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Led by the Pirate Party

If you were about to listen to a political activist who founded a party called the “Pirate Party” you might assume that you would be about to hear some pretty crazy stuff, right? Well, that’s what I thought before I listened to a recent interview with Smari McCarthy, who co-founded the Icelandic Pirate Party in 2012.

But if that was your assumption then you would be wrong. The interview revealed a person who seemed to be completely reasonable, who didn’t try to evade any questions, and who didn’t appear to indulge in lies or misinformation at all. Compare that with mainstream politicians who are constantly caught lying or disguising the facts. Compare it with New Zealand’s prime minister who recently answered a question related to how he defended New Zealand being a tax shelter with the words “Because I’m right”. Yeah, sure John, you’re always right… on Planet Key.

The Pirate Party currently has just 3 members of parliament (McCarthy isn’t one) but is now polling at 43% so the people of that country clearly take it seriously. And in the US two unexpected challengers are doing extraordinarily well in the presidential primaries. Donald Trump is in front on the Republican side, and Bernie Sanders is doing well against the strongly established Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton.

What’s going on? Maybe people are finally realising that the political establishment are not only incompetent but also corrupt to varying degrees. In my previous blog post, “They Are Idiots” from 2016-04-08, I discussed how research shows a large proportion of our leaders are incompetent, and the recently leaked Panama Papers are starting to show that they are also corrupt, so I think the rejection of the current political elite is very justified.

But that doesn’t mean the alternatives are much better, of course. I mean would an anti-establishment person like Donald Trump make the world a better place? That seems highly unlikely. What about a “socialist” like Bernie Sanders? Well he does have a few gaps in the practicalities he espouses but his ideals seem quite laudable.

So what about the Pirate Party? Well they admit they have no experience in government and are lacking in many areas of knowledge required to rule, but they emphasise that they are good listeners and can get the advice they need. Given that we know most leaders are incompetent it seems quite encouraging that a potential politician would admit that possibility and offer a way to overcome those deficiencies.

That’s the sort of thing I mean about the interview being both honest and realistic. I can’t imagine many other politicians making an admission of that sort, but they all should be prepared to admit the possibility instead of just offering some smarmy, off the cuff irrelevance like New Zealand’s current prime minister so often does.

It’s easy for someone like me – who has so much distrust for the status quo – to think he sees signs of something better in the future. It may be that when it comes to the final vote the people “chicken out” and just go with the same old crowd they always have. Or it could be that if these new leaders are elected they immediately revert to the old way of doing things, either because that is the only practical way to realistically proceed, or because they in turn get seduced by the trappings of power.

But while I don’t think the current global political and economic systems will change much in the short term, there do seem to be increasing signs that people are ready to move on to something better. It’s going to be difficult because the current power elite won’t give up their privileges easily. But as corrupt empires have found in the past, there’s no way to escape a revolution whose time has come – even if it is led by the Pirate Party. Arrr!

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