It’s time for local elections in Britain and the battle is on between the usual suspects, the three main parties: Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats.
But this year there’s an unlikely contender: the Pirate Party UK. Established in 2009, the Pirates are running for council seats in Manchester, Glasgow and Edinburgh. The party has “several hundred” members, but it has “captured the imagination” of many others so far, according to its leader Loz Kaye.
Kaye, a music composer who’s standing for a Manchester seat where election participation is one in four, said it is “time for new blood” in British politics and a departure from the “narrow elite” system.
I met him at his flat-turned-campaign headquarters with piles of homemade posters on the dining table and the floor. The views from his third-floor balcony were stunning: modern, innovative flats, combined with a modest but scenic bridge over a stream that geese seemed to enjoy flying beneath.
He spoke of people being tired of mainstream politics and a need for having politicians who understand how the internet works. When I pressed him whether his party supported illegal downloads, he called for a change in copyright rules that should be fit for life today.
Two other campaigners who helped Kaye spoke to me. Jack Allnutt criticised this week ruling of the High Court to ban the filesharing website Pirate Bay as a measure moving towards internet censorship and compared it to what is happening in China and Iran.
Andy Halsall refused to predict the result of elections, saying the Pirate Party is new in the game but is going strong.
Watch the interviews above.