Could the Pirate party’s German success be repeated here?

Comment is Free piece by me in the Guardian.

The fact that the Pirate party has won 8.9% of the vote in the Berlin state elections – thereby giving them 15 seats in the legislature – has given rise to some head-scratching in psephological circles. And not without reason: it isn’t often that a political party takes a relaxed view of filesharing, advocates radical reform of intellectual property laws, opposes state surveillance in all its forms, evangelises about open source and then has electoral success in the real world.

The big questions are: is the Pirates’ electoral success a culturally specific blip, or a pointer to longer-term political change? Have we reached the point where the internet is having a measurable effect not just on political discourse, but also on what happens in polling booths? And could it happen here?

The answer partly depends on which electoral system we’re talking about…