Democracy Inaction: UK’s DEB Passes

By Jim Rossignol on April 8th, 2010 at 11:45 am.


The bill was opposed by the Liberal Democrats and some Labour MPs, but it has essentially been forced through by Labour and the Conservatives in around two hours of the final reading. Although Clause 18 – which gave the government extensive powers to block sites across the net – has been removed, it has been replaced with powers for the secretary of state for business to block “a location on the internet which the court is satisfied has been, is being or is likely to be used for or in connection with an activity that infringes copyright”. That means an unelected peer, Lord Peter Mandelson, now gets final say over content on the internet, albeit mediated by the courts. Forty-two other clauses were considered in just five minutes.

If you are British, please make sure you are registered to vote in the upcoming general election. As James Graham points out in the Guardian today, only a vote for the Liberal Democrats will do anything to fix the broken political system that allowed this to happen in the first place.

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379 Comments »

  1. Spyglass says:

    I was gonna vote for Liberal Democrats anyway.

    • TeeJay says:

      Some of the Lib Dems have been involved in writing this Bill: eg Lord Clement-Jones and Lord Razzall
      see: “The Lib Dem assault on online liberty – a Lib Dem-backed amendment to the digital economy bill would help make the internet less free, not decrease piracy” http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/libertycentral/2010/mar/10/liberal-democrats-digital-economy-bill

      Lib Dems make the Digital Economy Bill even worse
      http://www.pirateparty.org.uk/blog/2010/mar/6/lib-dems-make-digital-economy-bill-even-worse/

      25 Lib Dem Prospective Parliamentary Candidates sign letter asking Lib Dem Parliamentarians to think again on Digital Economy Bill
      http://www.libdemvoice.org/twentyfive-lib-dem-ppcs-sign-letter-asking-lib-dem-parliamentarians-to-think-again-on-digital-economy-bill-18185.html

      Only 16 out of 63 Lib Dem MPs actually bothered to turn up to vote and even many Lib Dem supporters have been disappointed at the half-hearted and belated opposition the party has put up.

      I have had bad experiences of Lib Dems saying whatever they think you want to hear – being all things to all people – and then doing the exact opposite. There is a very good reason that despite Lib Dem manifestos a lot of progressive / liberal / left people don’t automatically support the Lib Dems and there is a reason that their support has been more or less static for such a long time now. IMO it’s because in reality a lot of them are even more two-faced and untrustworthy than the rest!

      It’s only fair to actually give credit to *all* the MPs (from whatever party) who actually turned up and voted against the Bill, and stop pretending the sun shine’s out of the Lib Dems arses. It is also worth noting the that there are several other parties apart from Con / Lab / Lib Dem standing in the upcoming elections. People need to be informed about all the candidates in their area and return some decent MPs, rather than get hung up about the fake party politics bullshit that reaches its grand crescendo around election time.

    • Grunt says:

      Thank you, Teejay. You’ve managed to put across a point I was trying to make far more effectively than I did.

      The Lib Dems are an answer to NOTHING.

    • archonsod says:

      Right, so they amend a clause granting Mandelson the power to arbitrarily shut down sites on a whim, and place it instead into the hands of the courts, where most grown up countries do their law enforcement.

      Not seeing how that’s a bad thing myself. Particularly not seeing how it’s any worse, if anything, I’d say it’s far better.

    • Beanbee says:

      Lib Dems don’t whip their MPs as much as the conservatives or Labour, hence why they don’t have a whole party consensus on really anything.

      P.s. 3 cheers for Tom Watson for breaking the whip for the first time in his career.

    • TeeJay says:

      @ archonsod: “Not seeing how that’s a bad thing myself. Particularly not seeing how it’s any worse, if anything, I’d say it’s far better”

      Here’s some Lib Dems explaining in their own words: http://www.libdemvoice.org/twentyfive-lib-dem-ppcs-sign-letter-asking-lib-dem-parliamentarians-to-think-again-on-digital-economy-bill-18185.html and if you follow the other links on that post you can find a lot of detailed discussion.

      My main point is the Lib Dem party as a whole have not simply taken a single and consistent stance against the Digital Economy Bill.

  2. Sobric says:

    Fucksocks.

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    HermitUK says:

    What really peeves me is that Redwood, my local MP, was at the second reading and opposed the bill. Then didn’t bother to vote.

    And the Lib Dems are hardly the shining champion of digital rights. They’re just as guilty in getting this passed through into law as the other two parties.

    Also, list of how the MPs voted (those who turned up), if you fancy seeing what your own people did: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmtoday/cmdebate/32.htm#hddr_2

    • Rob Lang says:

      John Redwood is my MP too. I wrote him an email and a letter and he replied saying that this was the sort of rush job that could be expected from a Labour Government. But a deal was done with the Tories.

      I saw an interesting tweet: 36.5% RT @dikini MP turnout for #debill vote, 61.4% voter turnout in #ge2005, MPs don’t lecture again on our democratic responsibilities

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      The Lib Dems did nominally oppose it. They also want to replace the House Of Lords with an elected senate. That alone gets my vote. This bill would not have got this far is the Lords had any real experience with the contemporary world, or was a genuinely independent house.

    • Ghiest says:

      Exactly what mine said I quote “I share your concern: I was in IT for 10 years before being elected. DS”, Desmond Swayne didn’t even bother to turn up let alone vote against it.

      But unfortunately it’s pretty much a safe seat for this asshole as Commys er conservatives have held the seat for the last 90 years or something stupid.

    • Sobric says:

      That’s precisely why it’s been pushed through parliament now, as most MPs have buggered off to fight in their constituency. My local MP (Lib Dem) didn’t turn up either, but I can’t really blame him since my constituency is meant to be a “swing seat” for the Tories. I’m still voting for him regardless, he fights the good fight on many issues relevant to me.

    • Jannakar says:

      @Jim

      Like the US Senate is less prone to big-business influence than Congress? Don’t make me laugh. If anything the Lords does good job to staying independent from the exactly the sort of shit which got us into this mess in the first place. However it was clear that Mandelson wanted this bill passed, so it was passed.

      The upper house (in whatever form) will never be free from political or financial influence and the LibDems are smoking crack.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      The US Senate is very explicitly partisan, yes. But it doesn’t have to be. Also, in the UK we can have *unelected lifetime peers*. Think about how broken that is.

      No, the Lords doesn’t do a good job, it does a terrible job. Most of the Lords members didn’t even understand what this bill was about.

    • battles_atlas says:

      @ Jannaker
      You’re right that an elected second house isn’t on its own going to solve many of the problems the political system has, but goddamnit if requiring all legislaters to be elected isn’t a fundamental issue in a ‘democratic’ system, then I don’t know what is.

      I’m very relieved to see that my mp Nick Palmer voted no as he said he would.

    • Kanamit says:

      Just abolish the ruddy institution. Bicameral legislatures are the worst.

    • Po0py says:

      My bloody MP didn’t even respond to any of my letters. He’s a Lib Dem too so I would have thought he wouldn’t mind sending off an automated reply, taking the party line on the issue just to get me to shut up. Didn’t even do that which now leaves me an a predicament on who to vote for.

      “This bill would not have got this far is the Lords had any real experience with the contemporary world, or was a genuinely independent house.” Jim Rossignol

      Agreed. The problem is that the bill covers so many issues, from photographers copyright issues, to DAB radio issues, internet piracy and such that no one Lord could ever claim to be well informed about all the issues. As a result you have a poorly written bill simply because one Lord makes an amendment suggestion and receives very little opposition because nobody knows what the fuck he’s going on about. So the amendment just gets accepted. And I haven’t even touched on how the lobbyists have influenced the bill. But the result: A very dodgy and poorly written Bill. This is why a proper line by line scrutiny of the bill would have been the right thing to do.

    • Kirian says:

      WRONG! Redwood was there yesterday, spoke out against the bill and the wash-up in general and voted against it.

      http://www.johnredwood.com/

      http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2010-04-06b.836.0&s=speaker%3A10499#g845.2

      He’s my local MP too.

    • Kirian says:

      Oh, that link doesn’t work, by the way.

      Not that I’m happy about any of this complete and utter fucking hogwash of a mess that’s been created. Nor did I vote for the Hon. Mr Redwood (nor would I have done if I had been living here at the time).

      You can’t vote Labour because they’ve proved themselves corrupt, incompetent and against the idea of civil liberties, especially if they can profit from it. You can’t vote Tory because, no matter how good men like WIlliam Hague are, they have to toe the party line. That line appears to be ‘smarm, grease, slick’

      The Lib Dems aren’t exactly innocent, and have been known to talk up a completely unworkable policy.

      Oh, what’s a boy/girl to do?

    • Gorgeras says:

      While we’re on the subject of constitutional politics, I’ve always pointed out to people that you can not have an independent upper chamber and an elected upper chamber. The moment they become elected they become the subject of popular opinion, ‘safe seats’ and competitive party politics.

      Unless there are restrictions on who can vote for them and who can stand, there’s no chance of independence. The question is, who should be a qualified voter for upper chamber seats and to sit and for how long?

    • Ghiest says:

      Got a reply from my MP after I sent a not so polite email

      Thanks.

      I thought my colleague the Shadow Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt MP set out our stall yesterday pretty well in the debate. He was clear: we will vote against much of it and use our clout to exclude it during the wash-up; we accept some of it as desirable and urgent; we will review its provisions if elected to government.

      Remember the provisions on disconnection are still many months away and further votes will take place after the election (whoever wins) before they can be enacted. DS

      Gives me slight hope still I suppose

    • Quirk says:

      Hell no. If you care one whit about your civil liberties, you’d be praising the House of Lords to the skies for its record over the last few years. It’s fought the government on a whole range of matters from the 42 days detention without being charged (for British citizens) to indefinite detention without trial (for non-British citizens – the death of habeas corpus) to the ID cards fiasco. Perhaps the House of Lords didn’t have the expertise required this time round. So be it. They generally have a much higher level of expertise than the career politicians of the Commons.

      We have become a shockingly illiberal state the last few years. The Lords has done a fantastic job at fighting the rot. The debates in the Lords are usually deeper and more to the point than in the Commons; that it is peopled largely by people whose life experience has been less bound up with political manoeuvring than the denizens of the Commons gives it a greater breadth of consideration. It has the fault that it tends to have older members than the Commons, with the prejudices of age that that implies; it has not always been superb at keeping up with social change, and is no better at making computer law than the lower House is. Nonetheless, to rip out the Lords as stands and replace it with a second House of Commons, full of people toeing the party line for fear of losing the whip, would be disastrously foolish. You will not get an independent upper chamber by electing its members.

      Electing people to govern you is a fine thing, but without certain checks and balances in place, you get rulers who need think no legislation out in more depth than how it will appear to the regular tabloid reader. That the House of Commons is, even at this unfortunate and authoritarian stage, significantly better than that is something we can be thankful for; but the last thing it needs is a partisan upper House to wave through its whims without complaint.

    • TeeJay says:

      @ Kirian: “Oh, what’s a boy/girl to do?”

      Some other options:

      Independent Wokingham Parliamentary candidate Mark Ashwell calls for all politicians to take lie detector tests during the run-up to the election: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/election_2010/england/8598427.stm

      A Shinfield councillor is to stand as the first Green Party candidate for Wokingham MP in this year’s General Election: http://www.getwokingham.co.uk/news/s/2068076_green_campaigner_steps_up_to_be_counted_in_general_election

      Owen, Peter (Also known as Top Cat), Monster Raving Loony Party
      …or someone called “Zebedee” for UKIP

    • battles_atlas says:

      If you want alternatives start here (though only standing in Bristol this time sadly)

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_People%27s_Manifesto

      @Quirk you make a good point about independance from the political machine, but there must be a better system for deciding who gets into the Lords than the current mess of hereditary peers (!), the Church of England (!!), and tax dodgers who bankroll the party leaders (!!!).

  4. Chris Evans says:

    Would’ve been better if they let it drop until Parliament is back in action so they could actually think about what they are doing. Bah!

    Lib Dems getting my vote…in a safe Lib Dem seat!

  5. Arnulf says:

    Don’t you have something like the Piratenpartei over there? In our last election I voted for them. I’m done with the socialdemocrats and their false promises.

    • Rob Lang says:

      Yes but they are not national, so there aren’t many people standing for them.
      http://www.pirateparty.org.uk/

    • Daniel Klein says:

      http://www.pirateparty.org.uk/

      PPs have sprung up all over Europe. Much as I love their policies, it’s a little unrealistic to expect them to really change anything any time soon. If the model of the German Green party is anything to go by, we’ll need about two decades before the pirate parties get into any coalition in power, and by then it’ll have forgotten why it was founded in the first place.

      Fucking hippies, amirite.

    • Riesenmaulhai says:

      But big media for pirate parties means bigger parties to consider the pirate’s agenda. It might be for populistic reasons only, but you don’t ask your soldiers why they’re fighting for you if you’re close to losing the war*. At least it happened in Germany with the hardcorecapitalists, er, liberals (FDP).

      * Yeah, I kinda roleplay Civ4

  6. jon_hill987 says:

    I wonder how much it cost the film/music industry to buy this result? A feck sight more than they ever lost to piracy I bet.

    • robrob says:

      Just one holiday for Mandy seems to have done. Who knew lobbying was so cheap!

  7. robrob says:

    “or is likely to be used for or in connection with an activity that infringes copyright”

    So any website then? I wrote to my conservative MP and he wrote back saying they were largely in support of the bill, especially the bits about blocking websites. For people interested, El Reg – the notoriously liberal online tabloid / Playmobil recreation society – has been covering the bill’s progress in satisfying detail here: http://www.theregister.co.uk/Tag/mandybill

  8. Real Horrorshow says:

    I’m not a UK resident but this is certainly unfortunate and alarming to hear. I expect this sort of thing from mainland European countries but not Britain.

    I’m not familiar with the legal system there, but certainly there’s got to be some course of action to challenge this. This would end up in the court system instantaneously in the states.

    • Rich says:

      Maybe the European Court of Human Rights. They (theoretically) have the power to go over the heads of national governments.

    • battles_atlas says:

      @Real Horrorshow
      Yes I’m hugely envious of you Americans with your political system unencumbered by the taint of corporate lobbying

    • Alexander Norris says:

      I expect this sort of thing from mainland European countries but not Britain.

      I’m unsure what sort of fantasy world you live in, because continental Europe has had a far better track record of protecting consumer rights and privacy than the UK in the last two decades.

    • alseT says:

      What Alexander Norris said. Your comment made me go: “What.”

    • Real Horrorshow says:

      @battles_atlas

      Where did I say it wasn’t? Lobbying doesn’t even have anything to do with what I said. I was simply asking if this could get thrown out by some process like it could if it was in the U.S. (by being deemed unconstitutional in the supreme court). Knee-jerk sarcasm isn’t a good look.

      @Alexander Norris

      I wasn’t talking about “consumer rights” so much as censorship and freedom of speech. I don’t follow the politics of individual European countries on my spare time, but I get the impression recently that some countries are incredibly weak on it (Netherlands) while I always felt that the U.K. was one of the “freer” countries on the continent, like it had been indisputably the freest country on earth for a long time in the early modern period.

    • Rinox says:

      Add another “huh?” to that. Contrary to some propaganda, the ‘liberal’ mainland European countries are many more miles away from a Big Brother state than the UK currently is.

    • Real Horrorshow says:

      Well I guess that’s what I get for getting most of my info on liberty in Europe from Pat Condell videos.

    • Rinox says:

      :-D Ok, maybe I was being a dick and I had that coming. What you said about free speech is generally true btw – but in terms of privacy and rights of the individual citizen the UK is moving in a very spooky direction. In that context, the right to insult someone/a certain population group (which is often what the free speech laws come down to) seems rather hollow.

      I hope that sounded less like a dick! :-)

    • Alexander Norris says:

      @Real Horrorshow

      but I get the impression recently that some countries are incredibly weak on it (Netherlands) while I always felt that the U.K. was one of the “freer” countries on the continent

      You’re insane. :P

      The Netherlands are pretty much the last bastion of unrestricted free speech and individual rights unhampered by political correctness (although in recent year, the Christian right has tried to curtail this slightly). The UK has just spent a decade doing everything it can to turn into something right out of the pages of 1984. Aside from Germany’s obsession with erasing all mentions of Nazi Germany from everywhere ever and Italy being run by a man who owns more or less every major media venue in the country, continental Europe has a near-sterling record in protecting basic individual freedoms.

      I’d argue we even do a far better job of it than the US is doing, what with not kowtowing to big business nearly as much.

    • Banana says:

      Except France then, they seem to go in the direction the UK is going which is a bit sad. They already have the “shut down internet”-stuff and they are working on some dodgy surveillance stuff. I would love to claim my country did a good job but they implemented mass surveillance on internet traffic last year.

      Rest assured that everyone will be pissed like hell about this, media will write a lot about it and after a while it will die out because the government throws some promises about tax cuts or something around. That’s what happened here, instead of basic rights we are debating tax cuts on maids and cleaning.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      @Banana – not really. Sarkozy is trying, but he’s mostly been cock-blocked since he came to power. The Conseil Constitutionnel mutilated the part of the Hadopi law (basically our DEB) that allowed the government any sort of control over disconnection, by making it a requirement to actually convict people in front of a court before disconnection can even be considered, and even then the decision has to be subject to a further committee review if it comes back in favour of disconnection.

      The stuff about banning the veil (and other ostentatious religious symbols) in public is mostly about protecting individual freedom from religious proselytism, contrary to popular opinion.

    • Banana says:

      The veil stuff I don’t care about, but as I see it even passing Hadopi is a failure… quite frankly. Hopefully he gets cockblocked more but I don’t know, things can always change, people can be talked into stuff etc.

      Not to mention a huge chunk of the western world participates in the Acta negotiations which is bound to be a giant shit-fest as well because RIAA and their likes have joined the negotiations.

      Frankly I’m not very optimistic about any country right now, they all seem to be run by aging luddites with little to no connection to their voters who think the internet is like any other communication method.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      @Banana – definitely agree with you. At least continental Europe isn’t nearly as afraid of political debate as the UK, though, so there’s a slimmer of hope still. :(

  9. Alex Bakke says:

    I’m actually at the Lib Dem office right now, in Newbury, doing database stuff. We’re going to win this time.

    • dartt says:

      It was only when a friend of mine was discussing tactical voting that I looked up the results of the last election in Newbury and saw how close it was between the Conservative party and the Lib Dems, needless to say I was pleased to see I lived somewhere where I could vote for the party I wanted and feel that it had a chance to make a difference too.

      Keep up the good work!

    • Alex Bakke says:

      Feel free to drop by and help out, we need all the assistance we can get. Like you said, there’s a tiny margin between Conservatives and Lib Dems, around 2000 votes I believe. One of the key reasons behind David Rendel losing in 2005 was because he was in support of the ban on hunting, and thankfully most people have forgotten about that now.

      Drop me an email at bakka001@westberks.org if you want to know more.

  10. Radiant says:

    Fuck me this is disgraceful.

    ps that curves advert pop up thingy crashes my browser [firefox]

  11. pignoli says:

    Ugh, this is awful and a huge blow for creativity and liberty.

    I’ll echo everything Jim said about the Lib Dems. They seem to be the only people even slightly aware of the realities behind these issues. My Lib Dem MP replied to my emails stating his opposition to the DEB – he and they have my vote for sure.

    • Grunt says:

      I’ve actually voted for the Lib Dems on several occasions – well, ok, once that I can recall – but they lost any favour, and any future votes, from me when they flatly refused to give the Scottish people a say in how they wanted their country to be run, via a referendum. “Under no circumstances” said Nicol Stephen, a position I found to be neither Liberal nor Democratic.

      Anyone who thinks this party of mealy-mouthed fence-sitters will fix anything in this country has their head screwed on entirely backwards.

  12. Dreamhacker says:

    The french got it right, just evict the fucking nobility from politics unless they are voted in by the people.

    • Starky says:

      Which they would be, as they have the money and contacts to do so, or more to the point have the money and influence to buy off elected MPs regardless of background.

      We might strip them of titles, but it would be almost impossible (short of stripping them of wealth and freedom) to strip them of the influence they hold in our system.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      Today’s “nobility” is defined by how much money they have and who they know, not by largely irrelevant hereditary titles, and they are alive and healthy in the political circuit. Until political campaigning stops being about pumping money into buying ad time, the nobility isn’t going anywhere.

      It hasn’t gone anywhere over in France, either. The only difference is that the French are a little more politically responsible than the British are.

  13. Starky says:

    That is the problem with this screwed up system, no one serves as an MP (or very few do) to serve the British public, they all go into politics as a career.
    So they obviously do what they can to earn money, and the money lies with corporations, either funding, or with careers after they leave politics.

    So over and over the interest of the public is shafted in order to serve the greed and interests of the political lobbyists with the most wealth.

    All of the parties are the same, the ones who say different are just saying so to be contrary to those who are in power – and the few, those precious few honest MPs who do care about the interest of their constituents over that of their own bank account are drowned out in a tide of backhanders, and reach-arounds.

    Is it any wonder more people under 30 vote for X Factor than they do in elections.
    A vote in X factor actually matters, a vote in an election is just swapping one slimy eel for another 99% of the time.

  14. Corporate Dog says:

    Our governments must gossip with each other over coffee.*

    It was recently ruled in our courts that the Federal Communications Commission doesn’t (presently)have the authority to enforce Net Neutrality; a decision which paves the way for our network providers to decide which internet traffic should be able to dominate the bandwidth.

    So if your favorite gaming site doesn’t pay a premium to Comcast? You might be able to access it… slowly. Perhaps not at all, if another big gaming site decides to pay that premium, and signs some sort of exclusivity deal.

    Bye, RPS. Nice knowing you.

    * Or tea, I suppose. Probably a bit of a sore spot, and not one that our governments would want to dredge up when they’re chatting about how best to screw us.

    • Sobric says:

      “not one that our governments would want to Dredge up”

      I wouldn’t mind dredging it up. I like my tea strong and it’s been brewing in the harbour for 250 odd years.

    • Corporate Dog says:

      Mmmmm. Earl Grey, petroleum compounds, and lobster poop.

      We will have to tax you for it, of course.

    • Real Horrorshow says:

      Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.

  15. Pzykozis says:

    Meh, I can’t really agree with any of the parties conduct with this, Lib dems supposedly opposed it yet didn’t turn out in number to vote, and of course the labour front benchers and the tories are the real ****s in this as they forced this through so quickly, atleast some of labour’s backbenchers were fighting against it.

    Overall just a sad day for our democracy.

    • Mike Arthur says:

      The Lib Dems did oppose this but they didn’t have the numbers, even if they all turned up, to stop this going through. More Labour MPs voted against the whip than Conservatives. The blame lies squarely on the Labour and Conservatives for this.

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      There were 189 Ayes. Lib Dem’s only hold 63 seats in the House of Commons so even if the other 45 or so turned up & voted No it would still have passed by about 100 votes.
      Labour have 341 seats, Tories have 193 so you’re fucked when they stick together even if some of them don’t bother turning up or go against the party whips.

    • Colthor says:

      @Pzykozis/Malibu Stacey
      You can’t blame the Tories for the bill passing – only nine of them even bothered to turn up, and five of those voted against it. Blame them for being lazy, useless fuckers by all means, but they didn’t vote for it.
      Only 18 of the much-praised LibDems bothered to turn up and vote against it, which shows how much they really cared.
      Christ, more Labour MPs rebelled than votes from any other party! The whole thing’s a joke.

      “Actually vote this time”? Unlike the people you’re electing. Unless they’re bribed/ordered to by the party whip.

    • Pzykozis says:

      @Myself and commenters… you never know, this reply system… is fun

      Colthor I agree with you somewhat;

      My main problem with LD and the tories, is simply that they just didn’t bother, they chose not to vote which doesn’t help at all, it doesn’t even show any real care one way or the other. The point is they have the chance to vote and have their opinions heard, but instead they chose the easier option of not even bothering, why should I bother to vote for someone like that?

      Watson would get my vote atleast he tried to do something.

  16. Colthor says:

    A slightly more easily readable breakdown of party stances, with a list of everyone (by party) who voted against:
    http://www.libdemvoice.org/the-digital-economy-bill-saints-the-mps-who-voted-against-labours-internet-freedom-clampdown-debill-18757.html
    (Thanks, Gap Gen!)

    Seems that hardly anyone bothered to turn up and vote for it, and no fucker at all turned up to vote against it. Without a powerful bribery group to buy MPs to do our bidding we can’t really expect anything else.

  17. Kieron Gillen says:

    Pleased to see that my MP voted Nay, as he said he would.

    KG

    • MrPyro says:

      Lucky you: my MP voted Aye, even after replying to my e-mail stating she agreed with my concerns.

      Probably wasn’t going to vote for her anyway: this just cements it.

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      KindredPhantom says:

      My MP didn’t even respond after 2 e-mails or even turn up to the reading.

  18. Paul C says:

    The golden age of the internet is over, it’s all downhill from here. Sorry chaps.

  19. Spandex says:

    Shame voting for the LDs is a wasted vote. Conservatives for the economy is ultimately the only sensible vote.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      And yet insane in every conceivable way.

    • Corporate Dog says:

      If your conservatives are anything like our US conservatives? HA! I say.

      For them, ‘fiscal responsibility’ is a buzzword that means, “Screw your social programs. We’re getting drunk, and then we’re writing up the defense budget.”

      And I’m not even talking about the fringe that have taken over the modern day Republican party. That’s a whole ‘nother level of batshit crazy.

    • Mike Arthur says:

      How is it a wasted vote? This isn’t first-past-the-post nationally, just locally. A Lib Dem MP is someone who has voting powers to vote on those issues.

      Also, if you look at what Vince Cable has been saying about the economy for the last few years and the Chancellors debate then voting for the Conservatives purely for the economy looks even more foolish.

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      sonofsanta says:

      Thinking any vote for a party other than the big two is a wasted vote is how we came to be stuck with two identical parties coloured red and blue in the first place. Don’t give in to the paranoia about wasted votes, if enough of us stop ourselves thinking like that and just vote Yellow we might actually get somewhere.

      (Note that I would normally be blue [by upbringing] but David Cameron makes me feel nauseous, he’s so slimy. I didn’t like Tony Blair, so why would I vote for Diet Tony Blair in Blue. So I am going through this whole “wasted vote” debate internally as well)

    • Radiant says:

      The thing with Cameron is that the Obama makeover has to stop.
      No matter how red you paint your car it will never be a fucking fire engine.

      The trouble is that the vast majority of people he appeals to do not remember the 80′s and early 90′s.

      LISTEN TO ME.
      IT WAS HORRIFIC.

      Except for the music that was aces.

    • Mike Arthur says:

      Consider the last election’s breakdown:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom_general_election,_2005

      The Lib Dems don’t need as big a swing as many people would think. Hell, the voter turnout was so low that any party could win if they convince a bunch of people who didn’t vote to do so.

      On a side note, looking at the breakdown of votes to seats shows why we need proportional representation; the current FPTP system just makes the Lib Dems seem more insignificant than they are.

    • Biggles says:

      Because as we’ve just witnessed, individual MPs have very little say, and the conviction of one barely makes any difference to the end result. The power lies with the whips and the front bench of whichever main party has the most seats. That is incredibly unlikely to be the Lib Dems any time soon.

      On top of that, the Lib Dems are notorious for jumping on and off of populist bandwagons, knowing full well that they won’t have enough power to push for anything on their own and that very few people really pay enough attention to them to remember what they said a few months beforehand anyway.

    • Premium User Badge

      KindredPhantom says:

      @Radiant
      I’m sure the mine workers and steel workers remember. Being the son of a former mine worker i know how bad it was.

    • dartt says:

      A good link from Mike Arthur there, here is one that I found enlightening when a friend sent it to me: http://tacticalvoting.org/.

    • Premium User Badge

      Flimgoblin says:

      If enough people decide to actually vote who don’t already it’s not necessarily a wasted vote even in a safe seat ;)

      And even without requiring a large shift in voters at the very least you’re reducing the margin of whoever wins, thus making them more likely to listen to their constituents next time, and paving the way to do better in the next general election.

    • TeeJay says:

      @ sonofsanta: “if enough of us stop ourselves thinking like that and just vote Yellow we might actually get somewhere”

      I don’t agree that people should follow blindly party-politics as more and more we can see there are good and bad MPs in all parties, including the LIb Dems.

      Also it all depends on what is happening in your local election – there isn’t any ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution.

      If people are concerned about this Bill specifically then they should look at the track record of the various candidates.

  20. mrrobsa says:

    Oh man, but if I vote for LibDem, then PoliticsBot V3.2 might win. I don’t wanna be governed by an android.
    (CAPTCHA: C….U….N….5, awww…)

  21. Dan (WR) says:

    Wasn’t there a Lib Dem peer who pushed for a clause that was verbatim from the BPI? I’m still voting Lib Dem, but the House of Lords is a joke.

  22. sonofsanta says:

    My MP didn’t even turn up. I home he comes by my door now so I can ask him why I should bother voting for him if he can’t be bothered to even turn up to work on the days they discuss the issues important to me (and yes, I wrote him a lengthy e-mail detailing my objection to this being rushed through).

    Fuckers, the lot of them. I bloody hate politicians with a vehemence I can barely comprehend. How did we end up in such a shitty situation as to have the choice between corrupt, idiotic and short-sighted for our vote?

    Wish we had the same power as the Swiss citizens, to repeal any new law passed by government provided you can gather sufficient signatories.

    • Premium User Badge

      sonofsanta says:

      *hope he comes by

    • Kanamit says:

      As someone from an American state governed (in practice) by referendum, no, you really don’t.

    • battles_atlas says:

      The problem with the Swiss system is that it requires an engaged electorate, and however much we like to lambast our MPs, fact is if we the electorate all took more than a once-ever-five-years interest in politics, it might not be so god awful.

      California tried the Swiss system but with our political culture of apathy, corporate influence and general igorance, and its now bankrupt after 20 years of voting for tax cuts and more spending.

  23. utharda says:

    At this time I thin it is perhaps appropriate to quote the measured words of Public Enemy.

    “Burn Hollywood Burn.”

    and since we’re talking about extralegal sanctions against private citizens,

    “Pulled to the curb gettin’ played like a sucker
    Don’t fight the power shoot the mother farker.”

    Good luck over there. Time to start threatening my “elected representatives” over here.

  24. Biggles says:

    I would love to do a whip round and very publically buy a nice holiday for a senior front bencher from either party to change their mind on this one. With a note saying how if 20,000 letters wasn’t enough, perhaps we should have instead put in a quid each and bought influence via better established means. Would that embarrass them enough?

  25. ZhouYu says:

    My email to my local mp (Emily Thornberry) about this was summarily ignored. So good to know the system works.

    Rack up one more vote for the lib dems.

    • Ogun says:

      our local MP (labour) hasn’t voted on it either according to that hansard thing, probably for the same reason.

      i’ll support LD rather than either of the bickering incompetents we’re supposed to choose from. the argument that you should pick between a rock and a hard place instead of trying for what might be open water is no argument at all.

  26. Isometric says:

    That is it then, i’m voting Lib Dem. The Green Party will have to wait for my vote next time.

  27. Out Reach says:

    I e-mailed my labor minister and he agreed with me that the bill was stupid. But he didn’t want to be a labor rebel, so he just didn’t vote on the bill :\ Which is a shame TBH.

    Liberal Democrats it is I guess.

    • JB says:

      Looks like mine did the same, and yes it is a shame. The Lib Dems are looking better and better =\

    • JB says:

      Sorry, I mean she agreed it was stupid, but then didn’t vote.

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      That’s understandable since there’s an election next month.
      You’ll probably find all the Labour MP’s who voted No are either in safe seats or are expected to lose their seat in the coming election. Unfortunately those who need party support to fight for their consituency in the election would either vote yes to appease the party whips or abstain as this chap did.

  28. Malibu Stacey says:

    I can only hope the Scottish parliament do something sensible like opt out of this ridiculous nonsense.

    Goes to show how pointless it is voting for Labour or the Conservatives. You get shafted either way, only difference is the colour of the shaft used.

  29. Skusey says:

    Still not old enough to vote, but I’m crossing my fingers for Lib Dems.

  30. Ygtdf says:

    “The french got it right, just evict the fucking nobility from politics unless they are voted in by the people.”

    Look what good that did to us, last year we got a similar bill as this one.

  31. Premium User Badge

    Lambchops says:

    There is an extent to which I understand why people who opposed the bill didn’t turn up. They didn’t have much of a chance of stopping it – with an election coming up they’ve probably got other things they can do with their time (election campaigning) than sit through what for them will be a somewhat forgone conclusion. My MP (Lib Dem) responded to my letter basically saying if the Government chose to rush the bill through there was nothing that could be done to stop them (and by saying the PM had too much power a none too subtle hint to vote for the Lib Dems and their policies of electoral reform!) so there’s little suprise that he didn’t turn up to the debate (and to be fair to him he did express his concerns in writing about the rushed nature of the bill).

    It’s the rush that bothers me slightly more than the content (indeed the whole “wash up” procedure seems kind of ludicrous – a week of half baked compromises and political horse trading which seems to show only limited proper consideration of the issues at hand). I have to say that ultimately although the DEB is an issue for me there are other more important considerations in who my vote is going to. As I’ve got centre left political sympathies anyway of the main parties I’m inclined towards the Lib Dems anyway and after Vince Cable’s strong performance in the chancellor’s debate that inclination has strengthened (despite them having some rather pointless seeming policies – new railways? Really?).

  32. fizz144 says:

    Come on stop pretending that anyone can actually make any difference. The lib dems will probably cock everything up even more.

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      People said that about the SNP before the last Scottish Parliament Election in 2007. They’ve done a pretty damn good job so far. I’ve never voted for them but am very likely to in all the forthcoming elections if they have a better chance of winning the constituency than the Liberal Democrats.

    • battles_atlas says:

      @fizz144
      Congratulations, you’re why everything is broke. Give yourself a pat on the back for your defeatism, then go back to lying down.

    • fizz144 says:

      @battles_atlas

      “Everythings broke” is a stupid statement, the country still functions ok and the sooner you accept that people are flawed and nothing will ever be perfect the sooner you’ll be able to relax and pat yourself on the back like me (and blaze chron all day)

    • Premium User Badge

      Lambchops says:

      @ MalibuStacey

      I agree, the SNP have proven themselves to be relatively competent, although like all parties in power they have dropped a few clangers.

      It’s a shame that their main policy is independence as I actually agree with them on many other things (their somewhat naive opposition to nuclear power being a notable exception). Still I can’t bring myself to vote for them as I just don’t think independence is a great idea.

    • somnolentsurfer says:

      @MalibuStacey

      At the last election, the SNP’s policies on nukes and stuff left me wishing I could vote for them here in Yorkshire. Watching the second reading debate the other day though, Pete Wishart did a pretty comprehensive job of putting me off them.

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      The way I understand it the SNP wouldn’t just announce independence, they would call a referendum on it. I don’t particularly care for it myself but I have been very impressed by the policies they’ve been able to put into practice so far. I’ll be encouraging everyone I know to tactially vote for either the Lib Dems or SNP in this election where possible.

    • Jimbo says:

      To be fair, the SNP are in a pretty enviable position right now – they can just claim anything good is down to them and anything bad is Westminster’s fault. Being in charge when the buck really does stop with you is a totally different ball game.

      I suspect Scotland would have been completely fucked had they been independent when the banks needed ‘rescuing’, and I think that will have had an impact on the outcome of a referendum on independence. I’m a Unionist (and English), but if you’re going then just have the referendum and go already, stop banging on about it on my dime.

    • archonsod says:

      We’d be shafted anyway, just compare the contribution Scotland makes to Britain’s GDP with that of England. Salmond is wanting to sneak independence in via the backdoor by offering a referendum with two ‘no’ answers to try and split the opposition vote.

      Although I wouldn’t agree the SNP have done a particularly good job thus far, beyond wasting a large amount of money on pet projects they seem to have been content to sit back and blame everything on Westminister.

      I might vote Lib Dem. I might vote via the shotgun. Haven’t quite decided yet.

    • battles_atlas says:

      @Fizz144: “Everythings broke” is a stupid statement, the country still functions ok and the sooner you accept that people are flawed and nothing will ever be perfect the sooner you’ll be able to relax and pat yourself on the back like me (and blaze chron all day)

      It is a stupid statement, but less stupid than “stop pretending that anyone can actually make any difference”. That’s certifiably stupid.

      Besides, I have higer aspirations for humanity than ‘functioning ok’, especially if by ‘ok’ you mean a country in which the population relies on prescription drugs or ‘self medication’ to get by. Shit is fucked. Fact. Your apathy depresses me, now I need a bifter.

  33. Martin Coxall says:

    “only a vote for the Liberal Democrats will do anything to fix the broken political system that allowed this to happen in the first place.”

    What THE FUCK, Jim? Lib Dem peers, MPs and whips supported the bill all the way through. If you’re going to lie about politics, at least do it convincingly. And exactly how would a vote for the Lib Dems stop washups from happening in the future? Lib Dem whips participate in the washup with all the other parties.

    Final point: your comment is illegal and violates the Representation of the People Act. You (or RPS) are technically committing an election offence.

    • Mike Arthur says:

      Er, no they didn’t support it all through, the Lib Dems voted against. The Conservatives and Labour voted for.

      The Lib Dems propose serious electoral reform such as introducing proportional representation, something which would stop the winning party from strong-arming stuff like this into law.

      Saying something you didn’t agree with isn’t a lie.

      Perhaps you should investigate the vote breakdown:
      http://www.libdemvoice.org/the-digital-economy-bill-saints-the-mps-who-voted-against-labours-internet-freedom-clampdown-debill-18757.html

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Martin: the Lib Dems are the only major party that actually wants significant constitutional reform. If the Lords had actually been able to scrutinise this bill coherently it might not have got this far.

    • Martin Coxall says:

      The Liberal Democrats wish to gerrymander the system to their own advantage. They are craven, deceitful fucks with no beliefs, that will say anything to anyone to get elected.

      Their proposals for “reform” are almost all woefully ill-thought-out and stupid ideas, that fail to see the wood for the trees, and will create a situation of permanent legislative gridlock held hostage by a small Lib Dem rump.

      Your naivety and dishonesty on this point is astonishing.

    • Mike Arthur says:

      People who disagree with you aren’t naive, they just disagree.

      Proportional representation works in plenty of other countries and is being used (in a form) in the Scottish Parliament too. To say they’ll say whatever it takes to get elected couldn’t be any more claimed of the Lib Dems than the Conservatives or Labour. What matters it their actual portfolio and decisions on key points, none of which you’ve actually engaged with. Parties are allowed to change their mind, they’d be stupid to hang on to the same decision forever just because they once thought that.

      The other reason the Lib Dems change their minds often is their portfolio is partly determined by a vote between members of the party, something that the Conservatives and Labour do not do.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Right, so we shouldn’t vote for anyone in case they don’t match up our gilded ideals, and there’s nothing we can do about making the world better anyway, because they’re all as bad as each other. Really Martin, it’s you who is being naive.

    • Alex Bakke says:

      Martin I agree, only the Conservatives are completely lie-free!!!!

    • Alex Bakke says:

      Also, through my knowledge gained from volunteering at a party office and knowledge through A-Level Politics, RPS only commits an offense if they encourage people to vote for the Lib Dems in a particular constituency; showing support for the entire party is not illegal.

      Could be wrong.

    • Gwyn says:

      Jim, the Lords can debate it as much as it likes, and suggest amendments too.

      Except there’s no time for the Commons to debate any amendments. There’s a reason people are saying Labour have ‘forced’ it through – there’s no way for the Lords to say anything, informed or otherwise, without blocking the legislation and causing a democratic crisis.

    • DXN says:

      @Martin Coxall/Alex Bakke:

      Uh, what exactly is illegal here and how? I’m having trouble finding a summary of that act that gives me an idea of why Jim’s comments would be non-kosher.

      Also Martin, your tone does nothing to bolster your credibility, and I don’t find anything substantial in your arguments but FUD.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      The press is obliged to be neutral during election periods.

    • jsutcliffe says:

      @Jim

      This is true, but is RPS “press?” I wonder how that is defined.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      @Jim – since when is someone’s private blog about video game “the press;” or have arguably personal blogs finally been redefined as such when I wasn’t looking? (Honest question.)

    • Alex Bakke says:

      @DXN: I was trying to be sarcastic with the first comment.

      The second might have been poorly worded, but what I meant was that as RPS are not supporting a single MP, and rather showing support for the party itself, I do not believe that they are doing anything illegal per se. If they were, then the Sun would be subject to criminal charges as well, and so on.

    • TeeJay says:

      “Final point: your comment is illegal and violates the Representation of the People Act. You (or RPS) are technically committing an election offence.”

      Rubbish.

      +++ Broadcasters +++

      Media Handbook, UK Parliamentary General Election in Great Britain (The Electoral Commission)
      http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/88034/UKPGE-Media-Handbook-GB-Final-Web.pdf

      Q. What are the rules on political impartiality for broadcasters and programme makers? A. Political impartiality in broadcasts is covered by the editorial guidelines or code relevant to that particular broadcaster.

      The BBC’s editorial guidelines on broadcasting during an election can be found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/guidelines/editorialguidelines/edguide/politics/broadcastingdur.shtml. The Ofcom Broadcasting Code can be found at http://www.ofcom.org.uk/tv/ifi/codes/bcode/elections/

      +++ Print publications which have signed up to the PCC code +++

      The Press Complaints Commission enforces a code of practice for the UK newspaper and magazine industry, covering accuracy, discrimination and intrusion, amongst other things. Complaints can … be made about online versions of newspapers and magazines which already subscribe to the PCC code.

      Q. Can a newspaper publish articles which are biased in favour of one political party over another?

      A. This is a question that is raised quite often, particularly around election times. Press regulation differs from broadcast regulation in that the Code of Practice upheld by the PCC does allow newspapers and magazines to be partisan generally, including in their coverage of election-related material. Further, the Commission considers the selection and presentation of material for publication to be a matter of discretion for individual editors – provided, of course, that the Code of Practice has not otherwise been breached.

      source:
      http://www.pcc.org.uk/cop/practice.html
      http://www.pcc.org.uk/faqs.html#faq2_18

      (and RPS isn’t a print publication anyway)

      everybody +++++++++++++++++++++++

      It is illegal to make a false statement of fact about the personal character or conduct of a candidate in order to affect the return of a candidate at an election. It is a defence to show reasonable grounds for believing that the statement was true.

  34. Greg Wild says:

    I was already going to be voting Lib Dem – maybe Greens – anyway.

    Though there’s no party advocating my favoured idea – a Lot Chosen (like Juries) House of Citizens [Lords] sadly.

  35. Phil says:

    The Lib Dem’s performance on this actually pushed me the other way – I’ve voted LD the past two general elections and shan’t this time.

    Only one of their MPs managed to show up for the debate on Tuesday, and not even a quarter of them voted against yesterday, that’s pitiful. Tom Watson (my new hero) did more on his own than the entire Lib Dem party to oppose this bill.

    • Mike Arthur says:

      A higher proportion of Lib Dems voted against this than any other party.

      http://www.libdemvoice.org/the-digital-economy-bill-saints-the-mps-who-voted-against-labours-internet-freedom-clampdown-debill-18757.html

      Lets see who turned up and voted:
      Lib Dem: 16/62 MPs
      Con: 9/198 MPs
      Lab: 218/356 MPs

      So Labour had by far the highest turnout but also the vast majority voted for the bill. I agree the Lib Dems didn’t do as well as they could have on this bill, more should have shown up, but even if they all did, they couldn’t have blocked this. Instead, many of them are trying to campaign and actually get more power in the next election and you can blame Labour for that shitty timing.

    • Martin Coxall says:

      75% of Lib Dem MPs and 100% of Lib Dem peers supported the bill.

      This is typical of the Lib Dem tendency to say different things to different people. For Jim to say the Lib Dems opposed the bill is a LIE. An outright, obvious Lib Dem lie of the kind they make so frequently and often nobody even bats an eyelid.

    • Mike Arthur says:

      Martin: Want to show some actual sources (as I have done) for your numbers? I assume you are talking about something prior to the final vote. Various Lib Dems have said they would support parts of the bill, with amendments. What matters is the actual aye/nay vote about it being into law, which all members voted against. There was a lot more in this bill that just the anti-piracy stuff.

    • TeeJay says:

      @ Martin Coxall

      First you claim that RPS is breaking the law (utter bollocks).

      Now you claim that that 75% of Lib Dem MPs “supported” the bill, when in reality not a single Lib Dem MP voted for it. They simply were not there and didn’t vote.

  36. Radiant says:

    Can we talk about Peter Mandelson?

    Resigned as an MP TWICE due to corruption and then there is this:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/blog/2009/may/19/bilderberg-skelton-greece

    Seriously how fucked are we that we don’t have any real checks and balances for our Government?

  37. Calabi says:

    Great example of how worthless the governments/political system is.

    Its going to be funny to see how this plays out, I’m betting it will have proved to be waste of time, doesnt have any effect except annoy a few poor people, possibly stunt UK broadband/technology growth a bit, and is written off in a couple of years.

  38. Nullh says:

    Mine wrote me a nice non-form letter back after my second email saying he was opposed to it and agreed it needed discussion, then didn’t bother to show for the reading.
    I am not best pleased.

  39. Donkeyfumbler says:

    Lib-dems already had my vote even before this, even though they were way behind labour or conservatives at the last election in my constituency so mine will doubtless be an invisible vote in terms of the impact it will have.

    Ironic thing is that mine is a marginal, in that labour only had a 3% lead last time, so if I were to vote for one or other of them it might make a difference, at least to them. Whats the point though when it’s a choice between greedy fuckstick A and pocket-lining fuckstick B though?

    It fucks me off no end to know that my views, and the views of millions of people in this country will literally be ignored at the general election because of the ridiculous first past the post system we have.

    You have to tell yourself that voting lib-dem won’t be wasted though – the more of us that do, the closer they can get to being a realistic third choice in all constituencies and then next time those people who would have voted for them if they had a chance, but instead vote for the least bad one between labour and the conservatives instead to keep the other one out, might just actually vote lib-dem after all.

    Also, if we can get a hung parliament then the lib-dems can push though electoral reform as their price for supporting whoever.

    Then maybe we can stop shitty, corporate-purchased crap like the DEB from going through.

  40. Tei says:


    corporations@internets$ apt-get remove freedom
    E: Unable to lock the administration directory (/var/lib/democracy/), are you the people?

    corporations@internets$ su politicians
    politicians@internets$ sudo apt-get remove freedom
    Reading package list.
    Modern Culture, Technology Leader and Peace depends on freedom.
    Do you want to remove these too (y/N)?[]

  41. battles_atlas says:

    This seems relevant: a piece on the IT-Industrial Complex

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=18490

  42. Andy says:

    I’d be interested to know how they were planning on enforcing this if/when it goes into law (This isn’t the final phase by the way, it still needs to be okayed in the house of lords before it becomes law). I can only really imagine it being done at the ISP level and even then only by blocking traffic directly from the list of sites.
    Unless they are planning on an expensive (and impressive) ‘great firewall’ similar to that in China or deep packet scanning at an ungodly level then we’re going to see a lot of proxy services making a lot of money in the near future.

    • Eight Rooks says:

      But presumably if the bill is applied as strictly as you all claim it will be, then every proxy service will instantly be banned because the majority of their users will supposedly be people trying to circumvent legal restrictions to break copyright.

  43. Fatrat says:

    Grr the Labour MP in my area voted for aye, goddamned asshole. I can’t wait to see those tossers out of power, i really hope it happens. And yes i’m voting.

  44. AbyssUK says:

    right that’s it I’ve had enough of this country, time to find another home. Hopefully many other technically/scientifically minded people will do the same and send Britain back into the dark ages.

    But where to go…. now Britain has allowed such a bunch of stupid laws other countries will surely follow… maybe Germany or Sweden ?

    • KikiJiki says:

      Personally I’ll be heading for a scandanavian country as soon as I have everything I need sorted (language, job, home) to emigrate.

      I’m fed up of contributing economically to this country, and I BUY my music unlike most of my peers, to just get bent over the table and violated by our broken political system.

      The proposed NI hike from Labour doesn’t sit well with me either as I’m sure the figurative you can imagine.

    • Wulf says:

      Scandinavia is one of the best places in the World. Both Sweden and Norway are very open-minded, but Norway has the upper hand when it comes to very lefty laws. To be honest, Scandinavia is where I would go, if I could. I can’t really afford that kind of move at the moment, too many considerations in my life and I have to be realistic, so I’m chained to the UK.

      But if only…

    • Premium User Badge

      Lambchops says:

      @ Abyss

      There are more important considerations in terms of science and technology than the DEB. Funding for science being the most obvious. Overall under Labour science funding has gone up above inflation. Due to the economic situation all the major parties are in agreement that this wont be able to continue – with only the Lib Dem spokesman saying that funding will be maintained and the other two refusing to rule out cuts (though Labour effectively protecting science, technology engineering and medicine from the cuts to university funding suggests they will try to protect science funding).

      Labour have clearly damaged their reputation with scientists with the recent debacles over their treatment of the academics involved in drug classification and their brutal cuts to fudning in certain areas (astronomy seems to have been hit unfairly hard – as much as I don’t personally like it as a subject it has been a big part of many major tehnological advances and seems to have been very shoddily treated). This sort of action again pushes me towards voting Lib Dem (as far as I’m aware the Tories have a history of cutting funding).

    • pedant says:

      @abyssUK

      Don’t get your hopes up.

      Sweden:
      - Recently decided to privatize hunting for pirates, now your friendly record label can sue you in civil court, up to you to prove innocense there.
      - The SE equivalent of GCHQ recently got permission to tap the entire Swedish internet, currently provisions are being made for all departments to request data/analysis from this
      - Unofficial blacklists are maintained by ISPs for banned sites, meant to contain child porn but not all have done. No legal process exists to get off this list.

      Denmark:
      - Already cuts of sites from the net.
      - Horrible broadband compared to Sweden and a strong ISPI/similar lobby.

      Norway:
      - Swedes call it the last Soviet state. Nuff said. Also Norwegians come to Sweden for cheap alcohol, it really is that bad. Nice seafood though.

      And anyone who thinks taxes are bad in the UK/wherever is in for a bit of surprise. But don’t take my word for it, read here http://www.thelocal.se/discuss/index.php?showforum=2 for what bitter Anglo-Saxon expats in Sweden say. (I don’t agree with them but still, fun)

  45. tiktaalik says:

    Oh good, I do love political debates on the internet :/

    I have to say I don’t think the Lib Dems were any better than the other parties on this though – if they actually cared they’d've turned up to vote.

    • Smurfy says:

      If you watch the video, you can see quite a few of them did turn up and actually shouted no action movie style. “All those in favour” “Aye” “All those opposed” “NNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO”

    • Mike Arthur says:

      A higher proportion of Lib Dems turned up to vote than any other party voting against the bill.

  46. fizz144 says:

    I think the best bet is to sing that song from that Crusha milkshake advert over and over again

  47. Wulf says:

    Sigh.

    Witless fucks.

    I was going to vote for the Liberal Democrats, too. This has just cemented it, really.

    So, anyone want to vote how many lives will be ruined by false positives and idiots fucking around?

    Drunk Moron with a Grudge: Yeah, I think my neighbour’s selling pirated copies of things.

    This is going to be fun. So very fun.

    It also really cements what the political sites have been saying around the Internet for the longest time, now, too: Ever since Labour became New Labour they’ve had a hard time differentiating themselves from the Tories because they’re almost the same damn party with nigh on the same policies, therefore a vote for Labour is a vote for the Tories, and vice versa, as there is nothing between them. New Labour isn’t Labour, that’s a good thing to keep in mind.

    Our only hope now is that with Lib Dems in power and evidence that this is ruining the lives of innocent people, this tripe can be overturned.

    • Wulf says:

      (By ‘witless fucks’, I meant New Labour and the Tories, no one else. They seem to have no idea how many innocent lives this will undoubtedly ruin with false positives.)

  48. James says:

    @Jim

    While I agree that Martin seems to have a somewhat defeatist attitude, I think there is a point to be made about the systemic problems with almost all “western-style” democracies.

    As this applies to voting or not voting, I can’t see that either one will be very meaningful until these systems start to hold their members accountable (to some predetermined standards relevant to their office) AFTER they have taken that office. These systems are currently set up in a way that undermines the whole campaign process, by making claims and promises of candidates, for all practical purposes, inconsequential after they are elected.

    It is a difficult issue to correct for a variety of reasons, but given that there are examples in the world where this is not the case I would suggest that this is the type of issue that should be addressed first if anything is to actually change.

    Anyway, I like to see the political stuff here once in awhile. I might humbly suggest that you occasionally take the opportunity to advocate for something proactively (I know you’re not a political blog, but as this article shows it can sometimes be relevant) instead on reporting on troublesome stories as they develop. Apologies if I’m forgetting/missing something.

    In solidarity,
    Random American Guy

    • KikiJiki says:

      While i can understand your sentiments, I really don’t think politics has a place on a PC Gaming blog unless it specifically relates to PC Gaming/Gamers (and I use that loosely because almost anything can/will/does affect us).

      If my experiences of Internet debate are anything to go by, there are three things you never discuss online if you want to stay sane:

      Politics
      Religion
      Sexuality

    • James says:

      @KIKI

      Well, personally I don’t believe in “a place for everything, and everything in its place”. Real life is always a mix, as I think this article somewhat demonstrates. I think the number of comments demonstrates a general willingness of the readers to participate.

      As for those three subjects, I’d argue that we need to have a lot of discussion on those topics because they’re important and we should be able to discuss anything sanely.

    • Ian says:

      @ James: But they themselves specify this as a PC gaming blog, rather than a blog that happens to feature a lot of stuff on PC gaming. I have no issue when it’s relevant, but I don’t come here in the hope that the Hivemind are going to start getting up on their political soapbox.

      As regards those three topics, in my experience it’s hardly worth discussing politics or religion in real life. Too often it just involves people shouting their own opinion repeatedly.

      “Well I think A!”
      “I see your point, but I think B.”
      “Hmm, interesting. I think A.”
      “I think B, I’m afraid.”
      “A.”
      “B.”

      And then somebody calls somebody a nazi.

    • James says:

      I think it’s pretty clear from what I wrote that I’m speaking of a political topic that has relevance. I know what RPS is, I’m not suggesting they do anything significantly different than they presently do (see this article).

      I understand what you’re saying, but discussion and argument are two different things, and I don’t want the later. Whether or not it’s possible to have a discussion about these things without some element of conflict is another topic, but I don’t believe branding them taboo and not worth the effort helps anyone at all.

      Look at how pervasive the idea is that these subjects are useless/impossible to discuss productively. That’s why I think we should all make SOME effort to do just that. That’s all, I’m not advocating that this site changes its whole format to do so.

  49. Smurfy says:

    The House of Lords isn’t going to be unelected for long. Depending on the outcome of the election it’s going to be replaced with either a fully elected or a largely elected Senate.

  50. kadayi says:

    If the lib dems had any sense they’d campaign on this using Lord Mandelson as Internet Big Brother (which he effectively now is). I think if more of the general public were made aware of how Labour & the Conservatives clubbed together on this and effectively opened up the UK internet to (political) censorship they might not take to kindly to it (Facebook group anyone?)

    Personally was planning on voting Lib Dem anyhows, as the thought of the conservatives getting and dismantling the BBC at the behest Rupert Murdoch and his cronies worries me greatly, but even more reason now.