back to article Labour manifesto changes a byte bit

If you thought that what a party puts in its manifesto is a cast-iron guarantee of promises to the electorate, then think again – because the Labour Party appears to have no qualms about amending its online manifesto, post-publication, and hoping no one will notice. The change is a technical one: a mildly embarrassing typo …


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  1. Keris
    Black Helicopters

    Retro-fitting history?

    It's not exactly the first time. I remember posting a link to an article on the BBC on Usenet many years back, and a couple of hours later had replies that the article didn't say what I had said it did -- they had kept the URL the same and changed the page. The net makes it far too easy to change pages and only if you are unlucky someone will have archived a copy (and even then proving that the archived version was valid is near impossible).

    (It has ben commented before that the government seem to have read '1984' and thought it was a manual rather than a warning...)

  2. N2 Silver badge

    I wonder

    Just how much of the rest of their manifesto gets 'adjusted'

  3. Anonymous Cowherder

    I for one welcome our new fascist overlords

    Seriously el reg, why don't you change the mast head to tory blue and have done with it.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Umm, no...

      Well, in my experience of being a visitor to this site over many years I have seen el Reg treat all the political parties with exactly the same level of honour and deference...

      ...i.e. total contempt, which, in general, is all the power hungry, money grabbing, corrupt bastards ever deserve - go El Reg!

    2. TheRobster

      Keep up at the back

      For pity's sake, keep up.

      You'll notice (this may be UK only, so don't hold me to it) that the masthead on the homepage IS blue today, thanks to the good folks at Intel. Apparently they make a range of CPU's or something.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What does it matter?

    For over thirteen years we have been promised much by nulabour yet they have delivered on very few of those promises. Whenever challenged they defend the changes either by blaming "changing circumstances" or sometimes either deny they ever made the promise or that we misunderstood the promise.

    Ever notice how every nasty in every labour budget came into effect at midnight on the day of the budget, but most of the benefits we were promised were deferred for six or twelve months and often, due to those "changing circumstances" were quietly shelved long before they were implemented.

    Is there really anybody out there who still believes a nulabour promise? Yeah sure you can't trust any politician's promise, but why would anybody vote for a party and it's leader that have lied to us for 13 years without any sign of remorse or guilt when found out?

  5. Mad Jack

    So what's new?

    When Gordon StalinBroon campaigns on his mastery of economics and presents himself as the "safe" option for preserving what's left of the economy he had a major hand in wrecking?

    1. Rob

      Quick to forget

      Too true, too many people seem to have forgotton that Brown was crippling this country for many years as the Chancellor before he was the Prime Muppet.

      This election isn't about changing the leadership, it's about making sure Brown no longer has an influencial job in government... ever...for eternity...till the end of life as we know and beyond.

  6. Arkasha

    They've lost my vote then

    I was looking forward to demanding my 16Mbps internet connection after the election. I can only get 5Mbps now :(

    1. Ashley Stevens

      Redistribution of megabits?

      Well you'll only get 2mbps after the election. This is redistribution of bandwidth. You'll need to give some of your megabits up to help the less fortunate in society. It'll be a fairer society but worse for you. Strangely, no one ever seems to have met anyone better off, except the politicians themselves of course.

  7. Disco-Legend-Zeke

    All Animals Are Equal...

    ...but some animals are more equal than others." ..."Animal Farm," George Orwell.

    I have had some discussions with law librarians, and the reduction of printed-on-paper laws can lead to "plastic law."

    While in this case, it's merely a typo|ignornce correction, we should look to more permanent recording of law. This is a moot point for political promises, since they are generally broken anyhoo.

    Beer makes it better.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This was an erratum

    What you say has much merit, but the example is a weak one. It is obvious (and even you admit it) that the slip was a technical one due to ignorance or haste. Under the circumstances, it seems reasonable to fix it quietly and say no more. After all, you can hardly expect them to issue a press release headlined, "Latest! Hold the Front Page!!! Labour Party Can't Tell Bits from Bytes!!"

  9. BriScan

    You think this is bad?

    “manifesto pledges are not subject to legitimate expectation”. Gordon Brown, February 2008.

  10. Tom 38 Silver badge

    To be fair..

    el reg journos do this __all__ the time.

    1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: To be fair..

      Yes we do, but we're not accountable to you or running for re-election or anything.

      1. Ian Stephenson
        Thumb Up

        Why not?

        I'd vote for you!

        Moderatrix for Justice Minister!

        1. Andus McCoatover

          Moderatrix for Justice Minister!

          ...and bring back flogging!


          1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

            @Andus McCoatover

            I think you have spent a little too long in those cold Scandinavian climes studying some of the more specialist literature.

      2. Anonymous Coward


        But the principle is the same.

        If going back and changing typos is acceptable for any organisation its acceptable. If you were a print publication you couldnt do it, but because you are online you feel it is acceptable to change typos after they are pointed out.

        This is the exact same thinking that is likely to have led to some retard^H person at Labour central command thinking it was acceptable to change typos in the online material.

        The fact it isnt doesnt seem all that relevant after all "its just a typo" ........

  11. Eddie Edwards

    HUGE issue

    Oh yes, thanks for pointing this one out.

    I've seen El Reg go back and fix typos before. Perhaps this very site is just another part of a wider one-world-order conspiracy to fix typos without telling anyone.

    This needs nipping in the bud, otherwise people might start viewing the ability to fix typos after the fact as an *advantage* of the new digital media, and where would that end? We might see some kind of apocalyptic convergence on correctness, or something.

    1. Graham Marsden

      Re: I've seen El Reg go back and fix typos before.

      Yes, but El Reg tends to actually *SAY* when they've edited an article if it makes a substantive change to what went before (which isn't the same as "fixing a typo")

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We've been promised

    loads by all the parties. None will deliver.

    Our elected reps long ago lost control of the "public services".

    Now, whoever is elected, they will pay the price of thinking they controlled the services, while relinquishing same to un-representative "servants"

    Repeated hits on any government website page will result in any consequent embarrassing item being removed. No matter which colour is "in power".

    1. Chika

      Lost control?

      Well, maybe. But then the various gubbermints of the last couple of decades have spent so much time trying to ruin public services under the guise of "best value" and such, if the public services sat back and took it without comment, you would have NO public services by now.

      Just remember that next time you hear of the next gubbermint, whatever its stripe, awarding big money to some useless project yet insisting that public service cuts must happen. I can assure that it will happen because it HAS happened. And they always get away with it.

  13. Flakey

    What do you expect when......

    the Right Honourable (yeah right) Stephen Timms, the so called "Minister For Digital Britain" doesnt even know what an IP Address is. The halfwit thinks its an Intellectual Property Address.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Some will

    The pirate party will deliver :)

    ^ ^

  15. Anonymous Coward


    and I thought it was a criminal offence to make false statements in order to obtain any remuneration or greater remuneration.

    16. Obtaining pecuniary advantage by deception

    (1) A person who by any deception dishonestly obtains for himself or another any

    pecuniary advantage shall on conviction on indictment be liable to imprisonment for a term

    not exceeding five years.

    (2) All cases in which a pecuniary advantage within the meaning of this section is to

    be regarded as obtained for a person are cases where-

    (a) [repealed];

    (b) he is allowed to borrow by way of overdraft, or to take out any policy of

    insurance or annuity contract, or obtains an improvement of the terms on which he

    is allowed to do so; or

    (c) he is given the opportunity to earn remuneration or greater remuneration

    in an office or employment, or to win money by betting.

    (3) For purposes of this section ‘deception’ has the same meaning as in section 15 of

    this Act.

    Section 16 Theft Act 1968

    Silly me doesn't apply to politians of course, same as fraud. One law for them and one for us.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mebibyte (or is it Mibibyte?)

    I just wanted to say that word, is all... because it sounds silly.

    I occasionally try it on colleagues, and get funny looks. Though it would be useful to have an alternative to phrases like "megabytes per second" because of the ambiguity.

  17. Graham Marsden
    Big Brother

    We have always...

    ... been at war with Eastasia

  18. RJ

    Some yanks got this right

    A website created by private citizens spidered the websites of the presidential candidates every X minutes and presented a versioned copy to the users so that they could see all the edits to their policy pages.

    El reg knows what do to next time eh.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Will it be free

    if you live in Scotland

  20. Mister Cheese

    Basic maths

    "A commitment to a 2 megabyte broadband speed would actually imply something like 16.8 megabits"

    When I were a lad, there were 8 bits in a byte. Regardless of what a Mega is, where did the 0.8 come from?

    1. local grockel

      Protocol overhead?

      And probably optimistic, at that. What is the ratio of max delivered bits to line speed, anyone?

    2. Will 28

      RE:Basic maths

      Because there are 1024 bytes in a kilobyte, and 1024 * 1024 bytes in a megabyte, so 1024*1024*2*8 gives you the number of bits in 2 megabytes, which is about 16,777,216, whereas there are exactly 1000 bits in a kilobit, and 1000 * 1000 bits in a megabit. So it's about 16.8 Mb.

      I would be patronising you right now about basic maths, but it's been a long day at work, I've just opened a beer, and am currently struggling with basic rudeness. So I hope this helped clear things up for you.

      1. david 12

        2 megabytes, which is about 16,777,216

        "the number of bits in 2 megabytes, which is about 16,777,216"

        Actually, even more complicated than that. Dialup originally had something like 10 bits to the byte: Start Bit, 8 Bits, Stop Bit. ADSL has compression and packet overhead. Bytes Per Second and Bits Per Second are both interesting numbers, but they refer to quite different things.

        ADSL speeds are normally quoted as Bits Per Second, because that is a hardware speed that can be measured. The number of Bytes Per Second you get out of that is a bit variable, and anyway depends on things like network congestion.

        If labour is promising 2Mb per second, that does not mean that users will get 250KByte per second - there is still quite a lot of room for constructive fiction in there.

      2. Just Thinking


        Who says there are exactly 1000 bits in a kilobit? How would you store a kilobit of information, as 125 bytes?

        A kilobit is 1024 bits, surely, for exactly the same reason that a kilobyte is 1024 bytes. Using two different definitions of kilo in the same context makes no sense.

        1. Will 28

          RE: Citation

          I would refer you to IEC 60027-2. It deprecates the use of the term kilobit to mean kibibit (2^10 bits). It is standardised as 10^3 bits.

          On a more general level - the standard is there to maintain ... a standard! The prefix 'kilo' is used throughout measurements to mean exactly 1000, so it is sensibile to keep that consistent rather than having an esoteric computing fact that will be completely mis-understood by anyone else who is trying to make productive use of some information.

  21. Matthew Collier

    @Graham Marsden

    Wrong. We have always been at war with Eurasia!... ;)

    1. Graham Marsden
      Big Brother

      Citizen Collier...

      You are guilty of doubleplusungood crimethink! Stay where you are, the Thought Police will be there to unperson you shortly.

  22. Mike Holden
    Black Helicopters

    Nothing new

    People go on about "NuLieBore" or whatever "funny" (in their eyes) variation they want to pun, but the truth is that all parties of all persuasions that have ever held power do exactly the same. I'm old enough to remember what Maggie did to the lower classes when she and her cronies were in power

    All politicians lie and cheat to get what they want for their own kind, and it has always been so. They all try to gag their opponents and they all try to change history so they are remembered to be better than they were.

    Remember Spycatcher? The Belgrano affair? Watergate?

    You would think that the recent government had invented something new listening to some commentators.

  23. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    The elephant in the room

    UK government finances are in the hole big time. From "normal" c£69Bn to c£178Bn. Mostly (it seems) to buy near total control of Lloyds-TSB_HBOS-Norther_Rock or whatever it's called. Not they would *dream* of actually *managing* it given that level of control through share ownership because "It's simply *not* done" for civil servants to implement government policy through direct changes to operations.

    *No* major party has come clean on how big the cuts will be. The figures put out by the Lib Dems were the *most* honest and covered 25% of them. Labor's admitted cuts only cover 13% of what they have said they *have* to make. Given they have had 13 years access to the UK national accounts this is not exactly transparent government (The Conservatives numbers add up to 15% of their planned savings, but *they* don't have sight of the national accounts).

    What they have *admitted* is like a band aid on a minor cut to someone whose had their chest cut open with an axe.

    Given the UK voting rules either support your incumbent ( if you like them) or dump them by voting the runner up last time.

    A vote for no one means you rolled over for *everyone*.

  24. Andus McCoatover

    Not the first, or the last...

  25. John Stirling

    I'm not a fan of labour

    and that is an understatement.

    But on this occasion I'm going to stand up for them.

    This is a minor correction, and an example of using digital media well. If you can come up with a substantive example then do so, and let's hang the evil minded lying bastards by the yardarms.

    Otherwise please desist from whichever form of made up argument this is 'and if they did something else much worse than what they have done that would be bad, so they are bad'.

  26. ShaggyDoggy


    Gotta love those politicians - describing 2Mbps as "superfast"

  27. linux_nut

    Original manifesto

    A few minutes searching and I managed to find a copy of the original manifesto.

    I found it on the BBC's election coverage pages here, and here's the direct link

    From a quick look it looks like they've removed a blank page, page 1:2.

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