Shiver me timbers! Are the pirates really taking over?

By November 4, 2016Public Affairs


When we talk about piracy, both in days past and the modern variety, I’ll be the first to admit that the small island nation of Iceland isn’t a country that easily springs to mind.  However, our northern neighbours may about to be the first modern country to be ruled by pirates.  Yes, you read that correctly.

Ok, we’re not talking about the eye-patched, parrot-keeping scallywags but more the political pirate variety.  Whilst the name Birgitta Jonsdottir doesn’t trip off the tongue very easily, the Icelandic MP is making huge waves across Iceland and could be in line to be the most famous pirate since Long John Silver.

At the time of writing this article there is little indication as to who will form Iceland’s next government following a snap vote and the resignation of Prime Minister Johannsson.  While the nation’s Independence Party emerged as the largest party, they still fall some way short of being able to command a majority in the Icelandic Parliament.  This means some political wrangling which could see Jonsdottir’s Pirate Party propelled into power.

Such a mercurial rise for a party, which up until a few years ago only polled in the single digits, would be a huge achievement for the swashbuckling pirates especially when sister parties in Sweden and elsewhere in Europe have struggled to gain any traction.

But perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised the pirates are finding political treasure.  Their battle cries for real change and direct democracy are ones which are resonating across the world.  As we approach a US election, perhaps the only candidate to come out of the process with an enhanced reputation is Bernie Sanders who espoused the same ideology.  Similar movements in Spain and Italy have gathered momentum and we might be on the verge of a sea-change in world politics led by pirates.

So whilst traditionally pirates have been seen as the social outcasts, their brand of politics – a mix of hactivism and revolution driven by the younger generation – may be the future.

So strap yourself in, there may be choppy waters ahead.

Colin McFarlane is a Senior Account Manager at Indigo