have meant I have needed to apply this in the work place, and I have also worked with many female and/or marginalized community groups across the UK.
You’ll find I won’t be your typical politics bod, but I think that could be the key to recruiting other people who feel disenfranchised with politics. It shows that real people are represented amongst parties. I’ve never been a typical suit type and it’s not stopped me reaching senior outward facing roles in a variety of organisations. In fact, I’d argue that it’s helped me reach those roles and reach out to partners and clients. I’ve come to learn that the phrase “people buy into people” (rather than organisations) is true, and you can’t see people behind disingenuous suits and rosettes. You also won’t remember them if they all look and sound the same. The Pirate Party UK brand is strong and memorable and only needs a bit of tweaking and pushing to be sincerely and honestly reaching out to the right types of people.What will I do if I am elected?
I will start mapping out the next five years including key points where we will need campaigns. But my immediate focus will be a dual membership and issue based campaign – recruiting new members will be incredibly important to the future of the party and then enabling them to spread the word even more so.
But while this is going on we can’t forget an outward facing campaign fighting against the erosion of freedoms that the current government is implementing as we speak.
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PS: Jack Allnutt has also agreed to second me, that still OK Jack?
And I'm out of the country for the next few days with limited access to the internet. I will be better equipped to respond to any questions when I'm back but feel free to ask away.