Tag Archives: LibDem


The gall of Julian Huppert and the LibDems beggars belief. Computer Weekly report that he is campaigning for a Digital Bill of Rights to be included in the LibDem manifesto.  I covered his intervention at OrgCon14 earlier this year. The LibDems have a serious problem in that they made a number of promises which they have broken, most obviously on tuition fees, but others have problems with some of the government reforms on welfare, the bedrom tax, and judicial administration, the introduction of secret courts for cases involving intelligence material. In the policy area of surveillance and digital politics, the LibDems are not as strong as they might like. The computer weekly article states that Huppert is looking to mandate encryption and ban “revenge porn”.

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What do London’s MEP candidates think about digital?


Yesterday the Open Rights Group held its final European Parliament hustings at Shoreditch Village Hall in Hoxton, London. It’s been a while since I visited and it’s certainly cleaned up well. It was great to be there. On the way in, I met Claude Moraes, Labour’s spokesman who told me that the Tories non-attendance was deliberate policy. I don’t know if it’s shame at their behaviour on the lobbying around the data protection directive or fear of a digitally educated audience. The meeting was moderated by Glyn Moody, who led the meeting through the issues of privacy, surveillance, whistle blowing, net neutrality, lobbying and copyright reform. The Tories absence meant that representatives from Labour, the LibDems, both represented by incumbents Claude Moraes and Sarah Ludford,the Greens (Danny Bates) and UKIP (Paul Oakley) who were not, were present.

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If Only

Last weekend, I went to see “If Only”, a play by David Edgar about the politics surrounding the formation of the coalition and a subdued appeal for the political parties to rediscover their identities; identity destroyed by triangulation.

Triangulation is a political strategy used mainly by social democratic parties and the US Democrats, of moving to the right and forcing your opponents to differentiate themselves by moving further to the right. It’s extremely cynical and extremely dangerous. However, if it’s just about winning, it clearly worked for a number of years for the Labour Party, isolating the Tories under the leadership of Major, Hague, Howard and Duncan-Smith. The danger in this strategy is that many of those who genuinely agree with the policies abandoned have no-one to represent them in the national political debate; the left in society become politically voice-less. A further danger is that neither the acolytes of triangulation nor their supporters believe in what is being said and promised by politicians, it reinforces the slur that all politicians are liars by making it the truth.

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Digital Freedom, broad campaigns and the Liberal Democrats

I started to ‘follow’ Julian Huppert MP, the LibDem MP for Cambridge on Twitter. He was introduced to me by Tom Watson MP, at Orgcon 2010 as a new champion of digital freedom and free speech. I have been following him for a couple of days and while I recognise I need help, because the Labour Party is pretty poor on the subject, in the campaign for digital freedom  and to fight alienation in 21st century information economy, Julian, unlike Tommy, John Grogan and Dianne Abbot, all Labour MPs who opposed the DE Act,  seems to put his party before the cause.

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The Coalition’s EU time-bomb

Thinking about de Grucht’s prospects of retaining his position on the Commission, led me to think what’ll happen to Cathy Ashton’s position. The Commissioners are appointed by each of the National Governments, and their term expires in 2014. I can’t see the coalition agreeing without splitting the Tory Party in Parliament. It might make this week’s House of Lords spat between the Tories and Lib-Dems look like hand bags at dawn.

Can this be brought to Parliament?

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Reforming the House of Lords

So it seems that the next big Parliamentary drama is going to be House of Lords reform.

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How can you commit copyright infringement without copying?

Yesterday, I read and commented on Judge Purdy’s judgement as to why Richard O’Dwyer had committed a serious crime in the this country and hence was liable to extradition to the USA. Here’s the source of my outrage,

he is due to face charges of copyright infringement while no-one claims he has copied anything

Not right!

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The O’Dwyer Case, why we thought linking was legal

It seems the Liberal Democrats are gearing up to oppose the extradition of Richard O’Dwyer. Good. He shouldn’t be extradited; it’s not the asynchronous nature of the Anglo US extradition treaty which is the problem here. In order to be extradited, you need to have a case to answer that you have broken a serious law in both jurisdictions.

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Helios or Janus

The Guardian reports on the foundation of a group, (or is it a faction) in the LibDems articulating opposition to coalition with the Tories. Is this something new, or just more of the same Janus like presentation they’ve always pursued? Left in the North, Right in the South. Despite my biased cynicism, I admire Grayson’s bravery. I wish him well.

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Liberal Grandstanding

Vince Cable, the ultimate tight rope walker is up to his tricks again. He spoke to the Liberal Democrat Conference today, having leaked his speech to any one that’ll print it. Much respect to the Delegates! His two pre-event headlines

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For all your tomorrows…

I don’t need Ed Balls and Peter Hain to tell me how to decide to vote tactically, and I don’t need Tony Blair to tell me to vote for the party I believe in. I have never before voted for the winning candidate in a general election; I have just lived in Tory areas. I was quite excited when I voted in Camden but since that was 1982, (I think), I still didn’t vote for the winner. This year, I hope I will since I plan to vote to return Joan Ruddock  to represent Lewisham Deptford.

In the viral video,where, Cameron sings “Common People”,

the penultimate image is the statement,

It’s been a while since they were in power.
But there’s a reason for that.
They fucked the country before.
Don’t let them do it again.

Too true, I rember the ’80s. Some people are trying to suggest that it’s not enough to oppose the Tories, unfortunately for them it’s my vote and I remember the mess they left the country in. They are still only looking to serve the interests of a minority, so they’ll have to try and do so with out my vote.  Gordon Brown, once released from the straight jacket of Sky’s Leader’s debate, spoke from his heart at Citizens UK,

and reminded me, and many of us, the reasons we have always supported Labour and are on the left of the political spectrum.  Gary Younge, in the Guardian’s “Comment is Free”, reinforces this in an article called I hate Tories. And Yes, it’s tribal.

I’d also like to thank those Labour MP’s and councillors I have spoken to over the last six weeks reminding me that in the Labour Party, I meet people who will work with me to build a better society.

In order to be able to vote in Deptford I have left Hampshire East where there has been a boundary change, which means that my house has moved from an impregnable Tory seat, into a more marginal Tory/Lib Dem constituency. The Guardian writes it up on their web site here…, and there’s a largish Labour vote to squeeze. I am not a huge fan of Adam Carew, the LibDem candidate, but I know what I’d do if I was voting there.  The Tory can be beaten here.

The Daily Mirror has published a guide on how to vote for those of us to whom stopping the Tories is our main priority.  It is mine.

However, I have been drawn back into a small level of political activism through the campaign to stop the Digital Economy Bill.  In my blog article, called “Get your own facts”, I argued that supporters of internet freedom should ask their candidates what they think and make up your own mind.  ORG have offered you the chance to find out what your candidates think on digital freedom, their web page is currently at http://www.openrightsgroup.org/campaigns/disconnection. It’s crucial that you do. Read more …

A week’s a long time in politics

The Bill becomes an Act

Just over a week ago, the Digital Economy Bill got its 3rd reading, and according to “Computing” got its Royal Assent  on the 9th April. I watched the 2nd & 3rd reading debates on parliament.tv with Tweetdeck open. Others have commented on how helpful having crowd sourced commentary was, which I have to agree with and also how disappointed they were that most MPs weren’t in the chamber to hear the debate. Twitter certainly enhanced my understanding and enjoyment of the debates, which were rather spoiled at the end by the tiny vote in favour of the Lib Dem amendment and then against the 3rd reading. On the good side, I have been pleased to ‘meet’  some new twitter correspondents, however I had to turn it off at work for the rest of the week. Unlike contracted musicians with royalty based earnings, if I don’t work, I don’t get paid and I found it too distracting.

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