Piratenpartei Deutschland, the German Pirate Party, has won 8.9 per cent of votes cast in Berlin's state elections. It is the highest vote share the oddballs have ever received in Germany, and early estimates suggest the vote earns it 14 or 15 seats in the 130-seat Berlin regional parliament. The vote also saw a 17.6 per cent vote for the Greens in a strong gesture against the established parties.
In Berlin, the Piratenpartei added populist policies such as free rides on the underground (to be subdised by the taxpayer), and legalising marijuana, to their traditional single issue of curtailing creators' human rights, which is the party's raison d'être.
Since Berlin has a debt larger than many countries, at €62bn, it is no more likely that the PP's free-riding policy will be implemented than its freeloading policy. Much as Germany, as a nation, subsidises the feckless and economically incapable states of the European Union, the productive parts of the German nation must subsidise the non-stop party city.
The Pirate Parties like to describe themselves as a movement "for personal liberty" and "human rights". But this is based on a rather selective idea of the application of those rights. Creators, for example, would be discriminated against.
And they should remember to enjoy it while they can. A German Eurosceptic party might gain 40 to 50 per cent of the popular vote, according to a poll conducted for Bild am Sonntag.
And in recent national elections Pirate have flopped. Early gains by the Swedish Pirates fell apart in the 2010 general election last year, while the UK Pirate Party fielded nine candidates in the 2010 General Election, averaging just 140 votes per seat: less than half the average number of spoiled ballot papers (289) in each constituency.
What's surprising is that with major parties failing to provide imaginative policies, and generally tainted by their "consensus" support, it's surprising there aren't more protest votes. ®