back to article How a Tory gov will be the most tech-savvy in history

When the Dragon's Den star Duncan Bannatyne realised his wife had left her dress on the train on the way to a charity dinner last Saturday he called lost property. Unfortunately, being a Saturday afternoon, lost property was closed and his wife was distraught. Fortunately Duncan's 50,000 Twitter followers came to the rescue. …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "Just as Apple, the inventors of the iPhone, ensured that their product was ‘open source’ "

    Swing and a miss.

    If one wants to sound knowledgeable in the field of IT (or indeed any field) it helps to understand the nomenclature first.

  2. Jim Morrow


    WTF is this self-serving and content-free drivel doing here?

    The politicians can't even spell IT. They don't have a fucking clue. "Tech savvy" my arse.

  3. Richard 51

    That was a party election broadcast on behalf of the tory party

    Since when has El Reg supported electioneering on its hallowed site?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    "Apple, the inventors of the iPhone, ensured that their product was ‘open source’ "

    The example given- and the terminology used- certainly aren't Open Source, and you've over-stated it a bit.

    They allowed you to subscribe to get an API that allowed you to submit applications to be reviewed against an unknown list of parameters before they decided to let you put your application on their App Store.

    An Open Source system is one where you can see the underlying workings and where anyone is free to submit an addition/modification/etc to everyone else.

    Also, The Wisdom Of The Many voted in Labour several times in a row. Even now there are people on TV interviews smiling, looking knowingly and saying "Better the devil you know!".

    Public consultations on laws online is a fantastic idea until you lose your internet connection because your neighbour's teenager used your WiFi to get Season 47 of The Simpsons. So if you're going to implement this, don't implement that ridiculous 3-strikes thing. And try to get rid of the legalese.

    Thumbs down rather than outright fail. You seem on the right track but not quite there yet.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    christ on a bike

    Please, it's bloody electioneering everywhere already. To invite lying, clueless gobshites like this in doesn't improve the quality of article around here- and that goes for all the parties, not just the bloody Tories.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Open Source?

    "Just as Apple, the inventors of the iPhone, ensured that their product was ‘open source’ - meaning that software developers could come along and invent ways to use the phone going well beyond what Apple themselves had initially imagined"

    err... since when? releasing an SDK so applications can be developed on your system doesn't constitute to Open Source.

  7. Tromm

    Decidedly un-tech-savvy

    You don't understand the term "open source" for starters.

  8. steve 44

    Where's my "sellout" T-shirt gone......?

    El Reg must have stolen it.

    Fair play to the guy for posting an article on here. If he knows this place well, he has to know he is going to get torn to bits in the comments.

    Regardless of political standings, I for one welcome our new blue coloured, toff overlords.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "If he knows this place well"

      I'd say his mis-use of the term 'open source', and the fact that he tried to used an Apple product as an example of something positive, would suggest that he does not know this place well :)

  9. DrStrangeLug

    I dont care how tech savvy you are

    But how much in the pocket of big business you are.

    Lets see if you can oppose idea's in government that you opposed in opposition (re: mandybill)

  10. Tom Chiverton 1

    I gave up reading

    I gave up reading when you tried to claim the iPhone was open source. FAIL

  11. nichomach

    Will they by George.

    That would be these Tories?

  12. Jimmy Floyd

    Small matter of an election

    OK, so it's pure election propaganda, but 'tis the season for it. A couple of points though:

    * "A Conservative government WILL..." The word 'would' might be more respectful to the electorate, who have yet to elect you.

    * Using the words "Apple" and "open-source" in the same sentence on a technology website is liable to get you laughed at, even if you do attempt to redefine the meaning of the latter (which, in itself, isn't particularly clever either).

    Still, good luck. If you do get voted in, it'll mainly be because we're simply sick of the other lot, but that's usually the way in British politics.

  13. Michael Prior-Jones

    Shurely shome mishtake?

    "Just as Apple, the inventors of the iPhone, ensured that their product was ‘open source’"

    Mr Shapps, you have shot yourself in the foot there. The iPhone is anything but Open Source. It is user-extensible within the limits Apple have set out, but that's not the same thing. You clearly don't understand the buzzwords you're using! Fail.

  14. Kevin Fairhurst


    I call shennanigans! I agree that the Tories will be as "open source" as Apple - that is, not at all!

  15. Steven Jones


    So is this example of using the Twittervine as a way of getting qualified applications to Treasury posts a serious one? There are hundreds of ways of advertising posts for virtually nothing. That's not the real problem - the expensive and important bit is assessing all the applicants, making sure you have the right person and ensuring the slection process is transparent and accountable.

    I seriously doubt that any UK government is going to have much of a clue about technology. Witness the educational background of the average MP (dominated by arts, the law, humanities) with hardly any that have any serious background science, engineering or IT. Tony Blair's approach to IT had more in common with a position of faith rather than rational analysis. We also only need to look at the massive damage done by governments of all colours to education in science and engineering in the UK by the watering down of standards in the name of making the subject "accessible".

  16. Pete 2 Silver badge

    tech savvy? but will still screw up all their IT projects

    It doesn't matter whether every single MP has a twitter account or not (Q: can they claim it on expenses?), nor whether they can write the most convoluted piece of SQL in history. it's still a very good bet that (in the event they do win, or is it really _lose_) whoever gets power from the election and form the next gummit, that all the major IT projects they inherit, start, cancel or prevaricate over will still be major cock-ups. It's not their fault, or any political party's it's just that they aren't very good at managing things - anything.

    Modern day politicians come out of university with a degree in politics, or history, or political "science", or economics or whatever. They then go straight into the party machine without ever getting a taste for the real world, business, running stuff or managing anything more than their constituency office and whatever relatives they manage to sneak past the scrutineers. Basically, the only talents any of them have is to smile at a TV screen, preferably sincerely - for we all know that sincerity is the key: once you can fake that, you're made.

    If they were any good at business, trade, finance or anything else that would get them a few mil, (or could even play the guitar), they'd have taken that route instead. So it really doesn't matter if an MP has got an iPod, or could program their way out of a paper bag, they are all inherently bad at the skills needed to run a large organisation - or country. So it really doesn't matter which lot get in, they'll all rely on the same civil servants to mitigate their mistakes, misconceptions, misunderstanding and ignorance. In the end, whoever wins the election it'll still be the government who gets to rule us.

  17. Jonathan

    close, but oh so far

    "Just as Apple, the inventors of the iPhone, ensured that their product was ‘open source’ - meaning that software developers could come along and invent ways to use the phone going well beyond what Apple themselves had initially imagined"

    see the initial (bit of) optimisim drain away. nice enough idea, hopefully its just a lack of understanding of terminology....

  18. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. SynnerCal

      So if he's Open Source...

      Are we going to see forks of the Tories, a la Linux:

      Socialist-OS - spends a lot of time in boot up administration, uses a Windows3.1 theme on top of Xfce. Might be usable sometime next decade.

      UKIP-OS - no language or timezone choice, after all if you're not using English and GMT then you really shouldn't be using a computer.

      BNP-OS - falls over a lot, recasting KDE to use white icons and text on a white background makes it less easy to use than would otherwise be the case. New version (coming soon) may allow a user to have the vowels in screen prompts in black, brown or yellow.

      MonsterRavingLooney-OS - runs on anything larger than a digital watch, but no-one's that bothered about it. Window environment looks like Windows, but with dock on the side and randomly launches applications when system is idle (keeps the user interested).

      GreyParty-OS - no real GUI, command line only - terminal apps resemble IBM 3270 or Dec VT100 terminals.

      LibDem-OS - got a great spec sheet, but so resource hungry that even Microsoft would do a double take. More of a "thought experiment" than an actual OS.

      and of course

      Labour-OS - ah wait a minute isn't that just ToryOS with a couple of loading screens and backgrounds changed? Has major "security" software installed that raids your bank account at intervals and will call the cops if you have a "bad thought". Right thinking _must_ be enforced!

      Joke icon for obvious reasons, although NuLab really deserve the Big Brother one.

  19. kimbjo
    Thumb Down


    Tory, Labor, there's really no difference. Neither have ideas or convictions of their own other than the desire to stay in office. They will say or do anything to reach that goal. In other words, they're both the same homogeneous type of wanker.

    Except maybe some of the Tory's have moats, and don't like gays as much.

  20. Anonymous Coward


    All examples mentioned: tweeting about a lost object, a meeting with the president or job applications work only when these events will be relatively rare.

    What if dozens of job offers come up for that same department each week? What is thousands of lost item requests will be posted each hour? Or hundreds of request for the president reach his ear by friends and family each day?

    The answer is easy: the channel will dry op, doors will close, filters will be installed.

    And almost forgot: Tory would have screwed up again.

  21. Robert Ramsay
    Thumb Down

    I can't believe it

    "leveraging the immense wisdom of the British people we can help to solve policy problems"

    well that's us fucked then. Have you *seen* the immense wisdom of the British people?

    1. Frumious Bandersnatch


      Maybe they could borrow some from the Dutch...

      That's the "wisdom of crowds" for you...

  22. Naughtyhorse
    Thumb Up

    as i always suspected

    the tories are twatters

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    You just compared twittering a job ad to the latest NHS system replacement? And you think you're tech savvy? FFS!

    El Reg: Can we have a filter for adverts from politicians? If I wanted this sort of bollocks, I'd buy a TV.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      "You just compared twittering a job ad to the latest NHS system replacement"

      It's easy; rather than go to a doctor (wasting precious NHS resources), I just tweet about what's wrong with me, from the comfort of my own home. It's pretty much guaranteed (6 degrees of separation, and all that) that someone with some kind of medical knowledge, or a key to a lost property office, will read my tweet and contact me with a remedy.

      Aside from (hopefully) making me better, my illness - and the cure - are stored in the 'cloud' for all prosperity. My suffering is documented, and it's a simple check to see whether I tweeted *after* the remedy was suggested to identify whether I recovered or died.

      The next time I tweet about an illness, a different lost property official (or doctor) can see my entire medical history, and easily recommend a course of action.

      Medicine 2.0.

      1. Adam Salisbury


        Don't post things like that here, that sounds so close to existing policy ideas that you run the risk of the Gov stealing it and actaully using it!!

  24. Neil Charles
    Paris Hilton

    Come on Reg, this is five days late

    Step. Away. From. The. Keyboard.

    Labour is keen on blowing money on huge, centralised IT projects. The way this article reads, the Tories are setting themselves up to blow their cash on 'new media' evangelists. At least that might be a little cheaper.

    Taking a few points from the article:

    "Now, assuming the department has a Twitter following and that the message gets re-tweeted – where the original message is re-broadcast by others to their own lists"

    We know what re-tweeting is, thanks. And your job ad won't be. Unless it's an amazing job, which it isn't. Go and ask some of your industry friends how often their corporate messages are re-tweeted. And then remove from the count all of the media agency people who are doing the retweeting themselves to boost their reach numbers.

    "– it would surely only be a matter of minutes before applications started flowing in from highly qualified candidates. And the cost to the treasury? Pretty much nil."

    Minutes? Behave yourself. If you can't see the difference between Duncan Bannatyne and an IT recruitment ad, maybe you should stick to waving papers about and sitting on a green bench.

    "we will look to leverage the immense power of so-called cloud-based computing where information is decentralised, shared and improved by the wisdom of many."

    Do you know what cloud computing is? Here's a clue. It's not Twitter.It's not Facebook either. It's got nothing to do with crowds.

    "Just as Apple, the inventors of the iPhone, ensured that their product was ‘open source’"

    Is this a late April Fool's joke? Come on Reg, you giggled about publishing that bit didn't you? Scamps.

    "By introducing a powerful new 'Right to Government Data', we will enable the release of government datasets to be manipulated and presented by others, thereby empowering citizens with more useful, accurate information."

    Well done Sir, a sensible, coherent policy. Have a banana.

    "We'll publish online every item of central government spending over £25,000 and local expenditure over £500. As well as publishing every contract in full."

    B**locks, I don't believe you. Bet BAE Systems don't either.

    "And we'll throw open democracy too by introducing a technology enabled Public Reading Stage to each Bill so the wisdom of crowds can improve laws and spot potential problems."

    Right, go and find somebody who knows what they're talking about or pipe down, you're making a fool of yourself. Paris might do, she knows what people re-tweet for a start.

  25. BoldMan

    So thats the Conservatives covered...

    When will we see the Liberal Deomcrats, WankLabour, UKIP et all posting their IT manifestos on El Reg?

  26. Nick Ryan Silver badge

    Re: Excellent!

    kill -9 mandelson

    1. martin burns

      kill -9

      Better make it a silver-tipped stake:

      sudo kill -9 mandelson

      And you'll need to also watch out for zombie processes - you can't be too careful when dealing with the undead.

    2. SynnerCal

      Re: (re: Excellent)

      Got a fix for that

      while true; do

      kill -9 mandelson

      echo "Die"


      Don't forget that - as one of then undead - that the Dark Lord won't be that easy to kill - it'll take more than one attempt.

      Anyone want to do an equivalent in VBScript?

      1. Ben Raynes

        In VB script!

        Dim IsMandelsonDead as Boolean

        Dim HeadAttached as Boolean

        Dim Stab as Integer

        Dim Decapitate as Integer

        Do Until IsMandelsonDead = True

        If HeadAttached = False Then

        Stab = Stab + 1

        Debug.Print "Die die die!"


        Debug.Print "Sever the head, or destroy the brain... the second one won't work!"

        Decapitate = 1

        HeadAttached = False

        End If


  27. Anonymous Coward

    Amazingly tech savvy!

    Amazing article - I've been lobbying for more ill informed political propoganda but didn't think my wish would be granted!

    None of the parties are any good at using technology but only the Conservatives have the confidence to preach their technical greatness.

    Whether it's the hilariously awkward clips of David Cameron 'just being himself' in the kitchen or the incredibly successful Twitter campaign which opened up hardcore p0rn to the masses - the conservatives have it all covered.

    Also I too was disgusted at Labour's waste of money on websites! It's not like the Conservatives spent money on websites with literally no use whatsoever...oh wait - they do e.g.

  28. Tim Ireland

    Sock-puppeting Tory sods

    Grant Shapps is the same MP who sought to explain a sock-puppeting event involving his YouTube account with a claim that his account was 'hacked' using an "all too guessable" password; '1234'

    1. Jonathan


      "thats the sort of combination an idiot would have on his luggage"

      oh... wait...

  29. Code Monkey

    "Vote Tory we dig Tw*tter"

    Blatant electioneering from a posh clown who clearly doesn't have a clue!

    In the interests of balance are we going to see "Vote Labour, our Orwellian database lust will keep you all in work" and "Vote Lib Dem, we won't get in but at least you won't have to feel guilty for voting in the next 5 years of sociopathic lizards"?

    Shame, Reg

    1. Anonymous Coward


      Always good to see a little light class warfare.

  30. Rob 101

    Tweet the job.....

    OK, so YOUR network gets it first and so on.

    Nepotism much?

  31. Daniel 1

    Six degrees of separation

    separation works downwards as well as up. Will the ones with less than six degrees of separation from the gutter, have an equal chance, in this electronified nepotism?

  32. grandvizier

    Since 'Apple' and 'open source' outrage is rife my tuppence is

    'By introducing a powerful new 'Right to Government Data', we will enable the release of government datasets to be manipulated and presented by others, thereby empowering citizens with more useful, accurate information.'

    Ah. I see. Allow 'others' i.e. business free access to our data. Nice. Just not feeling that 'warm glow' about that prospect somehow, I wonder why?

  33. Joe K
    Dead Vulture

    Never has the Reg Gravestone icon been so apt

    I can barely cope with all the climate-change horseshit..... but this Tory-suckjob takes the fucking cake!

  34. Anonymous Coward


    AC (12:19 6/4/2010) is right, however, this is very concerning.

    I thought the present government were incompetent. The main opposition look as bad, if not even worse.

    The author's voting record is interesting:

    "Voted against removing hereditary peers from the House of Lords"

    "Voted strongly for a wholly elected House of Lords"

    So how does that work - elect new members but let the old ones stay in place until they die ?

    "Voted very strongly for replacing Trident" - Lewis Page would vote for him then...

    "Has spoken in 8 debates in the last year — well below average amongst MPs."

    "Has received answers to 1803 written questions in the last year — well above average amongst MPs."

    So weak interpersonal skills then...

    iPhone = Open Source = late April Fool. Fortunately, the election is in May. Imagine the headlines - "Conservatives win in landslide election result" or "UFOs land" or "iPhone is now Open Source"... which one is more believable ?

    1. Daniel Wilkie
      Big Brother


      "Conservatives win in landslide election result" obviously, because UFO's already landed in Jordan and the iPhone is clearly already open source :p

      Plus of course they're not Gordon Brown...

  35. Ian Halstead
    Thumb Down

    Thankyou. Damned by your own gob.

    I won't be voting Conservative.

    A few choice words and phrases that did it for me:

    "Leveraged" What's wrong with 'used'?

    "Cloud computing". Cloud thinking. Means nothing without explicit context.

    "empowering" You mean giving the illusion of power.

    "...government datasets to be manipulated and presented by others..." Manipulated is the operative word, Governments are the experts. I can see the excitement of lunatic fringe groups with all the grasp of statistical analysis of a typical slug. "Hello I'm from the Wool Safety Council and want to know how many died in horrific knitting accidents last month. None you say? Same as all the months before?"

    Headline: Horrific knitting deaths still at record levels.

    I think I know what he means but it's the way it comes over... A simple "We'll release all government data that's safe to be in the public domain" would be a start. At least we might get a debate about the word 'safe'.

    Oh well, at least no-one said "going forward".

    Is there a party with someone who knows of what they speak, when forming and explaining IT policy?

  36. SJG

    Naive Rubbish

    Please spare us from this naive rubbish. So what will the twitter message say in the limit of 140 characters ? Point to the non existent website I suppose.

    With a probable twitter population of 1m, what about the other 25m people in the UK? What about rural communities with no mobile access. There is a much greater usage of twitter in the under 35s, so what about the over 35s.

    ... and on the publishing of information in the cloud and presenting it as an alternative to an NHS patient database.... I dread to think of the ramifications of publishing highly sensitive personal medical information into the cloud. Oh, but yes, I seem to remember that what the Conservative party has already suggested is that we give all that personal data to Microsoft to manage for us ..... another company much graced in open source ... I think not ...

    I won't even bother to comment on 'Apple' and 'open source'.

    Sorry, but this just goes to prove how out of touch the politicians are with the reality of the modern world and specifically with IT. Recommendations poorly thought out, completely misunderstanding the fundamental principles of technology, and essentially just replacing one monolithic set of suppliers with another set.

    It's about time politicians started to listen to the real experts, not just to large companies with vested interests.

    ... and Labour is just as bad - just see the Professor Nut stuff ....

    1. leakyPC

      Your stats are a little out

      Just so you know there are over 61 million people in the UK

      Over 46 million are registered to vote, based of government statistics.

  37. Anonymous Coward


    I expect this article has managed to reflect badly not only on this MP and his party for the poor understanding shown of the issue and misjudgement of the audience but also on El Reg for allowing this blatant attempt at electioneering to go ahead. Down with this sort of thing!

    1. scottboy

      El Reg - Labour supporters?

      By allowing a Tory MP to betray his ignorance in public, are we being nudged back into the arms of Labour? Not that I have any ideological aversion to that, but is there a hidden agenda?

  38. TheOpsMgr

    No more "commercially sensitive FOI refusals???"

    "We'll publish online every item of central government spending over £25,000 and local expenditure over £500. As well as publishing every contract in full."

    So we can see every government outsourcing agreement in full, un-redacted...

    ... I would vote for that, if I beleived it!

    Imagine some decent IT people pulling apart the BS in the NHS IT programme contract/budget... man, that would be SWEET!!!

  39. John Square

    Hang on...

    There's some good stuff in this article- yes, the chap got the meaning of open source wrong, but using tech to involve the public more (open consultations on bills) and greater transparency in expenditure are both good things.

    Loads of people have spoken about how twitter can connect the high up with those of us who toil in the trenches, and there's evidence that it is, at the moment, doing just that.

    If you want a clearer view on what the tory proposals for tech are, though, I'd refer you to the e-manifesto posted up a few weeks ago

    1. sandman

      Won't hang on

      OK, let's start on the Twitter idea. I work for a serious IT company - y'know, codes, sells software, multinational, that sort of thing. No one Twitters - not in work and not privately. Looks like we won't be getting any of those jobs then. Come to think of it, I don't know anyone who Twitters, but then my friends aren't media people, politicians or teenagers.

      Secondly, there is a constitutional problem with crowd-sourcing Bills. When you elect an MP you elect a delegate, not a representative. In theory you are electing someone whose views/party's views are most closely attuned to your own. They are then a free agent for the elected period. If you want what would in effect be a rolling referendum you will change the constitutional basis of our form of democracy. You would also have the problem that only a few people would actively get involved - and they are likely to be highly motivated, probably in political, social or religious ways that might be a little extreme.

      The greater transparency in expenditure sounds like a good thing, although there would be some interesting commercail and legal restraints on a truly open system.

      1. MinionZero

        They have no choice, they have to be representative...

        @"When you elect an MP you elect a delegate, not a representative"

        You can argue your theory all you like that they are somehow theoretically delegates, but in practice they have to be representative of the people. They cannot behave like a delegate no matter what they think they are. The public won't stand for it.

        So if MP's behave like a delegate and therefore failed to be representative of the people who elected them, then they loose their job and I don't just mean during an election. World History has shown so many times MP's in any country that arrogantly fail to be representative of the people cause increasing ever more extreme public anger against them. To an MP, loss of public faith in their leadership is a fatal blow. (You only have to look at the public anger at MP expenses and the resulting damage caused by a loss of public faith in their leadership, to see just how important it is for MP's to tread very carefully).

        If someone wants to lead people, then they have to at least pretend to represent the views of the people, otherwise the people will not follow them. Therefore they HAVE TO BE REPRESENTAIVE OF THE VIEWS OF THE PEOPLE.

  40. John Diffenthal

    Twitter is the big idea?

    Well it would certainly restrict candidates to private industry if you want a response in seconds ... the current security restrictions for the majority of local and national government employees means that they can't view Twitter or any social networking site during the day. But you knew that, didn't you, because you understand technology!

    There is a technical adjective for this article - it's tosh!

    1. Andrew Engel


      Where is there *any* suggestion that they would *require* a response in seconds in that article?

      Essentially, they're saying "instead of raising awareness of particular information via (costly) television or newspaper advertisements, communication streams such as twitter could be used more effectively and cheaply". And you're interpreting that as "we'd tweet a job ad and require responses in seconds".

      The 'tosh' there is largely on your end I'm afraid.

  41. REMF

    even we too

    I realise you are trying to reach out to another demographic here, and more power to you for doing so, just thought i'd confirm that it is possible for even tech-geeks to be interested in Defence & the EU.

  42. Stefing

    Meanwhile, on Twitter...

    the Twitterati are (rightly) coughing up their lungs at @grantshapps idiocy - was this a deliberate honeytrap by El Reg?

    Replacing "massive centralised government databases" with Twitter and the "open source iPhone" *snort*

    Will it cure cancer like scrapping the NI increase will, too?

    1. Andrew Engel

      Re: Meanwhile, on Twitter...

      "Replacing "massive centralised government databases" with Twitter and the "open source iPhone" *snort*"

      That's not what it says.

      I mean, sure, he doesn't seem to have a firm grasp on what 'open source' means (although he at least clarifies what he *does* mean), but it looks like a load of you can't even manage basic reading comprehension yourselves.

      Personally, I don't see that the general approach and principles that are actually outlined there are that unreasonable.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Hmm, open source AND no DEBill?

    Lets watch closely at 4pm to see if this Honorable Member is in his seat in the Commons discussing Mandy's final vision of mind control?

    Paris - because she's well-sourced and, well....

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    That was a party election broadcast....

    ...on behalf of the Liberal Democrats.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Bought journalism!

    Shame on you El Reg!

    1. Stefing

      Hoist by his own petard

      I suspect an El Reg honeypot - and the Tory spokes-toff fell right into it!

  46. Clive Summerfield

    Grant Shapps - 1234

    Did you really want to post a stream of electioneering drivel from Grant Shapps. Not only does he a) not understand what "open source" really means and b) has a disturbing faith in Web 2.0, but he is also one of the more incompetent MPs when it comes to IT. Back in 2007 he - and remember, we're talking about the Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party - was caught astroturfing as a LibDem during the Ealing and Southall by-election.

    And Mr Shapps' masterful excuse when caught out? According to Iain Dale, Britain's "top blogger" (or is that Paul "Guido Fawkes" Staines?), someone had guessed that the password to Shapps' account was 1234!!!!

    So really El Reg, if you're gonna invite party political comment and electioneering during the next 4 weeks of childish petty sniping and boring spin, please get people who know what the hell they're talking about.

  47. Frozen Ghost

    More harm than good

    Dear Tory Minister. If you want to spout some technological sounding political rhetoric aimed at actual technological minded people then please, next time, get it fact checked if you don't really understand the concepts behind what you are saying.

    "Rather than defaulting to the creation of enormous new databases in the style of the late and over-budget NHS system, we will look to leverage the immense power of so-called cloud-based computing where information is decentralised, shared and improved by the wisdom of many."

    So you want to store my medical records on twitter or some kind of wiki? and for some unknown reason the servers have to be "cloud-based".

    "By introducing a powerful new 'Right to Government Data', we will enable the release of government datasets to be manipulated and presented by others, thereby empowering citizens with more useful, accurate information."

    Ok now this is a good idea - but how is this different from the new(ish) of exactly the same idea.

    "We'll publish online every item of central government spending over £25,000 and local expenditure over £500. As well as publishing every contract in full."

    How about you start with the sensitive military purchases ... oh wait.

    "And we'll throw open democracy too by introducing a technology enabled Public Reading Stage to each Bill so the wisdom of crowds can improve laws and spot potential problems."

    It would be much better to use the wisdom of experts who actually know what they are tailking about, not what the media wants them to think. So when it comes to drug laws have a panel of people you don't just steam-roll every time a daily mail campaign starts and don't sack just because they don't spout the party line but instead science. That would be change I would want to vote for!

    Don't get me wrong, I applaud the correct use of IT and would like to see a UK government with a greater competency (generally!) and understanding of technological issues. This just doesn't inspire me with too much confidence when you think the iPhone is open source and the cloud computing is amazing just because its the current in buzz word.

  48. Clive Summerfield
    Thumb Down

    re: That was a party election broadcast....

    "... on behalf of the Liberal Democrats."

    Wow, you're really engaged on this one, aren't you AC? Shapps is (or was until recently) Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party with special responsibility for campaigning. And the password for his YouTube account used to be the ultra-secure 1234....

    1. steve 44
      Paris Hilton

      Oh dear............

      Can i have my facepalm icon yet?

      I think mayhaps somebody missed the joke...................

      1. Clive Summerfield


        Yup, between battling with a temperamental internet connection and irritation at bl***y Grant Shapps mouthing off again, I totally missed that one. Facepalm indeed. Guilty as charged.

  49. Jamie Kitson


    Are we going to have pieces from all the parties El Reg? I look forward to the BNP shoehorning their policies into an IT piece :)

  50. Anonymous Coward

    I await with interest..

    ..the "article" by the BNP on the Register, in the interests of balance. Given that a lot of the rugular commentards are a kneejerk to the right of Jeremy Clarkson, I'm sure it would go down a storm.

  51. Neil Charles
    Thumb Up

    Shame on the Reg?

    Absolutely not!

    Shame would have been printing out the article, marking it in red ink and posting it back with the suggestion that Grant Shapps might want to think very carefully about whether he really wanted it published.*

    Well done to the Reg for giving this idiot enough rope to hang himself with.

    * Posted back in hard copy for obvious reasons. Maybe (only maybe) a fax.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    what worries me most of all is that it seems none of the "major" (ahem) parties seem to have the slightest clue about anything technology-based, and this article proves that.

    At least now I now fully understand how we have ended up in a country where we have state-controlled spying on it's citizens and ultra-restrictive laws regarding internet content/free speech.

    As for twitter, you think we'll all be rushing to voice our opinions on a site where someone was arrested and charged for making terrorist threats after he made a light-hearted remark? Sorry mate, all us serious internet users do it where you can't see us.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    1. El Reg, this is just not on! By all means get a neutral third-party to review the IT policies from all the parties but this is just marketing fluff. If you have an ulterior motive, it is too well hidden!

    2. The Apple comment is utter balls, as discussed above!

    3. Couldn't help putting a great big picture of himself up there then? At least stick a Tory banner on his mugshot...

  54. Stefing

    I feel a hashtag coming on

    Citing Twitter as an example and then talking about how government has massive centralised databases - they wish!

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    tory clown

    "leveraging the immense wisdom of the British people we can help to solve policy problems through a new and radical open source approach to government"

    Is this the same tories who used a bunch of Americans for their last venture into the online world with the laughably insecure cashgordon fiasco, or a new bunch of buzzword spouting tory idiots?

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Do I remember Tories in bed with Phorm?

    But now all is forgiven.... The Reg has given its seal of approval.

  57. Eddie Edwards

    Leave it on a train

    "we will look to leverage the immense power of so-called cloud-based computing where information is decentralised, shared and improved by the wisdom of many."

    In other words, the Tories *intend* to leave entire databases on trains.

  58. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge

    Oh FFS,

    There's a word commonly used for those that use Twitter. And it isn't polite. Come to think of it, the same word is currently applied to politicians, particulalry clueless ones like this particular entity.

  59. Jacqui Smith's DVD Collection!
    Dead Vulture

    Oh dear...

    It seems el reg is on the tory payroll...

  60. JPatrick

    Ahh but....

    ... will he allow ID carrying people in same sex relationships to smoke whilst using twitter to apply for jobs via the cloud?

    I quote from TheyWorkForYou (I love this information!):

    "Voted moderately against equal gay rights. "

    "Voted very strongly for introducing a smoking ban. "

    "Voted very strongly against introducing ID cards."

  61. IR


    At first I wondered why the Reg was doing electioneering. Then I read the article and it was clear of your intent. Politician showing his noobness and the Reg knew it. "Yes, certainly, we'll publish your article on how tech-savvy the Tories are <snigger>"

    Hoist by his own petard!

  62. Paul Powell

    too many twits make a tw*t

    I think David Cameron had it right.

    I wish that this story was an April fool somehow held up in the El Reg approval queue. Anyone out there welcoming our new numpty overlords?

  63. Anonymous Coward

    5 Days..?

    Come on Reg, the April Fool's stuff was 5 days ago, this is just a belated posting, isn't it?

    Please GOD, tell us it's a posting error...

  64. Hate2Register

    Yeah but...

    Open information is all very well, but it gets taken too far..

    For instance, if you search on gogole (sic) for the new Warrior gun upgrade (CTAS) the BAE subsite lists its armour penetration as 140mm. It would be easy for adversaries to design their own troop carriers to have 150mm armour. So what good is open information when it'll get used against us? It's about as clever as listing everyone you've ever shagged on Facebook. It might make you feel better in your dotage (see Marquis of Bath), but usually it just gets you into trouble.

    If the Tories want to be tech-savvy, then they need to do more than just put everything on Twitter. Gov employees need secured laptops than do not allow files copied onto USB. Deliver that, and then we can talk about your IT competence. Otherwise, go to hell muppet face.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yeah but

      Hate2Register said "Gov employees need secured laptops than do not allow files copied onto USB."

      I work for a (major) supplier to a very large government department and we've had this facility for a while. Or rather, since it stops things being used, maybe that should be "lack of facility"?

      Specifically I can't read/write from/to USB devices or read/write from/to CD either. And that's only one part of a defence that includes whole disk encryption (not MS Bitlocker!), AV etc. So there's no need for the Tories to press for such an initiative because it's already been done. Okay they _could_ spread it to the other departments, but that's about it.

      Not that they'd be interested in doing that - it's much more politically productive to chase filesharers to persecute, sorry "prosecute", them.

  65. David Pollard

    Recruit Nuñez - The Lawyer From Lima

    Peru's Congressman David Villanueva Nuñez was on track to bring Open Source to government with his carefully reasoned proposal, 'Bill 1609'. This was to have enforced the use of Open Source where appropriate. His letter outlining the need for free access to public information by the citizen, permanence of public data and security of the state and citizens should be mandatory reading for everyone involved in this area.

    One way or another Nuñez' excellent idea became sidelined. No doubt Microsoft's donation of $500,000 to Peru's school system was entirely unconnected.

    Even if Nuñez himself isn't available, his clear-sighted analysis remains, for now at least, in the public domain.

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Prove it

    By not awarding any more government IT contracts to the likes of EDS, Crapita, Accenture et al.

    And for those of you with short memories, they are the exact same companies (some with different names) that were shafting the British taxpayer before 1997.

  67. Harry
    Thumb Up

    "we'll throw open democracy too by introducing a technology enabled Public Reading Stage"

    Good idea. But you'll need to do MUCH more than just that.

    Start by getting rid of all legal jargon and insisting that the law be written in plain English.

    Require the law to say what it means -- exactly -- instead of being written in meaningless shades of grey that allow confusion and misunderstanding about what is and is not legal. If the law is unclear, then don't waste time arguing about what the existing law means. Scrap it and write a new law that DOES say exactly what it means.

    1. Adam Foxton

      No, no, no, no, NO!

      Absolutely not. Rewriting it in English is an utter waste of time. You'll never remove the vagueness from written English, especially as language changes.

      Laws should be defined by _flowchart_. That way it's easy to follow, adding new bits to laws or removing them isn't too difficult and they can _see_ any odd loopholes before they're added.

      Any un-flow-chartable laws should be scrapped.

  68. Seanmon
    Thumb Down


    That is all.

  69. Monday

    Choose your friends carefully

    Duncan Bannatyne has received the wisdom of the crowd...

  70. Steve Anderson
    Dead Vulture

    That's it - ditching El Reg.

    This isn't tech news (nor does it have a Paris Hilton angle) - this is free election communication. The only reason I could possibly see for having it here is to show how technologically illiterate the Tory party are.

    I don't come here for the politics, nor the bitter trolling opinions of Andrew "Hit Every Branch Of The Ugly Tree On The Way Down" Orlowski, so that's it. Goodbye, El Reg, it was fun having you in Google Reader. I'm off to see if The Inquirer has no political content.

  71. KevinLewis

    Corr blimey...

    Apple and Open Source mentioned in the same sentence? Are you having a giraffe?

  72. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Great stuff

    Now you've thrown a senior member of the Conservative party to the mob, could you also do the same for Labour and the Lib Dems?

  73. Ihre Papiere Bitte!!

    Used WriteToThem

    Just used the WriteToThem facility to send this guy an email and let him know just how ridiculous he looks using the sort of "Daily-Mail-Level" technology speak to a IT website.



    Regards your article published today on "The Register" website ("How a Tory gov will be the most tech-savvy in history" at

    This sort of article does not do you or your party any favours. You've missed a lot of points and made some incorrect assertions - e.g. Apple iPhone open source? No, it is nothing of the kind!

    It does nothing more than make the Conservatives look even more out of touch than they already did. If you would like some clues about what you got wrong, have a look at the comments made by other readers of the article at The Register (

    I have been, for the last 20 years or so, a "reliable" Conservative voter. Now, with the general election looming, with nothing but contempt for the New Labour structure, I do not feel I can vote for your party. The thought of another 5 years of Gordon Brown fills me with terror - but the thought of 5 years of David Cameron does exactly the same.

    Kind Regards,

    Mike (Reg Reader: "Ihre Papiere Bitte!")

    (Please note: I am not a resident within your area. I have supplied a Hatfield "dummy" postcode in order to use the "WriteToThem" facility).


  74. Adam Williamson 1

    Clue-bat time

    Here's a friendly tip, Tories: if you wish to impress the regular readers of a highly tech-focused site with your Awesome Tech Savvy, you're going to have to do a bit better than explaining you 'get' Twitter. Three years after we all got bored of it.

  75. stuartrc

    Things I come to El Reg for...

    Chris Williams on stuff

    Lewis Page on gun porn and atom smashing tom-foolery

    The moderatrix's occasional put downs

    General IT related press...

    Not this kind of stuff - regardless of message I would be delighted if this is the last piece on politics for the next four weeks.


  76. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Nice one Reg...

    Given the (generally) high level of tech-savyness of the average ElRegistero, I think it's a great call to let our non-mechanical overlords demonstrate exactly how technically savvy THEY are in their own words. There is a phrase which involves 'enough rope' and 'hanging' - I won't say exactly what the phrase is as it would undoubtedly be seen by the plods as incitement to do something bad.

  77. pootle

    'ang on I have an idea

    all new bills should be limited to the size of a tweet.

    Oh! all right then, 2. The main bill and a separate appendix.

    After all if you can't say it in 158 characters, its not worth saying is it?

    OK, where's my coat.....

  78. Grommet


    Apple and OpenSource in the same sentence?

    Use Twitter to get intelligent responses?

    Putting government data in the cloud? Do you even know what the cloud is?

    Crikey, with that level of understanding we definitely should vote for you..... NOT!

  79. Jimbo Baggins

    "Grant Shapps is a sock-puppeting loser"

    Not good work from El Reg. For one thing, as others have pointed out, there are several parties standing in this election: you should cover none of them or all of them (leaving aside the BNP, who can be safely ignored at will).

    Also, as has been hinted at, this Shapps character's been caught out being dishonest online.

    "Grant Shapps is a sock-puppeting loser"

    Is that really the sort of government we want to replace the current discredited crowd?

  80. John A Blackley

    Heaven help anyone

    .....who brings concepts before this crowd! No, he's not a bithead. No he's not a techgeek. He's a wannabe pol who's trying to float an idea.

    Is it workable? Perhaps. Would the idea - if refined and implemented - be of benefit to anyone? Perhaps.

    But, if the Reg commentardiat gets its way the ideas in this article will never see the light of day because they're "rubbish".


  81. Tim #3

    Corrected it for you

    It seems your editors had a bit of a moment, so I've just corrected this article for you ...

    "Taking that job ad example, let’s assume that the department tweets about the job opening.

    Now, assuming the department has a Twitter following and that the message gets re-tweeted – where the original message is re-broadcast by others to their own lists – it would surely only be a matter of minutes before applications started flowing in from highly qualified candidates who clearly have nothing better to do with their time than sit on Twitter. This will really help with the selection process as we can discount that group of individuals immediately.

    A Conservative government will respond to new technology in a completely different way to this Labour administration, and we're even naïve enough to forget that they will have signed up to long term IT contracts with huge penalty clauses for early exit. Rather than defaulting to the creation of enormous new databases in the style of the late and over-budget NHS system, we will look to leverage the immense power of so-called cloud-based computing where information is decentralised, shared and improved by the wisdom of many. Let's not worry about this being personal data and the rules about Data Protection, as someone will soon lose it all on a laptop anyway.

    Using technology to blow open the closed world of government is also the principle behind our recent Open Source Planning Green Paper. Just as Apple, the inventors of the Windows PC, ensured that their product was ‘open source’ - meaning that politicians could come along and invent ways to use phrases in an entirely unsuitable manner - so too will our planning policy benefit from involved citizens achieving more than central government could ever manage on its own, which shouldn't be too difficult either.

    But we won't stop there, even though it may not appear we have started yet.

    By introducing a powerful new 'Right to Government Data', we will sell government datasets to be manipulated and presented by others, thereby empowering our school chums with more useful, accurate information.

    We'll publish online every item of central government spending over £25,000 and local expenditure over £500. As well as publishing every contract in full. This will of course include all GCHQ contracts, anything to do with the security services, and any contracts involving our chums' companies in Belize."

  82. MinionZero
    Thumb Up

    The importance of truly open Information and being free to highlight mistakes...

    I want to start by dealing with this point ... @"it would surely only be a matter of minutes before applications started flowing in from highly qualified candidates."

    Which totally assumes that *highly qualified candidates* waste their time with trivial superficial data streams like Twitter?! ... Most highly qualified candidates got that way through years of very hard work, so combined with their need to have their own life, they therefore often have far less time (and interest) to waste time watching other peoples lives on Twitter! ... Therefore using Twitter to find candidates results in an unfortunate biasing of candidates towards the low end rather than the highly qualified end!

    Which is very interesting considering you are trying to say how a Conservative government will understand new technology better than Labour?! ... The point you are missing is that you are showing you are failing to understand people. Its not just about new technology, you need to understand and relate to the users.

    Which is very interesting because here is the key to why almost every government in history starts off by selling high ideals during electioneering (and I'm sure most truly believe what they are saying) yet in the end they repeatedly fail to make society truly better for everyone. Simply because they fail to understand people and the way most people are forced to live due to the pressures of life on them (and so how they suffer when laws are changed). This is what all governments need to get much better at doing.

    So I find it very interesting indeed that you talk of open government. My question is how open is open really?

    Most governments seem to end up failing by descending into a them And us kind of attitude, making us lowly Citizens feel ignored (and even feeling repressed under the current Regime) which is exactly how society ends up getting ever more distorted away from government representatives truly being representative of the people who put then into power, leaving no choice but to throw that lot out of power, to get another lot in, repeating the whole sorry mess election after election.

    The only way this repeated cycle of decline can be stopped, is by a government truly representing the wishes of the society they say the want to represent and so the only way we can achieve that is by truly gaining a means where society as a whole (not just lobbyists) are able to provide a constant feedback into the political system. But we cannot do that if politicians keep finding excuses to hide information from society, because they know that to fully reveal all could reflect badly on them if mistakes are highlighted. We need politicians who are not afraid to be honest to the people they represent, so the best way is to keep everyone informed moment by moment as situations develop, rather than hiding what is going on from society, until its grown into such a shocking nightmare that its impossible to hide and ends up as a massive shock to everyone. If we are introduced to what is going on moment by moment its not so shocking at all and people can see the reasons why things have to be done to fix problems as they occur. But that requires truly open raw information well formatted for many people to easily process it all, to highlight what is going on. Not hidden information as we currently suffer.

    We therefore need near *real time* truly open information on government open to everyone not just companies. That way society and politicians can truly start to work together rather than both sides feeling embattled.

    So I really do find it very interesting indeed that you talk of open government. I just don't believe it until I see it because even if some MPs believe in it, bad past experiences have shown (e.g. expenses) that time after time some MPs will try to hide data and so we risk spiralling into another mess again. We need to stop this repeated slide into a messy, harmful decline and start truly working toward the same goals. With truly open information we can do that. Surely that's a lot better future than the shocking mess we have at the moment. Finally that would be something to really look forward to, rather than suffering the current real fear of how badly its getting so messed up. We all want a better future and something to really look forward to!

    1. chris swain

      Re: The only way this repeated cycle of decline can be stopped

      I was considering standing on this very platform but gave up because I felt that it was too big a mountain to climb. The system is stacked against it.

      We really need to lose the concept of professional politicians and start electing people from the real world.

      I figured that I could do the job of MP on an MP's salary of around £60kpa, taking £28k for myself and using the remainder to build a local network, both internet and sneakernet style to allow real, two-way communication with the all of the constituents. I would have given as much accurate information as I could to constituents and canvassed their opinions on every matter of policy, voting in line with the majority view. I would pay constituents to do the legwork on an ad-hoc basis and have no agenda of my own.

      I would also have given people a mechanism for deselecting me as soon as they felt I wasn't doing the job.

      It only costs £500 to stand but I bottled it - too much effort with too little chance of success. The media don't take fringe parties seriously and persuading people to actually vote on a long shot with no party to form a government and no exposure is a non-starter, besides, the Great British Public would have to get off their arses and read, listen and think for it to work. However if there were enough like-minded people around the UK it might make sense...

  83. O

    This guy needs to educate himself in the ways of IT

    If he's one of the more 'tech-minded' of the coming government, then he should at least spend every evening between now and May the 6th reading as many articles on Wikipedia on IT as possible.

    I'm sure he, as with most of the rest of the Tory bunch, is less malign and wants to spend and tax less than the cabal of criminals that make up the current government. Beyond that, he appears to be clueless. Getting rid of vastly wasteful IT projects, ID cards and offering more contracts to small, domestic companies will be great ... but as for interesting or useful policies, I think it'll be some time before we see anything.

    Just for the record, if the author reads this:

    The iPod and iPhone are the very antithesis of Open Source. They're as closed as you get, hence the pathological hatred that some have for them, and why Apple is so frequently and widely condemned for policies relating to them.

    How you could not know that Ducan Bannatyne is a very well-known Laboury toady is beyond me.

    Do some research in future.

  84. lee harvey osmond

    Well I suppose I'll take my shot ...

    Dear Grant Shapps MP:

    Firstly, the iphone is not 'open source'. 'Open source' can be defined and described in many ways, and one succinct description is 'not like the iPhone'. The phrase 'open source' has a special meaning -- best find out what it is before you next use that phrase.

    The iPhone developer tools may be a free download, but that doesn't make iPhone development accessible to all ... really not at all like the "thereby empowering citizens with more useful, accurate information" to which you refer. You need to spend about a thousand quid on a modern Mac, and a couple of hundred quid on an iPhone or an iPod Touch, and sign up for the development program -- that starts at £59 in the UK, and then usually costs some more as UK candidates often find they ned to get their solicitor to fax an authenticated copy of their passport to somewhere in California. And then you need the skills to exploit all this and begin writing solid working code! The whole process is less like being an empowered citizen, and more like becoming an .... accredited lobbyist. [I should point out that becoming an iPhone developer isn't that much harder, and is in some cases easier, than becoming any other sort of developer. Mostly this suggests that your iPhone analogy was a poor one even before I started stretching it.]

    "throw open democracy too by introducing a technology enabled Public Reading Stage to each Bill so the wisdom of crowds can improve laws and spot potential problems"? Nice idea. However, there is a school of thought that "the wisdom of crowds" is a paraphrase of "20000 lemmings can't be wrong". On the other hand, leading light of the Open Source (found out what that means yet?) movement Eric S Raymond coined a phrase "given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow". Let's think about that.

    Consider the Videolan project -- that's genuinely open source, as opposed to just bandying words about -- which has a MacOSX downloads page. On it there are remarks about how there is no 64 bit version, how they would like more development volunteers, and what the skills they think those volunteers will need are. I've not volunteered or downloaded the source code, in part because I know I am missing some skills which I think would be vital. By comparison, I have never read the draft of a bill, but I did once visit my local public library and pull down a volume from a shelf and read, or rather try to read, the text of some enacted legislation. I, like most people who are not lawyers who draft legislation, found it to be impenetrable.

    What next? Oh yes, Twitter. That's currently not a Government-run service, it's a private venture casting about for a revenue model. If you were to offload a pile of Government activity onto them, that might substantially increase their bandwidth bills (in reduced English for MPs, that is to say, operating costs). They might come after the Government asking for money. Would the Government prefer to come to an arrangement, or to accidentally drive Twitter into bankruptcy?

    And there's very little authentication on Twitter. It's relatively easy to masquerade as someone you're not. Dumping Government activity onto Twitter would invent new classes of opportunity for fraud and identity theft.

    Despite the present Government's best efforts, there are still lots of people who don't have ready access to the internet, and the have-nots tend to be the less privileged in society whom governments usually try to prioritise trying to reach; and this is before thinking about the present Digital Economy Bill, which I do hope does not survive the wash-up so that in the next parliamentary term that matter can be dealt with again, properly and rationally.

    Advertising job vacancies by Twitter? I remember, in 1991 I think it was, that some executive at Kent County Council got his letter printed in The Guardian, about how he did not believe in graduate unemployment because of how few CVs he was seeing. Naturally I sent him my CV by return of post, and it seems every other unemployed graduate (quite a lot of those in 1990-1, if I remember) did too, and it was some months before I got a reply, which mostly said "sorry for the late reply, we got lots more CVs than we expected". I never heard from Kent County Council again, so I expect I wasn't the man they were looking for. I doubt many of the other people who posted CVs were the right person either. The difference is of course, what with Twitter being something to do with the World Wide Web, that the deluge of replies won't just come from the part of the world where the print edition of a national newspaper is distributed -- they'll come from the whole world. Mr Shapps, would you care to propose some "wisdom of crowds" initiative for performing the equivalent of a CV sift?

    -- lho

  85. Wokstation
    Thumb Down

    Tory PR site

    Wasn't it a Tory PR site that was an off-the-shelf jobby that they forgot to secure and then allowed unmoderated tweets including those which had code in them?

    Yeah, PR savvy.

    I assume El Reg plan to balance this with pieces by Labour, Lib Dem, UKIP, SNP, BNP, Monster Raving Loony Party and any other party that's standing for election to Parliament?

  86. OneTwoThreeFour


    I hope The Reg will publish Labour, UKIP, BNP and SNP editorials as well.

    Seriously though, when did you become such an obvious outlet of political propaganda?

    (There were only Tory undertones previously.....)

    1. mmiied


      when they became such a ROFL as this one was

      seriously "apple open source". I very nearly turned blue form laughing at that and when he was talking about advertising for hi caliber jobs over twitter and the "wisdom of crowds" I had to go get a drink of water and check the date

  87. BlueberryB
    Thumb Down

    Party Political Broadcasting

    I was unaware of the need for internet websites to publish party political broadcasts, so I will assume that this is a free 'puff' for a rather opportunistic candidate for office.

    The inference that the current administration (which really is no better and no worse than previous ones) is wasteful due to a centralised data policy is specious. Government as custodian of data is expected to manage that in the most efficient and 'safe' way possible.

    Government projects spiral out of control and over budget due to interference by civil servants with political targets and contractors with poor expectation management skills. To infer that Government ministers are in any way qualified to make decisions on areas of technology or its implementation is laughable in the extreme, if this is the case why bother with systems integrators, just get a local MP to tell you how to knock it together on the basis of an article he read in the Telegraph Technology section, you know the one that mentioned that snazzy thing that the kids are all doing Squeak or Squitter, marvelous stuff you really should try it.

    The average MP spends less than 18 months in a ministerial posting, very few of them are technologists. Are they truly competent to make the comments above?

    Finally - if I want to read about politics I buy the Economist, if I wanted to read about IT issues I used to read the Register.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Politics ...

      And if I want to read about science, I go to New scientist.

      This site used to be an IT equivalent of Private Eye. It's morphed into some bizarre cross between spiked and order-order.

      I'm all for a wide range of opinions. But the emphasis should be on "wide range". On the reg, Opinion pieces are jumbled in with news and come from a very narrow viewpoint. It makes the guardian's CiF look well balanced by comparison.

      Get it sorted - please ?

  88. Chris Williams 1
    Dead Vulture

    Surely not the place...

    ... for such guff-wind? This reads like a first-year assignment, perhaps suited to a Daily Mail audience happy with soundbites and opinions to hang its collective hat on, but The Register?

    I don't know whether to feel insulted or amused! I would be pleased to read this cock fluff on El Reg if it was alluded to, pointed out or even copied verbatim from a non-techie site, perhaps revealing to us what sort of cack is being foisted upon an ignorant public, but if we are actually the original intended audience... gawd elp us.

  89. Dave 142


    Mac, Linux and Windows fanbois, unite against politicians posting here as well! It's bad enough we hear lies and empty promises everywhere else, not here too.

  90. Anonymous Coward

    The iPhone is to "open source"... the Conservatives are to "open government"?

  91. Dan 10

    The Wired article had more substance

    I'm surprised no-one has commented on the article in this month's Wired magazine about the Tory web machine. That was quite in-depth and informative, and demonstrated that, amazingly, the Conservatives actually 'get' the internet. Not at a tech level, obviously, but enough to employ the right people to do it properly, give them the right level of funding and let them get on with it, which is more than can be said for most government IT projects.

    Admittedly, the above article is caveated 'comment', so it's allowed to be an opinion piece rather than an unbiased article, but I think the level of trust for anyone with 'MP' after their name is so low that it struggles for real credibility.

  92. Harry
    Thumb Up

    "Laws should be defined by _flowchart_."

    I'd be happy with that -- provided that the flowchart worked strictly on normal "yes/no" principles where the criteria for "yes/no" at each stage is properly definitive and there is no "maybe" branch.

    Example: Suppose the draft of a law states that something must be done "within a reasonable time". MPs vote in favour, despite some of them thinking 1 month would be reasonable and others thinking 1 year would be more appropriate. A government department subsequently suggests people should assume 6 months -- but warns that it is not a definitive answer and a court might decide otherwise. Result -- laws which nobody can be SURE they are complying with.

    Wrong, wrong, wrong. MPs should be required to amend the draft to a specific time -- one, three, six, twelve months -- doesn't much matter, as long as they AGREE on the answer and it is the value that they agree on which becomes law, not something that unelected people can argue about subsequently.

  93. Haydies

    Tory policy generator

    One large hat.

    Fill with words the kids say.

    Shake, and pick.

    Job done.

  94. @dartacus

    I also hope that we'll hear viewpoints from other parties

    I also hope that we'll hear viewpoints from other parties too (although you'll have to find a BNP candidate who isn't so terrified of the magic bleeping box on the desk that he can flail at a keyboard for a minute or two). There are a number of Labour MPs who know one end of a mouse from the other, at least.


  95. LPF

    Wow all the teeth grinding by labour :D

    And the amount of poeple using the word "Toff"

    You do realise that about 3 quaters ters of the labour cabinet went ot private school don't you ?

    The Apple OS is built on BSD, last tiem I checked thats pretty open to everyone arent it??

    Anyway whataever happens I hope thie shower of Sh*te is voted out, becuase I dont know about

    anyone else, but for someone who was chancellor for 10 years to be given such a run around by

    the city that we end up 200 billion in debt paying off thier mistakes, to be voted in turns my blood


    Also the thought of that harpy harman being in power, jesus wept, she will end up sterilisng all

    but 10% of boys at birth just to ensure women get the upper hand!

    1. Haydies

      Borrows from BSD

      Doesn't make it Open. I can't for instance download a copy of OSX and install it on a non-apple PC. I believe they sue people for that.

      So, yes, all though some parts of it where taken from BSD that doesn't make it open source, unless you have a url where I can get the source? I think thats the most basic definition of open source... the source is open, and any one can look at it.

      Apple are in no way, and never have been open.... period.

      1. LPF
        Paris Hilton

        @ haydies

        Pretty sure they helped witha project called darwin

        "Darwin is an open source POSIX-compliant computer operating system released by Apple Inc. in 2000. It is composed of code developed by Apple, as well as code derived from NeXTSTEP, BSD, and other free software projects."

        "In July 2003, Apple released Darwin under version 2.0 of the Apple Public Source License (APSL), which the Free Software Foundation (FSF) approved as a free software license. Previous releases had taken place under an earlier version of the APSL that did not meet the FSF's definition of free software, although it met the requirements of the Open Source Definition."

        So tory toff boy knows more than you! Now pipe down there's a good lad!

  96. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I'm surprised they haven't (for nakedly obvious reasons) targetted the IT community already.

    Maybe because, despite the pressures on our industry we won't respond readily to dog-whistle politics.

    I would like to think so. But offshoring gets little (i.e. none) of the attention other political issues get like IR35 for instance.

    Or maybe it would just wear the little moderatrix to a frazzle.


  97. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Prove it.

    If laws can be flowcharted, it should be possible to flowchart an existing one. Pick one. Lets say Criminal Damage of the top of my head. I'm skeptical but willing to be swayed

  98. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Who scored the biggest own goal ?

    If you think it was "the Reg" click thumbs UP

    If you think it was the tories click thumbs DOWN

    Vote now !

  99. Martin Nicholls

    This is...

    .. the Tories who use windows + .net for all their own stuff and sit in rackpace hoping and praying?

    As opposed to labour who use PHP...

    Know which I think are better at tech, and it obviously aint the tories even though I'm no Microsoft hater.

    Civil servants who don't have a clue are the problem, and they're in theory completely party independant - so you're just gonna get the same guys screwing everything up, some of these people may have 40 year careers messing up the country and they're the people doing the real work.

    I also saw something with the words Open Source and Apple in the same sentance - I like to read articles like to remind myself what goes on whenever I hear that kind of thing.

  100. moonface

    MP dismissed true cost shocker!

    IT gaffs aside from the Tech savy Tory. I just find it, not so incredible, that this MP totally misses the whole "twitter to the masses and a solution will be found" point and dismisses the true costs in his example!

    The Duncan Bannatyne story is a very poor example of motivated people power. The initial stupidity of the wife leaving her dress on the train was always going to cost dear old Duncan £1000 as soon as he tweeted the reward. I wonder how many people would be motivated to retweet the message on, if the original £1000 reward was not on offer, or if the tweet itself, wasn't an opportunity to curry favor with a multi-millionaire?

    Therefore, It has got NOTHING to do with with running a 21st century government!!!

    If anyone had the money and twitter account that offered £1000 incentives in each tweet for doing small favours . They would quickly have a lot more followers than all the Dragons Den twatters and any prospective Government Dept. It is doubtful howevere whether anyone could frivously lose their cash quicker than MP's lose public money.

  101. chris swain

    Gosh! Yet another reson to foul my ballot

    Do your bit for democracy - foul your papers - you know it makes sense!

    1. Anthony 13

      Foul my ballot?

      But what if I don't have a dog to take in with me; could get scratchy ...

  102. xjy
    Paris Hilton

    Fasten your seat-belts, it's gonna be a bumpy ride...

    I think that Reg knew he was doing a Public Service by publishing this.

    The ignorance is terrific.

    I love the Tory anecdote - who the fuck can afford £1000 quid to get back a dress?

    Open Sauce...

    And what's a British drum-banger doing trumpeting flattering lies about some US company?

    Openness = open coffers for the rich...

    Transparency = we can see right through you...

    (Paris cos she's more attractive than this lot, doesn't get her knickers in a twist (heh), and doesn't pretend to be more than a pretty face...)

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