Standing down but not walking away

David Elston's picture

Did anybody catch the last three years? I blinked.

I’ve been a member of the Pirate Party UK since 2014. In that time I’ve stood in seven different elections, held four different positions and… I type this I feel, this isn’t what anyone is interested in. We’ve all contributed to the party substantially and no one need list their contributions. To each of us, we gave something of great importance and at times, we no doubt questioned if we could afford to, but we did so willingly anyway.

I’ll always be tremendously grateful to everyone who found the courage to band together on what some may describe as a journey but at times felt more like a siege to protect our liberties.

I’ve always maintained the view that I’m a Pirate, not because I choose to be or that’s where my current membership subscription happens to go to, but because it’s who I really am. Many millions of people file share, want freedom of expression in both their speech and their ability to create and innovate.

To me, being a Pirate is simply not being afraid to be who I really am and being honest with your electorate and your members can only really happen if you are first honest with yourself.

This is why as I stand down from Deputy Leader, also shedding my Acting Leader title, it’s important for us all to remember that whatever role we take, or pass on to someone else, it doesn’t change who we are or what we believe in.

You may now be thinking, why not just leave it at that, bugger off for a bit and let someone else get on with it?

I’d be lying if I said the idea of a long break and holiday wasn’t tempting. We are all guilty of wanting to leave the hard work up to someone else… but so many movements have died because their last generation didn’t stick around to help the next one. If we are to succeed, I know we’ll need every available hand on deck for whatever the government throws at us next, so don’t feel as if you’re going it alone.

Decisions are rarely neat, clear and easy to make. I’d like to be able to say “just listen to your members” but the members don’t always agree. In times like this, I’d say whatever decision you come to, at least make it an honest one.

Fighting for a free culture is hard work but it can be bloody fun too. I’ve met so many incredibly intelligent people, discussed principles with many different groups, had both humbling and exciting disagreements and comforting agreements. I’ve given talks to university students, entire halls of community representatives and small local hustings groups. Not to mention you might even get your name in the paper.

Of course new leadership should be able to steer the ship in the way they find most fitting without ex-leadership figures haunting the party, but they should also be supported by those having already had to hold the helm steady through a storm or two.

Leadership comes with its own heavy toll, as my partner routinely likes to remind me, I went greyer by the day, sometimes by the hour. Hopefully, my leadership hasn’t made you greyer too.

I really want to wish the party and the next Pirate leadership nothing but the best and rest assured, if you need help, I’m sure we’ll all make the effort to show up, despite the weather.

If I can pass on one final piece of advice however... don’t make the logo blue. It didn’t look good last time.
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