In most European countries, unlike the US, forming a single issue political party is an entirely viable approach to advocacy for a cause. It can work at any scale, even when starting with a few volunteers and a few hundred supporters. Examples of success and growth to the large scale include the various Green parties of the environmentalist movement, and the more recently established Pirate Party. The German Party for Health Research is a single issue party focused on raising awareness of work on the treatment of aging, and delivering greater support to that cause so as to speed up the clinical availability of therapies capable of slowing or reversing aging. These advocates have been active for a few years now, and continue their efforts even now.
What is the founding story and motivation behind the Party for Health Research?
In 2012 I learned that we have a chance to develop effective medicine against all diseases of old age in the near future. Because I think that this is so very important, I decided to make it to my life´s purpose to help with this development. The question I asked myself was, how I could most effectively do that. There are already non-profit organisations in this area, to which people can donate money to help this research directly and they do advocacy. I decided to also do advocacy, because in my opinion much more advocacy is needed. The more people know about this, the more support the movement will get. I decided to found a single-issue party with others, the German Party for Health Research (German name: Partei für Gesundheitsforschung).
The party is not only a very good way to do advocacy, but it also gives people an additional easy option, to support this cause by voting for the party in elections, by giving a support signature for the party's participation in the elections and by joining the party. One goal of our party is, that the big parties will also include our issue more into their program and they will probably only do that, if they would get votes for that. So the more votes we get the more likely it is. Unfortunately, our issue is ignored by most people, both by politicians and by the general public. Almost nobody actively demands more government investments in this field, e.g. there are no big demonstrations for more research against age-related diseases. By doing advocacy, we try to change that.
Why did you choose single-issue politics as the political action to follow in terms of battling aging-related diseases?
In my opinion, we need to educate much more scientists and have much more people doing research in this field to hasten the development of effective medicine against the diseases of old age significantly. All other political optimizations will not have the desired effect without this one. Our party only covers this one issue and no other issues. If a small party, who covers all issues, gets 2% and a big party gets 20%, the big party will have no reason to include the demands of the small party more into their program, because they would probably lose more votes than they would win. But if we manage to get 2% with our single issue, the big parties would have a very good reason to include our demand into their program, because almost nobody opposes more research against the diseases of old age, so they wouldn't lose any votes with that, only potentially win over some of our voters. With a single issue, everyone knows exactly, why people voted for us, and how extremely important our demand is for them.
What are the main points of your programme for the EU election?
We only have one point: We demand, that an additional 30 billion per year of the EU budget are invested into the development of effective medicine against the diseases of old age. To my knowledge at the moment only about 1 billion per year of the EU-budget are invested in the whole area of health research with no aim of the big parties yet to increase this amount significantly.