And for Piratpartiet it was a generally disappointing 0,7% of the national vote. Nowhere in the realms of the 7% that the party took in the EU elections. And so, both in the press and in the party there is some reflection ongoing on what happened and what it means for the future....
Not to be left out, I'm here to draw my straw to the stack.. with of course the clear benefit of hindsight.
So what is different?
Firstly a lot of the burning issues that were on the table at the EU election are now done deals.
- the FRA legislation is on the statute book and the state can (and we assume does) routinely monitor calls, mails and surfing across the national border.
- IPRED also made it onto the statute book... ignoring privacy of communications & allowing copyright groups to get personal details on IP addresses suspected of copyright enfringement.
- The Pirate Bay trial reached a conviction for those in the dock - apparently signalling that linking to copyright material is a no no in the eyes of the law.
Out in the news though it did seem that PP core issues were left on the sidelines. Piratpartiet did get exposure on topics like child pornography being used as the thin end of the wedge for net censorship but that is such a sensitive topic that it's hard to think that you could ever expect to win votes with it.
My perception was that the party's image in the press was too closely linked to downloading and copyright, and not enough to privacy and integrity issues. It's an impression reinfoced by the party's choice of issues... Hosting servers for the Pirate Bay may sound cool, but has zero relevance for most voters. Likewise hosting Wikileaks... people are choosing a government not a new data park.
And of course, EU elections are different to national elections. National questions are perceived as much more about things that affect our daily life - schools, healthcare, and the money in our pocket at the end of the month. It was always going to be a challenge to attract voters on the same scale as for the EU election. Still, for me the party didn't get across how far the threat to our privacy has come - and why it matters enough to put all your vote on that topic.
0,7% is pretty close to the party's result in 2006 - and a good way from the 4% needed to get in to parliament. Does a party have a role that can't break past the post?
The EU election showed that it does... when a significant minority of people put their vote behind the PPs principles. Those people are still out there - perhaps with different priorities for a national election -but still out there to be reached. And more to the point the other parties have seen how the issues can affect their result. This time both blocs chose to keep integrity off the agenda - but at the same time perhaps some parties have taken on board copyright, integrity and patent issues in a way not seen before.
The green parties have been influentual in making the environment a part of mainstream politics - no one can chance not having a policy on it. Piratpartiet - even without breaking into parliament - has the same role for privacy, integrity and the information society. Everyone needs to be ready to talk about it.. and maybe that's a first step to getting a recognition that things need to change...
Meanwhile, from the outside at least, Piratpartiet is proving it's worth in Brussels. Great credentials to bring to the next fight.... In four years it's both EU and national elections. Seven or point 7. Which is going to be?