Nine candidates for Pirate Party UK have failed to repeat the successes of their Swedish counterparts in British elections.
The men were standing on a platform of online rights, centered around reforming and updating copyright and patent law, greater privacy rights for citizens in regards to technology, and strong protection for freedom of speech online.
The party reports that its candidates received a total of 1,340 votes, averaging a 0.34% share in each local contest it fought. The majority of candidates placed last. But the party’s John Barron remained positive, noting “Before this election, we didn’t know what level of support we could expect. Nor did we know how to organise ourselves, or how to navigate the election requirements and comply with the law. So this has been a tremendous learning experience for everyone involved, and where we’ve had false starts and had to begin again, and then found a fresh way forward.”
The results are in contrast to Sweden, where the original Pirate Party achieved 7.1% of the vote in elections to the European Parliament last June, receiving one seat. (Those elections involved a single nationwide poll with seats allocated proportionally.) It appeared the party gained support after the conviction of four men involved in the Pirate Bay torrent site.
Another tech-friendly candidate suffered defeat, attracting just 95 votes. Denny de le Haye stood as an independent “direct digital democracy” candidate vowing that if elected, he would hold an online and text message poll among local citizens for each debate in Parliament and then vote in line with the response.
There may be some more significant news from the election on the technology front. For the first time since 1974, there was no overall outright winner and at the time of writing, negotiations were in progress to reach a multi-party agreement to form a government. It’s possible the resulting deals may mean politicians revisit the controversial Digital Economy Act, which was rushed into legislation just before the election. The act’s powers mean it is possible people accused of illegal filesharing could have their internet connection switched off without the need for a formal prosecution.