Independence is not on offer


Yesterday, Betfair announced that they were paying out to the “No”  bets on their sportsbook, and the exchange is offering odds implying a 75% probability that the “No” vote will win. Many people seem to be ready to offer the voters in Scotland their advice, so I thought I’d join in, although in my case it’s all a bit late, it would seem. More so if you consider the views of Mona Chalabi at 538 Blog who points out that many postal ballots have already been cast and at the time they were cast, the No vote had a lead in the polls.  … » Read more …


Keep your vote


At the beginning of the summer, I got a letter saying that I was to be kept on the electoral register, and yet over the weekend I received a letter addressed to the occupier, demanding to know, who lived there so they could write and ask all residents to register to vote. Previously, registration was done once for the whole household, now it must be done each and every voter on their own behalf. If the letter is not returned or if filled in untruthfully the residents are threatened with a £1,000 – £5,000 fine. If we fill in the form, or it is filled in on pur behalf we will be invited to fill in another form, or use an online form. The online form, asks all sorts of impertinent questions including and this is a new one, my NI number. (I thought we’d voted not to have a national ID card.) You should note, it’s a central government site, and while it uses https, to stop others seeing what you’re doing, it means that the Government now has a list of all people who apply to vote online. That’s also new.  … » Read more …


Who do PIPCU serve?


Torrentfreak are following the activities of the City of London’s Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit; they reported one intervention in a story called “UK Police Accuse Domain Name Registrar of Facilitating Criminal Activity”. An extraordinary story in which a police force threaten domain registrars with action if they don’t take action on alleged infringing sites using their services. If you read the story, you’ll see the accusations and language used by the police seem to have forgotten the British legal principle of innocent until proved guilty. Many of the comments were the normal pro-piracy comments although there’s one or two more thoughtful. It provokes me to write the following, although I should shorten it if I choose to publish these views as a comment there.  … » Read more …


Stop killing civilians in Gaza


This blog has been a personal polemic over most of the last three years, maybe longer. Previously and at times, it’s been more of a diary. The London blogger, Diamondgezeer in this blog about blogrolls and the blogging community reminds me that sometimes I deserve or need to be a bit more introspective and more of a diarist. I need to record on the blog, how I feel about the latest development on the Middle East.  Over the last three weeks the Middle East has exploded, over the last two years on could say the same, and you could ask why I haven’t commented on the events in Syria or the Ukraine,   … » Read more …


What’s in a word


I was looking at the book “Playing Politics”, and specifically the game “Agenda” which looks at committee behaviour. In the game, a standard playing card pack is used and the suits are considered to represent spending priorities. I originally read the book in the seventies and the priorities were called Social Security (Hearts), Industry (Diamonds), Public Works (Spades) and Defence (Clubs, of course). Today, with the country’s shift to the right we would use the term Welfare instead of Social Security, and since Industry was designated by Diamonds, we might today. in this celebrity obsessed world consider the diamonds to be Culture Media and Sport, since BIS (the Department of Trade and Industry as was) now spends so little. There’s no room for DECC nor DEFRA. The predecessor to DECC was only created in 1974 and there is a private member’s bill to abolish it being considered in the next parliament. It interested me on how both public policy priorities and the language has changed over 40 years; the language is both a simple lens and the final arbiter.  … » Read more …


Spying on Web Mail

the wire poster-w200

I and others have written about the spy’s pursuit of meta data. It’s not a problem, it’s not the content you know. This is an image from voice comms; once known as telephone conversations.  If you believe this, I suggest you watch “The Wire”. Meta data means “about data”, and consists of the from where, to whom, at what time. With mobile phones, your location can be tracked whether making a call or not. This is meant to be fine, because they don’t review content, i.e. what was said; so that’s OK then. However, the spies think that meta data is the person. An important and wilfully forgotten fact is that with email you can’t separate meta data from content. With web mail, the real meta data is all about the mail provider and maybe the mail client, which is a piece of software; again the meta data they want doesn’t exist as meta data, it is content!   … » Read more …


The gestation of a manifesto


Labour’s 2014 National Policy Forum took place the weekend of the 20th July. Its role is to agree a programme document which will be put to Conference in September. From this will be drawn the manifesto, and the pledge cards. This’ll be the last NPF before the election. There has been a lot of comment in the press, and this article looks at some of that from what should be our friends, and looks a bit less from some of those present, but I look at what I found. The Guardian promises the revised programme will be published in time for Labour’s Conference but recent history suggests not in time for a mandate to be established.  … » Read more …


You might like to look back

Just published my notes for the pictfor meeting held on the 14th Feb earlier this year, it was about Europe and the Digital Economy. And no I didn’t take Mrs L.  … » Read more …


pictfor: democracy 2.0


Last night I went up to Westminster for a Pictfor meeting; this time, Parliament 2.0: How can the internet revolutionise British Democracy. The panel speakers were, Jaan Priisalu, Director General of the Estonian Information System’s Authority, Katie Ghose, CEO, Electoral Reform Society & Ruth Fox, Director, Hansard Society, while the meeting was chaired by Stephen Mosley MP, it was kicked off by the John Bercow MP, the Speaker. The centre piece of Bercow’s speech was an introduction, for me at least, to the Speaker’s Commission on Digital Democracy which is reviewing Representation, Scrutiny and the legislative process. Jaan Priisalu talked about Estonia’s e-voting paltform, while Ghose and Fox spoke about democratic engagement.   … » Read more …


An act of misdirection


And so now the “Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill” is now law. The fallout from Cameron’s cabinet reshuffle pretty much drowned it out, but we need to ask how much of the rush towards the law is actually caused by the Euroscepticism of the Tory Party. The European law dimension will return to Parliament before the general election and the firing of the Attorney General, Dominic Grieve who may have been one of the chief obstacles inside the cabinet may have been a necessary step to securing the laws passage. They would have looked foolish having got the LinDems and Labour on board and failing to get the Attorney General.  What was the cause and what was the effect?  … » Read more …