Just over five years ago, I — alongside others — founded the UK’s Pirate Party. Today I have decided to leave the Pirates and join the Greens. Why have I come to this decision?
The referendum on Scottish independence has fundamentally changed the Scottish political climate. It was a record turnout with many people voting who have who have seldom or never voted before. This upsurge in participation continued after the election: SNP membership has increased from 25,000 to 75,000 and Green membership from 2,000 to 7,000. Many people who didn’t take an interest in politics because they thought there was no point have now changed their minds and decided that they can make a difference.
The Westminster parties have promised more powers for Scotland. I think that either these will happen, or, if they do not, a lot of Scots will feel betrayed and this will lay the ground for another referendum at which independence will win.
It is in this background that I have decided to join the Scottish Green Party and campaign either for Devo Max, or if the Westminster parties won’t give us it, for independence.
There has been talk of the pro-independence parties running on a joint Yes Scotland ticket at the 2015 general election. If this happens, it’s entirely possible that they will win the majority of Scottish seats. And if that happens, and there’s a hung parliament, with UKIP winning seats in southern England, the possibilities are endless…
I don’t know how all this will turn out, but I do know that the Labservatives’ cozy little duopoly is visibly crumbling before our eyes, with almost every day bringing new revelations of its failure. For example, the fact that none of Labour’s big beasts in Scotland want to run their Scottish “branch office” as former leader Johann Lamont called it.
I want to smash the current system and replace it with a true democracy where everyone has a voice (not just Labservative politicians who’ve never had a proper job) and where everyone has a decent life (not just the rich), and I have decided that the best way I can help to bring change about is as a member of the Scottish Green Party.
This is not to say that I no longer believe in the principles of the Party I helped to found and the Party where I succeeded in getting 15% of voters to go into a ballot box and put a mark against a Pirate candidate(*). I still believe in a free and open internet, and always will do.
So why the Greens? One strong factor is that they support Pirate principles — for example, supporting open source software — and have done so since before the Pirate Party existed. Another major factor for me is the Greens’ support for a citizens income and a land value tax.
*: Edinburgh Council election, May 2012, Morningside/Meadows ward, %age of voters who went into a ballot box and gave me a 1st to 4th preference.