Aug 172013

At the very end of this BBC report on youth unemployment, we get this astonishing quote (the bold is mine):

Liam Byrne, the shadow work and pensions secretary, said David Cameron’s government had “comprehensively failed young people”.

“The Work Programme has missed every single one of its performance targets. The Youth Contract is on course to miss its targets by 92%.

“Ministers need to act now to introduce a Compulsory Jobs Guarantee to get any young person out of work for more than a year into a paying job – one they would be required to take.”

So let me get this straight.  In a “free-market” capitalism, in a supposedly “liberal” democracy, people who’ve had no blame for their condition as long-term unemployed should be obliged to take on a job – with the only condition that it might be paid.  And paid, minimally one assumes, by that very layer of society which has brought us close to the financial ruin currently afflicting us.

First, what a notable colleague of yours, Tom Watson, has just said in separately distinctive declarations:

The more important part is what Watson says about the economy:

“There was huge market failure in the finance and banking sector – everyone knows that – and we’ve not robustly said so. The truth is that in government we didn’t sufficiently map out the contours of the mixed economy and put stakes in the ground about where the market can’t go. We were frightened of dealing with some of those so-called great Thatcherite legacies, like liberalisation of the City, so we let the City grow out of control. And I don’t know why we don’t just say that. Why don’t we just say that?” Might it be to do with protecting Ed Balls’ reputation? “I don’t know,” he says, but doesn’t sound entirely convincing. “I didn’t do the economy, I was the coordinator.”

Watson fears Labour’s unwillingness to admit they let the financial markets get out of control has cost them their economic credibility. “If we don’t explain that properly, how can we argue that it’s the reason the crisis took place in 2008? Our problem is that, in the absence of that explanation, people blame the 2008 crash on our profligate spending.”

Once Labour has admitted the reason for the crash, it could then offer a “distinctive economic programme” of investment to create jobs. “It’s all about jobs. Not taking risks is not an option.” Does Labour’s current economic policy takes too few risks? “Yes, definitely. The country is in a crisis. If Labour’s not going to give the bold solution, then who is?”

So basically what we’re talking about here is a Labour Party which, at least according to Watson’s assessment, is still unable to see itself re-regulating anything at least a shade close to the real reasons for our socioeconomic misery.

Oh.  But look who’s here (more here).  I’d almost forgotten this detail from Labour’s complex and as yet undefined present.

Rewind time, I think.  A Labour Party, then, unable to see itself re-regulating anything significant – except the labour market our dear Liam Byrne is responsible for shadowing; that labour market where jobs must be accepted by the youth of our nation on pain of state excommunication.

By a youth which has played absolutely no part in the economic trials and tribulations our financial-services whizz-kids have been allowed to impose on us.

Whatever happened to liberal democracy, Liam?  Whatever happened to justifying capitalism’s imperfections through the imperfect but honourable effort of reasonably free men and women?  Whatever happened to those reasonably free men and women being reasonably equal before the law of the land?

As I tweeted just now:

Why must voters submit themselves to Compulsory Jobs Guarantees, whilst politicos & biz leaders can move their money & influence whenever?

And as I concluded minutes later:

We’re no longer equals before the law because the law is twisted by those who would prefer to be more equal. Now, the law brays cruelly.

The law does indeed bray cruelly.  And those in power, or those who look to have it shortly, see no problem any longer with its becoming an ass in the eyes of a wider populace.

I would like to know, though, what happened to this grand idea of liberal democracy.  You know, the free market of capital and labour, where people – at the very least – were able to aspire to ideals of choice and liberty.

If Labour wants to sort itself out in the real world, it has to learn how to be even-handed with everyone.  To remind us how it was fashioned in an environment of justice for all.  To make us recall its nicer side; its kinder side; its more efficient and simultaneously humane side.

Alternatively, if it wants to continue down Byrne’s nasty road of compulsion, it’s got a helluva lot of explaining to do in order to convince the rest of us why compulsion can only be used on the young.  Why compulsion is fine on the poor, disadvantaged and sick – but not on the wealthy who’ve brought us to the edge of this incoherent abyss.  Why compulsion is correct and sensible for those who suffer – but not for those who continue to privilege themselves infamously.

Because I tell you one thing: if capitalism no longer offers even minimally even-handed freedoms of liberal democracy as an upside, and not even our Labour Party is there to even-handedly defend them, there’s bloody little else convincing me to stay on the path of the figurative straight and narrow.

Bloody little else convincing me the rule of law is anything, any more, but the rule of loreReptiles being the creatures to hand here.  Reptiles of the coldest-blooded kind.

Feb 222013

After meekly exiting Labour’s intranet, Members Net, having blogged for quite a while in its partisan embrace, I stumbled across an outside world of blogging at the hand of Andrew Regan’s now defunct political aggregator, Bloggers4Labour.  I thought this a wonderful device, maintaining as it healthily did the visual and locational idiosyncrasies of individual blogsites, even as it brought together in one sensible place the feeds of each and every one.  It allowed for a wonderful overview of what was bubbling under in the Labour-blogging community; it helped new bloggers get exposure and support from existing practioners; and it served to sustain a worthy sense of common cause in what has often historically been a fractured political grouping.

Andrew really did know how to integrate the needs of readerships by using technology.  He would even supply his own often gently proffered and constructive comments on other people’s posts.  This helped create a point of focus on the wider input which – in a very simple and neat way – helped generate an air of shared purpose.

My memory of Bloggers4Labour was almost entirely positive.  Both Andrew and I, sometimes together, sometimes separately, tried to build on this original achievement with other projects which I was either rather tangentially involved in (for example, Andrew’s Poblish – a super-aggregator designed to outdo Google’s own search in the global field of political blogging) or more directly engaged with (for example, my idea for a of political thought).  In all cases, I think what drove him – and certainly myself – was a desire to return, in some way or other, to that golden age of political blogging which Bloggers4Labour – at its most didactic and pedagogical best – seemed at the time to represent.

Instead of cramming everyone together in a single platform – a kind of awful melting-pot as per a United States of Blogging – Bloggers4Labour and the ideas that came afterwards looked to allow individuality to shine through even as the aim was to bring voices together.

A European Union of Sovereign Blogging, if you like.

So if it was such a good idea, why didn’t it quite work out?  Who knows?  Maybe because we didn’t have the resource; maybe because we didn’t quite hone the ideas; maybe, in reality, because it wasn’t such a golden age.  Or maybe because blogging, in a different way, has kind of had its time and has transmuted into other ways of exchanging the information we value.

Blogging always was a bit of a traditional hierarchy of communication: author-led top-down authorities who were often challenged, but never entirely toppled, by those who would hang from their coattails.  Which is not to underestimate the importance of commenters to the good functioning of a blogsite.  Sometimes, the broader reputations acquired belonged more to those who commented than to the original posters themselves.

Symbiotic relationships of thought were ever thus.

Of course, we all know what happened to blogging: Facebook and Twitter.  It was probably going to happen, whatever the company name, whatever the online constitution, whatever the business model.  But Facebook and Twitter both hastened traditional blogging’s demise.

People much better resourced than us English blogging fans were able to re-engineer the instincts behind standard blogging for an instant-fix generation.  And so the beautiful exchanges between considered author-led hierarchies began to lose their dominance on the web.


So now we come to February, 2013.  And whilst the domain’s been running for a while, with a fairly traditional blogging platform behind it, – a cross-party political blogging website on which I have had some of my recent posts published – has suddenly had the audacity to suggest, through a massive makeover of functionality, that political blogging might not be as defunct as we thought.

Before this change, was essentially a traditional melting-pot-type blogging platform.  Writers of different political colours submitted their posts for site editors to repost on the site.  We see this model operating successfully in many places: from Liberal Conspiracy to – I guess – even the Guardian‘s Comment is Free.  I think, however, that the new moves away from this model in several significant ways:

  1. From a melting-pot blogging platform like Liberal Conspiracy, where visuals and technologies become common to all authors even as posting rights remain with site editors, it transmutes itself more into a souped-up kind of TweetDeck, where its prime function is to sit as a front-end to both Facebook and Twitter – as well as itself.
  2. The ability – and challenge – of each contributor is to act as an authorial hub around which comment is designed to flow.  I guess this could be the case for contributors who write original posts just as much as it might be for contributors who add their opinions as comments to original posts.  In fact, at very first glance it seems that the deliberate intention is to blur as much as possible the hierarchy between original posters and commenters.
  3. I cannot but help considering this latter innovation healthy: it clearly shows that the designers of this online constitution understand that their version of political blogging needs to “get” social, if it’s to have any decent chance of catching on.  And social is much more than tacking on commenting tools at the tail-end of the professionalising commentariat: social, above all, is a matter of sharing hierarchy and power.

Seen, then, as a communication front-end more than a traditional website, seen in fact primarily as a posting tool to various channels, there is no reason why shouldn’t compete effectively with Facebook, web Twitter and even third-party communication tools out there.

I just wonder if there’s also an app in the pipeline.  That imperious world of mobile Internet doesn’t half make or break communication these days.  It surely would serve to complete a beautifully political blogging circle which, for me, started out with Labour’s Members Net, stumbled for a few years after Bloggers4Labour’s major steps forwards – and which could now quite easily find its natural home in a cross-party communication project that, at least in my humble opinion, has everything it needs to deservedly succeed.

Aug 242012

Like the idea of throwing tomatoes at social miscreants – you know the sort: those who upset the status quo in general and received opinion in particular?

Well, up until recently the stocks of old didn’t really have their 21st century alternative.  But now it would seem Twitter is rapidly morphing into a virtual equivalent.  This, for example (it’s not the only example out there), from Sunny over at Liberal Conspiracy today.  Notice I’m not taking issue with the wider position being taken by Mr Hundal – rape is rape is rape is rape.  We can all agree with that.

Yet in much the same way as a few days ago I argued that – in relation to women’s issues – mindsets out of the Middle Ages seemed to be taking hold, so I might be inclined to argue that Sunny’s persistent harrying (as I say, not the first example I’ve seen in a blog such as his) of an offensive tweeter – and their foolish attempts to cover up the damage a posteriori – doesn’t half contain within itself similarly medieval instincts.

The problem of course with latterday social media is that all of us are publishers at nominally the same hierarchical levels.  The truth of the matter, though, is that there is – as Dave Semple pointed out the other day – an inevitable re-establishing of elites taking place which means we as simple tweeters cannot choose our moment of notoriety.  We may wish to declaim certain things and hope, quite naturally, that these come to the attention of the elites – but almost certainly what they will eventually (if ever) pick up on will be that which shows us in the worst light.

Again, let it be understood that I see why in this particular case Sunny felt obliged to bring it to our attention.  It’s politically relevant; it’s news; it’s clear that George Galloway and some of his supporters have done nothing to improve their public image or standing.  It ties in with the Akin and Assange stories.  It’s perfect all-round as a communication, consciousness-raising and left-leaning strategy to pillory those who clearly deserve pillorying.

And yet … and yet … I fear this strategy.  I fear where it might eventually lead us.  I fear who might learn to happily employ it.  I fear how it might make it more difficult for other emotionally-charged issues to be even thought about – even contemplated.

So does no one else feel these things I feel?

Does no one else believe that being right might not necessarily give you the right to be righteous?

Humility anyone?

Or is that just me being foolish?

Nov 252011

Sunny, quite reasonably, makes the following points:

My concern is that the Labour party (along with other left orgs) is incoherent on the Eurozone crisis.

Here’s what I’d like to see:
- a clear narrative on what was behind the crisis, feeding into a broader narrative;
- where the Conservatives are making a mistakes on approaching the crisis;
- what needs to change across Europe, going forward. What regulation is needed to ensure banks are not exposed like this again? (this is a bank debt crisis, not a sovereign debt crisis)

When (if?) the crash hits full force, Labour need to be sharpening their narrative not developing it from scratch. Maybe it’s out there already, buried in the mountain of press releases on the Labour website.

Maybe it’s just me who can’t see it. But frankly, I don’t see much discussion about what is likely to be the biggest crisis for the last 80 years.

I think, however, the issue goes much wider than left-wing organisations without too much foresight.  As I pointed out back at the beginning of September:

This morning I attended a business briefing conducted by the Bank of England’s Agent for the West Midlands.  The overview given of the latest Inflation Report was cogent, well argued and intelligible.  The questions, from sensible business-people, were measured and contained – so it was that everyone behaved themselves, as of course was expected.

And yet … and yet … questions of a different nature hang in the air.  No one is promising anything; no one expects anything to be promised.

An abyss, or not, is perceived so very genteelly. 

And so it is that there seems to be an inability by those at the top, at least at the top of this pyramid, to transmit any sensation that their responsibilities go beyond sitting down every month with a blank sheet of paper and planning the actions for the following month.  Everything else, apart from this monumentally important but monumentally limited act, is subservient to the actions of politicians and their cohorts of advisers.

At least, we may observe, in the field of Bank of England economics.  In fact, even the eurozone crisis does not seem to be factored in as such.  Why?  Because, like other recent shocks (energy, VAT hikes and the like), it is by its nature unpredictable.  So let us proceed – and proceed blithely (for that is the adverb that comes soonest to my mind).

And do not dare to express a political judgement, for that is the job of our political masters and mistresses.

And when politicians, on all sides, either refuse or are unable to have a considered opinion on a matter as complex and profoundly dangerous as the eurozone crisis, the technocrats simply follow suit.

As I point out, it was the Bank of England’s own Agent for the West Midlands who almost proclaimed the virtue of not factoring in the manifestly unpredictable.  And so if the most important financial body and instrument of our economy decides to have virtually no opinion on an issue Sunny describes thus …

I don’t really know how to say this in any other way: the Eurozone is in the midst of a long, drawn-out train crash of epic proportions. Follow it closely enough and you can almost see every sheet of metal rip like paper and huge objects smash into each other with terrifying force.

… how on earth, then, can anyone else care to make sense of what’s going on?

The problem isn’t just left-wing organisations.  Unfortunately, it goes far wider than that.  The problem is our own damned stupid legacy of proud island race. Used to seeing Europe as the Continent and not a frame we find ourselves part of, we happily use it as the goal of the vast majority of our products and services without thinking it important to play as big a political part as possible.

This is abdication of all sensible government, of all sensible politicking.  Here, our politicians – everywhere – have failed us quite dramatically. To paraphrase Sunny’s headline: what in God’s name were our politicians thinking when they decided you could do business with Europe without doing politics?

And it won’t only be the whole of the left that will find itself put back a generation.  It’ll be the whole of a generation … and more besides.

Aug 212011

This, today, is happening in England:

[…] Dane’s solicitor Kerry Morgan has criticised the judicial system for pursuing instant justice so much it resulted in an innocent man being locked up.

As well as leading to the following, where this innocent man, as well as having being charged and shamed publicly by the police:

  • has lost his home and all his possessions after being arrested;
  • was labelled a firebug by prison officers and told he would be jailed for life;
  • was locked up for 23 hours a day as a category A and then category B prisoner;
  • suffered panic attacks because of the stress;
  • has five alibis to prove it was not him.

More comment and background can be found at Liberal Conspiracy right now.

It does make me wonder if we are right – when we do so – to complain about the wheels of justice turning as slowly as they sometimes may.  A little more contemplation, a little less reaction, might have avoided all the above – and would’ve, in any case, surely led to a better investigation being carried out.

Perhaps it’s time we reconsidered the responsibilities of the police – law enforcers and crime investigators both.  There is clearly a conflict of interest which shows itself especially in times of crisis and sometimes appears to lead to certain decisions being taken which prejudice the sensible and objective assessment of crime.  If the Guardian‘s recent overview of the crowd-like dynamics of many magistrates wasn’t enough, then this individual case today should be enough to make us think twice.

For when the people act like a mob is precisely when we don’t want the state to follow suit.

May 262011

The Splinternet is what is happening to our dearly beloved Internet right now.  Before we continue, read this post on the subject – as Twitter begins to carve out its very own piece of Internet real estate in much the same way as Facebook before it.  In short, as Josh Bernoff so succinctly puts it in yet another post on the same matter:

The golden age of the Web is coming to an end. Prepare for the Splinternet.

As we all gird for the launch of the Apple Tablet, take a moment to step back and realize what all these new devices are doing. The whole framework of the Web (and Web marketing) is based around the idea that everything is in a compatible format. Any browser, any computer, any connection, you see pretty much the same thing.

Now with iPhones, Androids, Kindles, Tablets, and TVs connecting to the Web, that’s not true. Your site may not work right on these devices, especially if it includes flash or assumes mouse-based navigation. Apps that work on the iPhone don’t work on the Android. Widgets for FiOS TV don’t work anywhere else.

Meanwhile, more and more of the interesting stuff on the Web is hidden behind a login and password. Take Facebook for example. Not only do its applications not work anywhere else, Google can’t see most of it. And News Corp. and the New York Times are talking about putting more and more content behind a login.

What is really happening, then, is the branding and consequent corporatisation of the virtual world – in much the same way as happened long ago in the real.  Companies generally find the philosophies of open standards and ways of doing and seeing as challenging to their bottom line.  It doesn’t have to be like that – but the thousands of MBA programmes out there must be at least partly responsible for drilling this message into the mindscapes of our budding entrepreneurs.  And so the beautiful frontiers of the World Wild West, which to date have defined our hugely beneficial web, are rapidly being tamed by the trademarkers and value adders around us (and yes – perhaps snakes is the next apposite thought).

Which takes me to another issue I’ve been following today – analogous, I would suggest to the splintering of the Internet I mention above.  Over at Though Cowards Flinch, a marvellous compendium of deep thought which I would only dare to compare in its originality, sincerity and expertise to Stumbling and Mumbling, there is a debate currently going on about whether its writers should move lock, stock and barrel to the group blog Third Estate.  There have been a large number of constructive and considered comments to the post in question – a characteristic of this fine blog since Dave Semple ventured out of Labour Membersnet-land (the Labour Party’s intranet for members) and decided to take on the whole web at one fell (and positively virulent) swoop. 

Some observations.  I originally pointed out:

Hmm. I for one would only be especially unhappy if you moved and didn’t keep online the stuff TCF has done over the past few years. Its value is pretty much incalculable – well, I’m not bright enough to calculate it anyhow. So if moving means TCF goes offline, that’s a no from me. And if cost is an issue, I’d be happy to contribute to keep it online – even if this then means it’ll be preserved in aspic.

But I think, in retrospect, I would go further.  I remember how I felt when Dave, some while back I think, suggested he was considering whether to renew the TCF domain or not.  And how I felt, as the trained editor that I am, was very very sad.  TCF has always had a clear and cogent voice – speaking out vigorously and unashamedly on behalf of the oppressed.  Its name defined its mission from the very beginning – an example, if there ever was one, of how important a work of art’s frame can be in helping us understand its meaning and its inspiration.  And when the possibility of its not continuing arose, I felt much as I had felt – though in a slightly different way – when it had seemed that Labour Matters was going to disappear: specifically, in that case, because of its very particular success and because of the very real costs that in an online world such success can imply.

One of the reasons I stopped blogging behind the walled garden of Labour’s Membersnet and, instead, put up my stall here at was precisely because of TCF, because of Dave’s insistence on the importance of open debate – and because I realised that if progress was going to happen in politics, we needed to break down the walls that already existed rather than put up new ones of our own.

A voice is a precious thing.  It involves the ability to engender dialogue.  A sign of a responsive voice is frequent dialogue.  A good voice knows when to keep quiet.  A precious voice knows when to intervene.  TCF is all of those things – and those of us who love it, as Bob points out, shouldn’t really care how often it speaks to us.  Why should this be?  Well, mainly because we know it is always listening to us – and choosing, with great care, when best exactly to intervene once more.

I notice that Sunny Hundal, editor of the group blog Liberal Conspiracy, urges the TCF writers to make that leap to a group blog:

I’m all for consolidation, and yes, group blogs are better!

Here, surely, speaketh the progressive equivalent of the corporate mindset – that is to say, the corporate mindset which is driving the Splinternet I spoke of at the top of my post today.  It doesn’t half seem that Sunny is looking to do to traditionally individualistic blogging what Facebook and Twitter are looking, more widely, to do to the Internet.  Carve out his piece of real estate, as if this was the only alternative.  Well, it most definitely isn’t – and most definitely doesn’t have to be.  There are other ways to bring free voices together which don’t require a submission to common corporate image, tools and philosophies.  These ways need to be worked on and developed and implemented – but they and the brains needed to bring them about both exist and are out there.  If, that is, we care to look beyond simple ambitions to a rank empire-building which would simply serve to repeat the models of a far too traditional publishing.

And if we go down the route of group blogs because we truly believe this leads to “consolidation”, then we truly do not understand the value of the Internet’s democratisation of free speech.

The challenge is not to put us all in the same box so that in some magical way we learn how to see and communicate with other other.  The challenge is – rather – to take a magical infinity of astonishingly discrete boxes and through clever and apposite technologies allow them to communicate with each other from their very own islands.

What I’m saying is that we really need to build better bridges between our existing political DNA instead of mixing it all up in a cauldron of corporate “consolidation”.

And I do wonder if those who run group blogs such as Liberal Conspiracy are – in some very sad way – driven by the same impulses which drive great but essentially 20th century editors such as Rupert Murdoch.

Empire-building is a great temptation. 

The question is whether it is one we should resist.  The question is whether it is one which – in the world of online publishing – we no longer need.

A final thought: if we do need to create an empire of progressive thought, surely it is time to be as progressive about structures, infrastructures and process as we claim to be about content.  Only then will our ability to continue to generate voices as important as TCF be sustainable, consistent and worthy of our mission.

Jan 142011

Watch this video and learn.  Background here and here.

I have great sympathy for the underlying thesis of all three of these seriously important pieces of content.  The blogging experts often ask why women don’t engage with the blogosphere.  This not only puts the blame on women, it’s also inaccurate.  The real issue is, of course, why the blogosphere doesn’t care to engage with women on their own terms.

And when we say the blogosphere, I guess we’re talking about the big four that Lisa mentions in her video.  Which is also inaccurate, because blogging – and social media interaction more generally – is becoming much more than Liberal Conspiracy, Labour List, Lib Dem Voice and Conservative Home.  As, in fact, I have pointed out on these pages more than once, traditional blogging has peeled off into simpler Twitter-type communities on the one hand and rather more complex Facebook-type interactions on the other.  Although the big four get plenty of traffic, it’s nothing compared to the millions of active British Twitter and Facebook users.  The truth of the matter is that a lot more of what people say and do online is carried out in the latter two these days than in the traditionally structured blogging formats of yore.

And thus speaketh one of the blogosphere’s biggest fans.

Indeed, it’s also curious how these multi-author blogging sites seem to want to emulate mainstream media in so many things these days: professional and very corporate images and logos; strict and focussed editorial lines; the branding-up of virtual collaborators in big-name real world events.  The process that is being followed – whether conscious or not – is exactly as Lisa describes it: in some way or another, reputations are being built on the back of real people’s suffering – and those who acquire such reputations are then taking decisions as how to best channel that suffering to maximum political effect, and in accordance with undemocratically arrived at, and possibly, as a result, inappropriately focussed editorial lines.

I once had a short virtual conversation with Dave Semple on the subject of the true role and place of an editor.  I argued that people like Dave, as well as Sunny Hundal at Liberal Conspiracy itself, playing as they did the role of writer and editor both, were running the risk of making untenable the job of editing content effectively.  For how many good books ever mention their editors anywhere between the front and back covers?

And there’s a good reason for this: editors, first and foremost, are enablers of the work of others – not of their own reputations.

Not stars in their own right.

So it was that I found myself claiming that the job of a true editor was to be entirely invisible – was, that is to say, to direct and coax, support and hassle gently, sub-edit politely but firmly, the work of the real stars.  The real stars being the people with something to say, with real experiences to communicate and real lives to share.

And if I understand Lisa properly, the essential problem at the heart of this lack of fit between women’s needs and the supposedly progressive channels of non-mainstream communication is that the latter live in a Westminster bubble mostly of their own making whilst women out there in real Britain are – most clearly – on a brutal receiving end of what that selfsame bubble has decided to do with their futures.  Whether we’re talking about the Tory-led Coalition government doing its best to worsen lives, communities and all those ties that generally serve to defend the weak or the Labour-led opposition doing its best to play catch-up and triangulation as it carefully reconstructs its future viability in a two-party state.

So if the situation is as Lisa describes it, the question surely must arise: how do we change it?

Perhaps, firstly, technologically, by using tools such as Andrew Regan’s Poblish to aggregate and foreground content over names – to prevent the big-name bloggers in their media-riven attempts to turn social media completely into a starry adjunct of its mainstream equivalent.  Then, secondly, structurally, creating alternative websites, virtual communities and even new social media tools which – as I pointed out at the beginning of this post – allow women to conduct their campaigns, affairs, communications and interactions entirely on their own terms.  Whatever they may be.

You’re not going to be getting me to second-guess what those should be though.  For one thing, I’m an aghast observer on the outside unable to avoid looking in on a situation which can only get worse.  It’s not my job or my business to define what a majority of the suffering British should do about their futures.

All I would say is that if capitalism should have taught us anything, it is the importance of owning the means of production.

Remember that – and act in consequence.

Mar 202010

The Guardian has a nice report telling us this bill is so wrongImportant people would also think so, it would seem.

Meanwhile, Tech Dirt picks up on a lovely blog post from Liberal Conspiracy, prefacing it thus:

The entertainment industry always likes to take the digital world and compare it to the physical world as if the two were the same — often making claims like unauthorized downloading is “just like stealing a CD from a store.” However, they don’t seem to like it when you do that back to them to prove all the inconsistencies in their arguments. Lee Griffin wrote up a good blog post about the Digital Economy Bill in the UK, wondering how people would feel if the same rules were applied offline […].

This story and analysis needs spreading – and quickly.  Please read and redistribute to your nearest and dearest.

Truth of the matter is that these people are absolutely tied to a single business model in an industry which regularly recycles content under the guise of originality; they believe they have a right to construct century-long cash cows on the backs of small-people innovation; and – essentially – they will do almost anything to achieve their objectives.  If this means playing fast and loose with the truth, so be it.

Mandelson should feel ashamed.  Total capitulation to an old model which deserves to retire any time now.