The Pirate Party comes to Britain

The current general election campaign has generated so much news about the major parties that I’ve seen little coverage of the really small-scale fringe candidates.  However there’s been some coverage of the Pirate Party, a movement that originated in Sweden devoted to decriminalising Internet file sharing, and now fielding a number of candidates in the UK .  My first reaction on reading this was that the Pirate Party was really a pressure group rather than a political party, but it has made significant inroads into Swedish politics as the BBC article notes.  Of course problems might arise if a single-issue party becomes a significant political force, since people united by a common belief in free file sharing might have widely differing ideas on favoured policies on other economic/social issues.

Still, this prompts some interesting observations.  One is that the party’s appeal is clearly directed towards the millennial generation – although its leader, Andrew Robinson, is of generation X he mentions that most of the party’s members and candidates are much younger than him.  Another is the section near the end of the BBC article about getting rid of pharmaceutical patents, and compensating for this with additional government funding for research into new drugs.  Which means that the Pirate Party proposes policies which aren’t just about sharing music and software, but could have an effect on NHS funding, which is definitely a topic of interest to mainstream polititicans

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