back to article Martha Lane Fox hits caps lock, yells at small biz websites

Martha Lane Fox, known affectionately as the "Government Digital Champion", has announced (another) initiative to get Brits online: "an exciting vision" called Go ON UK. Launching Go ON today, co-founder Lane Fox said that she wanted to "make the UK the world’s most digitally capable nation where no one – old or …


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  1. Adrian Challinor

    Funded by who?

    "Age UK, BBC, Big Lottery Fund (BIG), E.ON, Lloyds Banking Group, Post Office Limited and TalkTalk have all pledged money"

    That's BBC My license fee

    Age UK Lets hit the pensioners .... again

    E.On well, we know where they get their money

    Lloyds Owned by the tax payer

    Post Office About to do an all time hike on stamps

    Well played Miss Fox. You have my vote - NOT

    1. LinkOfHyrule

      Re: Funded by who?

      Aint she Miss Lane Fox not just Miss Fox? I think it's one of those poncey double thingy names.

  2. Matt J

    Bit ironic...

    ...highlighting MLF (unfortunate initials) for "hitting the caps lock", when El Reg seem to capitalise words in lots of their headlines these days?

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Bit ironic...

      One is sarcasm, the other not.

  3. SJRulez

    Small businesses that do go online grow twice as fast as their competitors, according to a McKinsey survey from 2011.

    And 3 quarters of online businesses fail completely, I still cant for the life of me understand why the gov seem to think they cant start an online business boom. Internet business doesn't generate huge volumes of jobs for people since most of it will be automated and the jobs they do generate tend to be manual such as order pickers\packers etc, we need more manufacturing and industry jobs since that's where we are seriously losing out to other countries.

    1. John H Woods Silver badge

      Whilst I agree...

      ... I would like to remind everyone that the UK is a *serious* manufacturing nation. I would like us to do more, and I would certainly welcome more support for UK industry. One of the first things we have to do is stop fetishizing small online start-ups on the one hand, and the financial services industry on the other. The former, as you say, generate very few jobs and the latter is so heavily taxpayer-supported it might as well be considered nationalized industry.

      But we have to get out of the "we don't make anything anymore" mindset - it's not helping us support the industry we really do have.

  4. Rameses Niblick the Third (KKWWMT)


    Looking at the websites for these initiatives, I'd say MLF needs to take some of her own advice and get some decent IT skills in, rather than a bunch of unimaginative, lazy feckers who rip off the last website they looked at.

    There is nothing engaging, original or (in my opinion anyway) graphically pleasing about any of it. And the cookie control feature, whilst required by EU law and supported by the ICO, has been taken wholesale from somewhere else. I know this because I found the original last week and discounted it as ugly and overly intrusive.

    So this is what all these companies are donating money towards, is it? They should rename the campaign to "Lets make every website on the internet look the same!" Sure, the usability goes through the roof, but lets face it, it will be boring as hell.

    1. Rameses Niblick the Third (KKWWMT)

      Re: Optional

      Sorry, I should say this is in relation to the second site in the article. The first one is better, just very short on anything like information or anything else useful.

    2. Camilla Smythe

      Re: Optional

      "And the cookie control feature, whilst required by EU law and supported by the ICO, has been taken wholesale from somewhere else. I know this because I found the original last week and discounted it as ugly and overly intrusive."

      Supported by the ICO....? Bwah-Hah-Hah

      It also does not appear to provide you with an option to say 'fuck off to you and your cookies' but rather chooses to offer a redirect to some page that might describe how to control cookies in your browser. It's like that shit you get on some websites where you get a button to say you like an article but the crap button is missing.

      Digital Inclusion... my Arse. Let's just make it really really hard for Joe[sephine] Punter to avoid us smearing GoogleShit all over their 'Browsing Experience'.


      Fixed it for you. Hope Martha likes the colour scheme.

      1. Dave Robinson
        Thumb Up

        Re: Optional

        Completely agree. Site works perfectly well without enabling the cookies. Maybe you need a button on that popup that says "don't bother me again". Just need to set a cookie to stop it being displayed every time :-)

    3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Failure is more than an option.

      It's nice to see that the FOI page is a 404:

      And that the privacy statement linked to from the cookie thing is the homepage. Informed consent means informing people before asking their consent.

      Still, Mrs Fox has a nice dress on.

  5. Doctor_Wibble

    Go on...

    > Martha Lane Fox, known affectionately as the "Government Digital Champion"

    And hereafter, "Mrs Doyle".

    1. frank ly

      Re: Go on...

      At least there will be no shortage of tea and sandwiches while she's in charge.

      1. Mr Young

        @Frank ly

        DRINK as well?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Go on...

        Inevitable riposte to GO ON UK!

        FOX OFF!

      3. Chronos

        Re: Go on...

        Problem is, all the sandwiches will be egg...

  6. Murphy's Lawyer

    Reg readers of a certain age will remember a radio programme featuring Michael Bentine, Spike Milligan, Peter Sellars and Harry Secombe, which was initially announced as the "Go On" show.

    Mine's the coat with the batter pudding in the inside pocket...

  7. This post has been deleted by its author

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Let's see if she can drum up as much support as she did for the mug punters who signed up for the IPO.

  9. Paul Harrison

    Mrs Doyle our Digitial Czar

    Ah, ye know you will!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Lots of noise

    Lots of noise, nothing to see here. Seriously if there are people who havn;t used the internet then they will have no idea who she is (lucky) and will in a years time be none the wiser as to this `initiative`. As for small companies having a web site, yes great lets get lots of companies who have no direct need for embrace an area were they will use it as a glorified business card as thats all they realy want and need. Just becasue you can don't mean you should.

    Personaly though I fail to see why this person is in any form of power, she has never ever said anything or done anything that has helped the UK in her role from what I have looked at and please prove me wrong but this is again more spanky noise that in reality will fruitate nothing I fear :(

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    just stop...

    ... Go-on-ing around.

    Paris - just because.

  12. Mr Young

    Martha - I'm sure she knows all about it!

    I must be deficient in some way - I keep thinking of this icon?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    MLF – Go ON UK’s extraordinary challenge

    90% of those under 25 with short attention spans and poor attention to detail will read that as:

    MILF - Go on - UK's extraordinary challenge

  14. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Goo Nuk

    I think I see the problem

    > the new movement ... <name of website>

    It's kinda difficult to get people to become "netizens" by promoting a website to them. If they can get to the URL they're already converted.

    Maybe next, she'll start promoting letterboxes with a mass-mailing campaign.

    1. Captain DaFt

      Re: Goo Nuk

      Yep, reminds me of the old "Illiterate? Call this number for free help." billboard campaign in the US from years gone by.

  15. Anonymous Coward 15

    Would you like

    a cup of tea, Father?

  16. Seanmon
    Thumb Down


    My SO ran a small biz for 10 years and had online ordering presence. Proved to be a complete pain in the arse, as you'd spend all your time packing and posting £10 orders to individuals instead of concentrating on the big buyers where the £££ is.

    Selling online is great if you're a cottage industry with another day job. For a real small business trying to ship physical product, it's a luxury.

  17. Jacqui

    BBT - penny blossoms

    This episode of the big bang theory captured the expectations, stupid mistakes and realities of the "web shop" magic bullet.

    I wonder if any of these website meet OWASP guidelines - going by experience I suspect the web devs think the guidelines are "a handy set of code/shortcuts".

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Who needs to use the internet...?

    ...for marketing purposes when, like MLF, you have seemingly a permanent residency within the BBC news department, and are wheeled out, with monotonous regularity, to blow your own trumpet, any time there's a vaguely intarweb-related news item to cover?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Longest 5 minutes of fame on record

    The stage left thataway ------->

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just a sop

    Just a sop to the usual 'the government must do something' brigade. At least she is cheaper than a big government department of paper-shuffling wasters. The Tories know perfectly well the best thing the government can do for business is stay out of the way and stop taxing it. They've also realised that "supporting" the technologically clueless is necessary to come across as visionary 'pro jobs' types to avoid Labour flak.

  21. Hawknic

    You have to be there! YOU DO!

    Most small businesses are sole traders. Many of these are tradespeople/ professionals or serve a small local market (lots in agriculture). Another slice just want to be their own boss and don't necessarily care about growth very much.

    For the rest, help is there, cheaply, for anyone who wants to do business online (and there's always Ebay, Amazon etc for small retailers who are still learning how to deal with deliveries etc) so why do we need to subsidise it and have a bunch of government types (who are so good at tech stuff) tell us about it?

  22. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Interesting concept. The people I work for send us out to go and fix things (quite big things actually). I can't quite see how we'll be able to do that over the 'net.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    yeah ive got the internet its shit

  24. bobbles31

    Whenever I read anything related to MLF I always end up rembering a quote from one of the pratchet books.

    "the problem with stupid rich people is that they give them silly jobs for serious money."

  25. J.G.Harston Silver badge


    Err, shouldn't that be or has the point of the hierarchial domain naming system just completely and utterly passed them by?

    Particulalrly as they managed to get correct.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ah, go on, go on, go on...go on!

    More sandwiches?

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As ON is now he generally recognised abbreviation for Ontario, no doubt tourism officials in the Canadian province will welcome the free plug given by the UK government.

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