back to article Lib Dems demand niceness, ignore technology

The Lib Dems unveiled a manifesto (pdf) this morning that was chock-full of bright ideas and sensible fair thinking, but lacking a unifying theme. The party appears to be pitching for the sort of person who's unhappy about fat cat salaries, rude people in hospitals and is likely to switch vote based on whether night buses stop …


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  1. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge


    Or even more nitpicking, they will "bring in stop-on-request for night buses. You should be able to ask the driver to let you off between stops, so you’re as close to home as possible".

    Well, there's a reason bus drivers don't (or shouldn't) stop on request. Most bus-stops have a raised kerb and lighting, so that people alighting from the bus can see where they are stepping, and know it's on solid gound. The first time a bus driver lets someone off where they want, and they fall down a hole or get hit by another vehicle because they're in the middle of the road, who do you think is going to get sued (hint: it won't be the passenger).

    1. John G Imrie

      Won't be the passenger.

      Depends on how the law is worded, but I'd suggest that if you get off at anywhere other than a bus stop then you agree to shoulder the risk.

      1. TeeCee Gold badge

        Easy answer.

        Bring back the old "Routemaster" design, where you could hop on and off pretty much where you wanted.

        It was always amusing on a Routemaster Night Bus to see some lagered up prune fall foul of a combination of his underestimation of the bus's speed and his hopelessly overoptimistic appraisal of the state of his sense of balance.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      stop on request?

      I can see that working. Not.

      New game, get on the bus with 20 mates, and arrange for the next in line to request that the bus stop 10 yards after the previous one got off, just as the driver gets into 2nd gear. Meanwhile the guy who got of 10 yards back has run after the bus & got back on. See how long you can keep that up for.

      Pretty typical LibDem stuff really. Populist, half-baked and unworkable.

      1. hplasm

        See how long you can keep that up for.

        Pissed up cretins running 10 yards? About 10 seconds.

      2. The Jase


        That bus game... In other countries people would not do that, even when pissed as it would inconvenience others. Seems there are a lot of people out there who do not give a shit about anyone else.

        I would like to see the driver in said situation call the coppers, but keep them playing. When the coppers arrive, they get hauled off to the drunk tank, and get charged with disturbing the peace.

        They keep doing it and they are ASBOed from public transport.

    3. Nigel 11
      Thumb Down

      Another reason it's a bad idea.

      As soon as stop-on-request is implemented, some low-life will request that the bus stops in an ill-lit place away from any CCTV cameras, at which point a mob of masked criminal associates will storm onto the bus, rob all the passengers, and disappear into the dark.

      This is of course one of the reasons that no sane person stops for hitch-hikers any more, not even vulnerable-looking female ones (or even, especially not for vulnerable-looking female ones).

      1. John G Imrie

        Not a bus user then?

        Every bus I've been on on the last 5 years has a two way radio and a video surveillance system installed.

  2. Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    "They like the idea of quick-report buttons on social networking sites"

    There goes the possibility of using the Lib-Dems as an Up Yours vote then. Shame, they were doing reasonably well until they hitched their wagon to this feckless idea.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      they still work.

      Not enough people will care about it to vote for them so it still might be enough to force a hung parliament.

    2. Jolyon

      Is it really that important?

      Stupid idea, sure, but sufficient to affect a voting decision?

      Not a big enough deal for me.

      1. Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

        On its own, no, it's not that important

        But if they can't see through the self-serving idiot that's driving this issue then it calls their judgment into question on all issues, not just this one,

    3. Adam Williamson 1


      if that's the worst thing about them, it beats out the others by a mile. After all, trying to decide what's the worst thing about the current Labour lot is like playing pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey on a sodding donkey farm, and the Tories are, well, Tories. It's barely even a contest.

      1. Piro


        The Lib Dems don't make me weep at the thought of voting for them.

        Although my seat is inevitably Conservative, it's time to throw my Lib Dem vote in there anyway.

        Labour's campaign is pretty much: Yes, we know we had a couple of runs at it, and did a shit job, but this time it'll be different.. Eh, shit, who are we kidding.

        Tories: We're still the same bunch of stuck up cunts looking out for the old boys network, but now we're going to CHANGE anything for the sake of CHANGE. CHANGE CHANGE CHANGE CHANGE CHANGE

        Lib Dems: Here's some policies, some aren't amazingly fleshed out, but at least we haven't a) fucked up the country, and b) aren't a bunch of cunts. Vote for us, cheers.

  3. Jamie McCallion


    Just some of the major political "non-IT" issues that the reg has been concerned with have been the database state, id cards, biometric passports, cctv... All of those are dealt with in the lib-dem manifesto, with the sorts of resolution that the reg has been asking for (ie, regulation and scrapping).

    Tax reform is going to be in the form of a local income tax to replace council tax. That certainly qualifies as the largest change for a generation, surely?

    Then voting reform, too.

    Labour and Tory manifestos also include "detail" steps like curbing violence towards public service staff. And Tory manfiesto includes provision for privatising the NHS and turning it into a medicare-style system with private suppliers vying for publicly-described price-lists, performance-related pay for GPs, etc. Healthcare has also been a theme of some of the reg's work over the past few years, hasn't it?

    I don't like the editorial direction that the reg has taken this week with the manifesto launches.

    I know I can go and read my technology news & comment elsewhere, and, you know what? Smell you later. Smell you later forever.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      Mind the door hitting you on the arse on the way out!

  4. Squirrel

    Better than a kick in the nuts

    To quote a image on b3ta... "We can't really f*** up this country more than they have, can we have a go now...?"

    Any one that reads party policies pre-election and actually believes it deserves everything they will bend over to receive! Use your brain and use your vote!

  5. CD001

    To be fair

    ... leaving out any details of tech was probably a wise move - politicians seem to have an astonishingly low level of IT skill overall (I wouldn't trust Stephen Timms with a toaster) so what would they put in the manifesto with regards to tech and the internet?

    Although - to be fair they did universally vote against the Digital Economy Bill (well, those few that voted)... whether that was because they understood it and realised it needed some more work or they DIDN'T understand it and wanted more time to try and understand it; that's anyone's guess.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Big Brother


      It seems to be that despite the doublestandards of El Reg bias the Lib Dems are still the least objectional party by an order of magnitude.

      Voting down the DEBill just ads to that position.

  6. TrinityX
    Thumb Up

    "Technology has moved on, but the Lib Dems have not yet caught up."

    Given the grasp of I.T. shown by the other two mainstream parties, I'd give the LibDems some leeway on this. They sound like they're generally pointing in the right direction, and there are more pressing things to deal with first - like the whole I.D. card thing.

  7. Richard Wharram

    A nearly party indeed...

    If they just had more Evan Harris and less Lembit Opik they would be worth a vote.

    (or if they were the second party behind Labour in our area they would be worth a vote. Being a distant third makes a vote for them rather pointless.)

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Your vote.

      > Being a distant third makes a vote for them rather pointless.

      Your vote has as much effect as anyone else's.

      Just vote with your conscience.

      This whole idea of a wasted vote is pure BS.

      Your one vote will make not a jot of difference to the result so put it where you want it and never mind what anyone else will or won't do. If everyone did that we might have representative politics (almost).

  8. Natalie Gritpants Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    IR35 - pah that's nothing

    Listening to Radio 4 this morning it sounded like they're after any tax avoidance of any shape or form. Without actually specifying which tax avoidance they mean though so pretty vague.

  9. Richie G

    Has to be done...

    "fair taxes, fair future, fair deal and fair chance"?

    No matter what the outcome of the election will be, it'll be fat taxes, fat future. Fair deal? Fat chance...

  10. Craig (well, I was until The Reg changed it to Craig 16)

    Ho hum

    If this article, and the Labour one done by her on Monday, were taken on their own they'd be rather lightweight articles damning the parties with faint praise and condescension but after the "review" of the Tory manifesto I sense a different message.

    The Tory article was so sycophantic that I was very tempted to submit it to Private Eye for an OBN* award.

    If you'd bothered to publish a similarly critical one on the Tories then I'd be quite happy as that'd be fair but you don't.

    If you openly support the Tories then say so with an "I'm voting Tory and here's why" article rather than pretending to be inclusive with different standards for the three main parties.

    * order of the brown nose

    1. Anonymous Coward


      OBN it - its better than most of the ones they have.

    2. Jane Fae

      Sorry to disappoint...

      Craig 16...but my brief was to look at the three manifestoes - not the parties - from the point of view of ongoing issues that el Reg has been following.

      Oddly enough, given that we have disagreed with major slices of Labour policy in government for some while, we weren't too impressed with a manifesto that said we got it right and are offering more of the same.

      That left the other two. When it came down to the content of the manifesto (not the party ideology) the Tory one is written in a way that suggests a more than passing familiarity with ICT and some - not all - of current online issues. The Lib Dem one gave the serious impression that next to nothing of significance had happened in the area of IT over the last ten years.

      Sure: there was a checklist of things to do to preserve liberties at the end...but i had the advantage (????) of having read all three and thus being able to get some sense of the underlying tone behind each.

      I do think you miss the point. These pieces are NOT about urging readers to vote for particular parties, so much as a summary of the manifestoes from a Register perspective.

      Now, had i been doing these pieces for the Times Educational, and focussing on education, i might have come up with a wholly different result. Or if I was looking at the Health service - though even there, a major omission was the fact that the Lib Dems did not mentions the NHS spine project. all means cancel your subscription. But i still reckon you miss the point.

      1. Craig (well, I was until The Reg changed it to Craig 16)

        Thanks for the reply

        There was a post above mine that mentioned going elsewhere, I didn't, I can easily avoid threads and articles I don't like.

        Also, the posts above cover very good reasons why the Lib Dem manifesto is at least as good as the Tory one, if not better, from an IT/Register perspective. That is unless the Register perspective is "vote Tory".

        As I said, if you'd added critical points about the Tory manifesto as you had with the Labour/Lib Dem ones then I'd have been quite happy as they tend to follow The Reg's generally critical views on most things. Instead, the Tory one you did was sycophantic and failed to mention that of the three theirs is the most likely to be negative for IT workers, including £4bn in savings from public sector IT. Also, IT procurement costs and delays will just get massively worse with their insistence on lowering the tender bar to £10,000 meaning simple bits of work that may have taken a few weeks or months could be stretched into 1990s NHS waiting list times!

        Just a thought...

        p.s. well done on finally changing your name on here. No sarcasm, just support.

    3. David Adams

      Confused now

      "If this article, and the Labour one done by her on Monday..."

      That really confused me.

      Was wondering if Jane was related to John.............

      Did a search..............

      got it now.

      All I can say is You've got balls girl!

  11. Matthew Henry

    ... tax avoidance and evasion ...

    Avoision. "It's a word. Look it up."

  12. Stefing
    Thumb Up

    2 against 1

    This is the only real manifesto so far, 'the other two' having just produced substance-free vapour advertising which contradicts their past records.

  13. fangster

    Amazing bias of the author

    "lacking a unifying theme"

    "The Lib Dem desire to make the world a fairer place is encapsulated in its four key points: fair taxes, fair future, fair deal and fair chance (for children)."

    Er...might the theme be fairness?

    Compare this to the her bottom-licking piece on the conservative manifesto yesterday!

    Similar detailed policy on the "small stuff" in both Conservative manifestos (i.e. greater protection from abuse for NHS workers), in the LibDem one is magically "tinkering at a level way beyond what one would expect of a party seriously preparing for government".

    The scrapping of ID cards is important enough to be headline news in the Conservative manifesto piece and evidence of how amazingly different they are but in the LibDem piece is just part of list that proves they are going some way but "still don't get it".

    Come on, I expect better from El Reg!

    1. Jane Fae

      Not fair?

      I think that the very fact that "fairness" was put forward as the unifying theme is reason enough to question the presence of such.

      Sorry: but "fair" is one of those weasel words that is used by politicians to cover every eventuality and one for which i have very little time or respect. What is "fair" to a Daily Mail reader is likely to seem remarkably unfair to a reader of Socialist Worker - and vice-versa.

      As for the nit-picking/tinkering. Part of what i did was summarise...but part was inject an overall impression. The overall impression was one of confusion.

      There was next to no policy on the big digital issues - and what there was was almost all brushed into a single list towards the back.

      Traditionally, the Lib Dems have come from a background that respects liberties - and there is still some of that in the manifesto. But equally, there is a lot of nit-picking regulation. The two things that relate most to the internet are the idea of regulating air-brushing in ads (i presume they also mean photo-shopping) and the requirement for panic buttons on social networking sites.

      Both are low level, petty, controlling measures.

      Therefore, in terms of big picture/thematic stuff...Labour is "steady as she goes": we got it right and we're offering more of the same.

      Tories are wishing to roll back the state (whether they eventually deliver on that or not) and remove a lot of intrusive petty control from our lives and our data.

      And the Lib Dems want some sort of nebulous "fairness", supported by a raft of measures, some good, some bad - but all pointing in different directions.

  14. David Adams
    Thumb Up

    Give them a chance

    I'm a Labour supporter, but I didn't sign up to any of the things this government has done.

    Give the Liberals a chance, please.

    Even a hung parliament might help, get Vince as the chancellor, push through their voting reforms and scrap the NIR as a condition of helping either of the other partys.

  15. frank 3
    Thumb Up

    errr... ID and surveillance

    The manifesto went pretty big on that, it's a key point of difference between the lib-dems and the other two.

    Or is that no longer an issue el reg will report on? Are you going to be removing the ID channel?

    It's worth voting for them on this issue alone. 'cos the other parties will do 'naff all about the erosion of liberty in this country.

    Oh, I know how it sounds. You don't have a tinfoilhat icon, but y'know I'm old-fashioned enough not to believe that freedom is a right and not a privilege.

    1. Jane Fae

      Key point?

      Er...its NOT a key point of difference...and the manifesto did not go "pretty big" on those topics.

      There is a commitment to scrapping ID cards - which the Tories also make: surveillance gets, by my reckoning, just the one reference - on page 93! That just happens to be the same page on which they promise to regulate CCTV - except it is already some sense of HOW they would regulate it would help.

      I do think the problem is that you are responding to a chimera. You understand Liberal values and you know what you think Liberals in government would stand for...but i wasn't asked to write about Lib Dems, Liberals or Liberalism. I was asked to look at the manifesto - and it really is a bit of a wishy-washy document when it comes to ICT.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @frank 3

    There are two pages...

  17. HollyX

    Oh dear ...

    Dear Jane, if you're going to politically spin your reporting it could at least be done with subtlety. This is insulting to your readership, you may as well have written "The Lib Dems are stinky poo poo heads" and left it at that.

    I plan to be voting LibDem simply because they seem the least evil of the (realistic) candidates and if this sickly Pro-Tory torrent of reporting continues I'll vote with my feet in terms of Tech news, too.

  18. armyknife

    Better a meritocracy than titles

    I wonder how the comments about bias against the LibDems square with the author having once stood as a liberal parliamentary candidate ?

    1. Ian K

      Wrong question

      Any comments about bias only need to square with what she wrote in the article.

      Its the author that needs to square the bias in the article (especially apparent when compared to yesterday's glowing Tory manifesto review) with her previous political history.

      Perhaps she's trying to avoid bias towards the LibDems, her actual party of preference, and overdoing it?

  19. Anonymous Coward

    title schmitle

    man, why the poo poo in this editorial?

    for me the lib dems are the only party with real people in. tories - rich wankers, labour - lieing incompetant wankers

    if anyone watched the jeremy paxman interview you would see how well nick actually did. i am certainly voting for them and so is the mrs and i think my parent too. its time for a big change in this country and they are the only ones who will offer it. im old enough to remember how shite the tories can be and due to me not earning anywhere near £150,000 they wont care about me and my family etc.

    enough of this bias reg. you berate them then say its mostly good stuff. almost begrudgingly. i never took this website for a tory campaigning site, are you owned by murdoch?

    at least i trust their manifesto more than the other two's 'say anything to get in' scripts. red and blue continually prove they cannot be trusted at any level.

  20. Daniel Garcia 2
    Dead Vulture

    is EL REG...

    becoming a Tory rag?

    please don't

  21. Frumious Bandersnatch

    busses stopping on a whim

    is all fine and dandy, but can they make the trains run on thyme?

  22. David McMahon

    Vote Lib Dem

    By Voting for Lib Dem you are not voting for the greedy and smug Labour party and the greedy and smug Tory party (but at least they are supposed to be greedy and smug)

    Lib Dem for the win :)

  23. MJI Silver badge

    I saw their advert being filmed (In my head)

    I had a very odd very short dream about them.

    Cut to a film studio with their leader in a red sidecar with wings, and the well known music going.

    Yes I KNOW he should have been on the bike and Cable in the sidecar.

    This is what happens when you tidy up your Wallace & Grommit recordings during an election campaign.

    Yes the same dream claimed that Nick Cleggs dad was Norman Clegg, and I think the Sallis link did it,

    So it is up to you, is the Liberal Democrat theme Wallace & Grommit or Last of the Summer Wine?

    Final question who plays Shawn & Wendoline?

  24. Richard Jukes


    I just dont care. Whoever gets in, its going to be a rough ride. I'd rather in all fairness let Aunty Lizz govern for four years - at least she wouldnt fill her pockets and boots with grub and the silverware.

    1. Craig (well, I was until The Reg changed it to Craig 16)

      Maybe she doesn't need to because...

      ... her ancestors filled their pockets and boots for her.

      I may think many of our MPs are lying, scheming weasels but at least the people of their constituencies elected them to the position of lying, scheming weasel.

  25. ElFatbob

    'strong and free from interference'

    'The Lib Dems will ensure that the BBC remains "strong and free from interference".'

    I thought banning the Labour party would be against Lib Dem principles?

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