back to article Gordon Brown's secret life as network admin

Gordon Brown is known as a bit of a micro-manager, but who knew he also took so much personal responsibility for keeping Downing Street IT systems up and running? How else to explain why his email account is still out of action and the e-petitions service - suggested as an alternative way to talk to him - is out of action …


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  1. Dave Bell

    Makes sense

    Why bother running the service when the government ignores the results anyway.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    "This service is too popular

    so we are shutting it down."

    I guess popularity isn't important for a politician.

  3. Chris Williams

    What a blow to democracy

    Now there's one less way to have our views ignored by the PM.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns


    Fantastic, 120 characters or less to talk to the PM on Twitter. Let's start now:

    What the f##k have you done to the f##rking country

    That's 51 characters. What shall we finish this off with then??? Another 69 to go, fnarr, fnarr... We've all been there...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Over a month

    and these twits think they can be involved in a digital ID scheme.

    Manage the country, they couldn't manage their way out of a wet, and very soggy, paper bag.

  6. Slartybardfast
    Paris Hilton


    Fujitsu took over from HP as the service provider for the Cabinet Office's IT last year. I'm not sure if they do No 10 as well, but I know that certain functions are shared.

    Given Fujitsu's performance generally is it any surprise that things have gone tits up?

    PARIS - because if anyone knows about going tits up ...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Government IT

    "This service has been temporarily suspended for maintenance work."

    Till September 1st?!

    Yes Minister the pages get worn out a little more each time they're viewed and it's a complicated process, as I'm sure you can appreciate, to make them fresh and new. You do want them to be fresh and new don't you Minister?

    "Don't worry, we are still accepting faxes and letters, and you can still let us know your opinions via an epetition or on our new Twitter service."

    Where a Twit will read and disgard it.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    That's the e-government equivalent of your dad trying to dance at a party to show how cool and uninhibited and down wiv da y00f he really is.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    BOFH or PFY?

    Buffer Off For Holidays


    Public Finance Ynitiative (sorry!).

  10. Nick

    2012 in five years' time?

    <pedant> what calendar are you using?

    Well done for getting the apostrophe correct though </pedant>

  11. Anonymous Coward


    Fujitsu wanted to host our SAP system from either a cloakroom or an open area (right next to the Fork-lift truck tracks) in a busy warehouse!!!

    Nuff said!

    <-- mine is the one with the P45 in the pocket...

  12. Steve Williamson


    <bigger pedant> Apostrophe? There shouldn't BE an apostrophe... 1 year - 5 years... no apostrophes in that plural.... </bigger pedant>

  13. Tim J

    Freedom of Information Act request

    Any entrepreneurial hacks out there fancy making one for information pertaining to the extended outage of the PM's email address? After all, with most ISPs it only takes a few minutes to actually set one up!

    All that said I do think that if anyone really wants to have their communication taken seriously they should just write a letter - problem is everyone's forgotten how to do that, and are too damn lazy to address and envelope, find a stamp and then walk to a postbox.

  14. David Cornes

    Democracy for the masses

    So the most popular e-petition is in response to a story that isn't actually true?? Wow, you just gotta love modern tabloid fueled democracy in action.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    one of two things

    either GB put up wrong out of office Assistant or that they all filled up their mailbox quota and since they have outsourced IT to india, they can not understand english too well so they have put up this note till GB gets back

    Well thats what I last heard ..

    HAHAHA we all know you use outlook GB

  16. Steve

    @Steve Williamson

    <even bigger pedant> Actually there SHOULD be an apostrophe. Nick was correct, it is the "time of five years", hence the apostrophe after years. If you look at the phrase "a year's time", the 's' is clearly not indicating a plural (unless you believe that that "one years, two years" is correct), hence it must be possessive. Therefore when referring to multiple years, the apostrophe correctly moves after the plural - hence "5 year's time". </even bigger pedant>

  17. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: @Steve Williamson

    Good grief. I shall have words with the Moderaminion for letting this one play out.

    I did that apostrophe. So come and have a go.

  18. Steve
    Thumb Up

    Re: @Steve Williamson

    Whoops I didn't actually put the apostrophe after the plural in my last example :(

    Should be "5 years' time"

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Steve Re:Other Steve

    Wait, years have possessions now? If inanimate objects don't get apostrophes for possessive tense (ie, referring to a chair "its legs were gnawed by dogs"), why should time?

  20. David

    Anyone trying to contact Gordon...

    Don't bother with his constituency website at

    either, as that just gives me a 403 error.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC@Steve Re:Other Steve

    Actually, "its" is a special case. It's (it is) perfectly correct to say "the chair's legs were gnawed by dogs" for a single chair, or "the chairs' legs were gnawed by the dogs' handler", implying there were multiple chairs and multiple dogs.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    @AC @Steve Re:Other Steve

    The reason "its" has no apostrophe is not to do with the inanimateness, but to avoid confusion with the abbreviation "it's"="it is".

    Pari's loves' grammar too.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    @AC @Steve Re:Other Steve

    ...for example

    "The computer's hard drive broke"

    mines the one with the grammar book

  24. E_Nigma


    AC, I'm all rusty, but I think "its" is a possessive determiner, like "his" or "her" and that's why it doesn't have an apostrophe. God, I'm going to have to take some lessons. Though it could be fun, my gf is an English professor. :D

  25. Solomon Grundy

    @@Steve Re:Other Steve

    Time get a possessive because it possess everything. You can try complaining if you want, but Time won't listen. He'll come along in a few years and suck away your soul. It's better not to worry about grammar when you have a whole life ahead of you.

  26. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    "mines the one"

    For the love of Dawkins would you use an apostrophe if you're going to trot out that old balls, especially mid-punctuation-discussion. I am of a mind to start doling out smitings.

  27. Pete

    @ Anonymous Coward

    The chair's legs. Inaminate object. Possessive. Apostrophe. Wow, fancy that. "Its" is the equivalent of "his" or "her". Would you rather put hi's or he'r?

  28. Pete

    @ Anonymous Coward

    No, "Its" doesn't lack an apostrophe in order to avoid confusion with the abbreviation "it's". It lacks an apostrophe simply because it doesn't have one.

  29. Anonymous Coward

    @ AC

    Methinks he be trollin' to rile you lot up some more.

    (Oh bloody hell, another apostrophe! THEY'RE E'V'E'R'Y'W'H'E'R'E)

  30. Craig

    Wood for the Trees?

    You're all so busy arguing over apostrophes that you seem to have missed the rather obvious error that the London Olympics are FOUR years away, not five. *sheesh*

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Too many balls in the air

    Like so many other network admins Gordon has obviously run into downtime mitigation setbacks whilst (at the same time I might add) learning to master the new multi function capacchino device

  32. Nick


    I didn't miss the 5 year / 4 year thing. Although now everyone probably wonders what I was on about as it's [*] been changed.

    (that is - "it has" - the apostrophe signifies ommision of " ha")

  33. Alex Farkouh

    Just fax the PM instead

    I know it is a poor man's email, but you could always use to convert a web form into a fax for the PM to read. That is what I did.

  34. Solomon Grundy

    @Too many balls in the air

    Not too many balls in the air. Two balls in the face of every UK citizen. Two Brown balls that are just waiting for you to suck them.

    The best part is the UK govt is laughing all the way to the bank (that is probably in Lagos) with your money, privacy, and freedoms. It's too bad really. You guys used to be such stand up characters. It's not too late to fix you know - here's a hint, the solution isn't on the Internet.

    P.S. Can anyone give me some grammatically correct pointers on when to use the - in a sentence? Marketing people like to put them everywhere and over the years I've gotten confused.

  35. Anonymous Coward

    With all the Daily Mail-reading cretins pouring undeserved hate at Gordon Brown...

    ...I don't blame the latter for spiking his own email address.

    He's a nice guy who's given us 10 years during which our GDP doubled, fairly sustainably.

    Yes so there are stealth taxes, but these existed under the Tories too. What Gordon Brown did is engineer a fiercely powerful wealth multiplication - by giving tax income to public servants and to capital project workers who were more likely to spend than save or move the dosh abroad. The money therefore did the rounds, got re-injected into society so many more times, than it would have done, under a Tory-style tax policy - with the longest virtuous cycle of growth on record in the OECD area. Or something.

    Mine's the one with the gold-plated council logo ;)

  36. Tom Willis
    IT Angle

    @With all the Daily Mail-reading cretins pouring undeserved hate at Gordon Brown...

    Well I guess you'll believe what you want to, but "He's a nice guy who's given us 10 years during which our GDP doubled, fairly sustainably"? Oh dear me...

    From (table) ABMI Gross Domestic Product: chained volume measures: Seasonally adjusted, Constant 2003 prices, Updated on 25/ 7/2008

    1997 942154...2007 1247285

    That's a 32% increase over 10 years, about 2.8% per year on average - respectable, but not massive - not a doubling, what could you have been thinking! China's growth over that same period has been stratospheric by comparison. I presume those figures are in £GBP; recast them into €EUR at the appropriate yearly rates and you'd find the result rather worse.

    Not everyone that 'hates' Gordon Brown is ill-informed, and epithets like 'Daily Mail-reading cretin' and 'undeserved hate' say more about the author than the subject in hand.

    Oops, did I just feed a troll?

    IT - because online stats and a calculator really *can* make discussion more reasoned...

  37. Francis Offord

    Nice to know the old fool does something (?)

    Now we all know why the IT facilities in Government are such a bloody shambles. I wonder if we could lose him on a disc too.

  38. Colin Mountford

    @ Grammar Pedants

    Dear Sirs,

    I feel moved to comment on the furore surrounding the use of the apostrophe by a number of your correspondents. I am outraged that anyone who uses a less than symbol in combination with a solidus in an English paragraph feels in a position to comment on correct grammar and punctuation. May I suggest that your readership peruses the excellent "Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation" before making any further comments on the subject.

    Yours faithfully

    Mr C. Mountford

  39. Anonymous Coward

    @Colin Mountford

    That wasn't a solidus, it was a slash; the slash is more vertical than the solidus.

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