Pirates in the Parliament

With less than fifty percent voter turnout in elections for the European parliament, major news outlets are headlining gains by conservative parties across the EU. Advances made by a number of third and minor parties are well worth noting, however. At The Guardian, Martin Kettle writes:
Britain used to be dominated by something called the two-party system – the Conservatives and Labour. When one gained, the other lost. Not any more. After the European elections of 2009 Britain has entered a new political world. Welcome to the Britain of eight-party politics. Eight British parties will be sending MEPs to Brussels and Strasbourg for the next five years, a new record. A combination of the proportional representation system and the gradual desertion of the two major parties by the voters – only 43.4% of whom voted for the Tories and Labour in these elections – has redrawn the political map.
Perhaps one of the more surprising results was the seat won by Sweden's Pirate Party, a single issue group dedicated to reforming copyright and patent law. The BBC notes: "The result puts the Pirate Party in fifth place, behind the Social Democrats, Greens, Liberals and the Moderate Party." The Rehearsal Studio provides a bit of background on the party and argues that their model may well be worth emulating:
If we are going to have so many voters fixated on single issues, let them have parties that stand for their positions on those issues . . . It is hard to imagine any pundit responding to such a proposal in any way other than horror in the face of the chaos that might arise, but would it be any more chaotic than the current broken conditions in the Congress?

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