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Major ISPs Challenge UK's Digital Economy Act

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the it's-all-an-act-isn't-it? dept.

Government 107

Techmeology writes "TalkTalk and BT, two of the UK's largest ISPs, seek to legally challenge the UK's Digital Economy Act, which was rushed through parliament during its last days prior to the election. TalkTalk and BT argue that the DEA infringes human rights and places large ISPs (with over 400,000 customers) at a disadvantage. They also believe the DEA could conflict with existing European Legislation such as the Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive, and the E-Commerce Directive — the latter stating that ISPs are not responsible for the actions of their customers. The Act, which saw twenty thousand letters sent to MPs in protest, contains measures to see websites suspected of distributing illegal material blocked, and Internet users disconnected or reported to copyright holders."

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Wonders will never cease! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32848608)

BT doing something right for a change? Wonders will never cease!

Re:Wonders will never cease! (5, Insightful)

FriendlyLurker (50431) | more than 4 years ago | (#32848636)

This is just code to have the Act applied to small ISP's as well as large, and nothing to do with repealing the act altogether like it sounds. It also scores brownie points for the public image of these big ISP's. Cat is out of the bag now, the chances that this Digital Economy Act will be repealed now are next to none - and I have a hard job believing that BT is really against this Act NOW, after it has been passed. If they were really against they would have kicked up a row well before this.

Re:Wonders will never cease! (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32848850)

This is just code to have the Act applied to small ISP's as well as large, and nothing to do with repealing the act altogether like it sounds

Nope, not true. The act imposes a financial overhead on all ISPs that it covers. BT wants it repealed, because it will cost them money. The public want it repealed because it's a terrible piece of legislation. Their motives aren't the same as ours, but their objective is the same. Oh, and the major ISPs, including BT, did all object to this act before it was passed - they were ignored.

The current government has promised to repeal stupid laws, and this is one that's getting a lot of votes on their site for suggesting laws to repeal.

Re:Wonders will never cease! (2, Informative)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#32849554)

The current government has promised to repeal stupid laws, and this is one that's getting a lot of votes on their site for suggesting laws to repeal.

For anyone interested, it's at http://yourfreedom.hmg.gov.uk/repealing-unnecessary-laws/digital-economy-act [hmg.gov.uk] .

Currently on the top 5 of most commented, with one of the highest ratings at 4.9, with 1304 votes.

Re:Wonders will never cease! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32850586)

Yes, but the last time i looked one of the laws demanded to be repealed was the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics .... so I wouldn't put too much faith in the winners necessarily being the ones to get axed....this is our legal system, not the X Factor

Re:Wonders will never cease! (1)

jez9999 (618189) | more than 4 years ago | (#32855258)

Cool. Maybe it'll get as much attention from those at the top as this [number10.gov.uk] .

Re:Wonders will never cease! (0)

logjon (1411219) | more than 4 years ago | (#32850392)

The current government has promised to repeal stupid laws, and this is one that's getting a lot of votes on their site for suggesting laws to repeal.

It's a lot harder to get elected on a platform of making more stupid laws.

Re:Wonders will never cease! (1)

Simmeh (1320813) | more than 4 years ago | (#32850994)

The current government are into reduction - reducing the public sector, reducing the size of the statute book so cynicism aside I think their manifesto platform will hold.

Re:Wonders will never cease! (1, Insightful)

logjon (1411219) | more than 4 years ago | (#32855278)

That's cool. Our new boss is the same as the old boss, though he did gain us a little bit on the healthcare front.

Re:Wonders will never cease! (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#32849050)

Saying it's code implies that they're intending that it just be applied to small ISPs and support the bill really, but I think that's bollocks.

Whilst I agree that might be the net effect, that the bill will just end up getting applied to small ISPs, I do believe that they are interested in seeing it repealed or struck down simply because even as a large ISP this does add extra burden and costs on them, and does require them to be complicit in allowing court action to be threatened against many innocent customers of theirs.

TalkTalk has been campaigning against the DEA since before it was stated it would only apply to small ISPs so they at least certainly have shown all along they don't want this applied at all. BT's interest could certainly be more self serving, but I'm sure in general that they do honestly want to see this outright struck down, rather than applied equally across the board.

For what it's worth, BT did kick up a fuss before hand, not quite as publicly as TalkTalk, but they certainly did all the same, see this article for example:

http://paidcontent.co.uk/article/419-digital-economy-bill-the-half-billion-pound-price-tag/ [paidcontent.co.uk]

Re:Wonders will never cease! (5, Informative)

spamuell (1208984) | more than 4 years ago | (#32849064)

If they were really against they would have kicked up a row well before this.

Um, they did: For example there was this letter letter [ft.com] to the Financial Times on March 9th 2010 criticising the Digital Economy Bill, which says:

Put simply, blocking access as envisaged by this clause would both widely disrupt the internet in the UK and elsewhere and threaten freedom of speech and the open internet, without reducing copyright infringement as intended.

Oh, the signatories include the chairman of Talk Talk and the CEO of BT. A handy tip: if you're going to talk rubbish on the internet, make sure there isn't a public letter retrievable in about 2 seconds of googling which unambiguously demonstrates you have no idea what you're talking about.

Re:Wonders will never cease! (-1, Troll)

FriendlyLurker (50431) | more than 4 years ago | (#32849370)

OR, you need to brush up [thegateway.org] on the very basics of corporate saving face [wikimedia.org] methods. Oh yeah, A letter. They really fought this tooth and nail, rallied and informed the public every chance they could. Must really have taxed their PR team to the limit to get that letter signed. Do you really discount the possibility that these large, influential companies with deep pockets signed that letter to maintain a scrap of credibility with their clients, not to mention being able to turn around and sucker you by wimpering "it's not our fault, we apposed this Act"? At the very _best_ this late whining now is most probably pressure to externalising the cost of monitoring back to the taxpayer.

Re:Wonders will never cease! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32850222)

Why should BT inform the public? It is not up to BT to rally people against the bill. BT runs networks around the world, but BT does not run the government and BT does not run any political parties.

BT most certainly did lobby many government officials and MPs directly in face to face meetings, in addition to the public letters. The fact that the Labour party did not listen to the experts in Internet network operations (talkTalk and BT) says something about their arrogance.

As a result of that arrogance Labour was defeated and now it is time for everyone to speak up and work on getting this abomination of a law repealed. Politicians need to be shown that they can't get away with passing bad laws. Repeal is the right way to do it, because it sweeps aside all of Labour's hard work and gives them the slap in the face that they deserve. Once upon a time, I voted for Labour, but not any more.

Re:Wonders will never cease! (3, Informative)

soliptic (665417) | more than 4 years ago | (#32850408)

OR, you need to brush up [thegateway.org] on the very basics of corporate saving face [wikimedia.org] methods. Oh yeah, A letter. They really fought this tooth and nail,

OR, you need to brush up on the meaning of "for example", and follow GP's advice about 2 seconds googling [google.co.uk] before digging yourself in even further. He didn't say, or even imply, that the letter was the full extent of their efforts, so your cutting sarcasm about how much signing the letter taxed their PR team doesn't do much except make you look even more stupid.

Oh look, first two links from the 2 seconds googling, they went to the High Court [ispreview.co.uk] for a judicial review [thecmuwebsite.com] .

Re:Wonders will never cease! (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 4 years ago | (#32854322)

This is just code to have the Act applied to small ISP's as well as large, and nothing to do with repealing the act altogether like it sounds.

Not really, no. At least one of the grounds for the complaint, that the law is incompatible with the EU's regulations that require ISPs to be considered as mere carriers of data and not responsible for their users' actions, would result in at least parts of the law being struck off the books entirely if the courts held in their favour.

Re:Wonders will never cease! (3, Insightful)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 4 years ago | (#32848664)

What's the difference between BT and BP?

One of them is number one most hated company in the UK. And the other one is something to do with oil.

Re:Wonders will never cease! (1)

HopefulIntern (1759406) | more than 4 years ago | (#32848686)

BT have actually gotten much better in the past few years. Last time I had to ring them up for customer service I only waited a minute or so, and got straight to someone who knew my case and we got my problem resolved in minutes.
Thats more than I can say for most businesses in the UK. Now, if only I could get broadband at higher than 1mbps....

Re:Wonders will never cease! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32848726)

Except that their customer service has abandoned the policy which required the Indian call centres to put you through to a UK call centre on your request. Last time I called them, they advised me to hang up and keep redialing until I managed to get through to a UK call centre.

Re:Wonders will never cease! (2, Informative)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 4 years ago | (#32848786)

Virgin have better tech, but utterly shash customer service. Not only are they outsourced to India and about 50% of the time you speak to someone uninteligible, they're also not allowed to deviate from a set script, so when you have a complex problem you just have to keep shouting at them until they pass you to someone who can actually help you.
Compound this with my tech-unsavvy gran who has a terrible time when something unusual pops up on her screen (ie, Films on demand selection screen showing over BBC1) and I'm not anywhere to help her, she ends up having to call their help number and just ends up getting frustrated. Honestly, they were going to send her out a brand new box because she doesn't know that pressing "TV" will clear whatever is on her screen, and their script doesn't cover crap like that.

Re:Wonders will never cease! (2, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#32848902)

There are two things that really irritate me about Virgin's support:

First, it's an 0845 number. If you don't have a landline, this gets expensive - it's 10p/minute from most mobiles, and they get paid for keeping you on hold so there is absolutely no incentive for them as a company to deal with you promptly.

Secondly, any call to them will invariably require you to be transferred to several different departments. Each will ask you the same set of security questions. Quite why they can't set an 'already authenticated' flag when transferring you internally, I have no idea, but it wastes about a minute for each person you talk to. You then have to restate the reason for your call, because they don't seem to communicate.

It took me 45 minutes on the phone to them to get them to turn off my existing cable connection and enable the new one on the day that I moved house. Then another half an hour when it didn't work to get them to go through pointless troubleshooting things before they sent an engineer out. Fortunately, he was competent, found the place outside where the connectors had corroded, replaced them, swapped my ancient cable modem out for a new one, and then I had working Internet.

On the plus side, once the connection was installed in my last house, I never actually needed to call them, and could get the advertised speed whenever I tried saturating the line. So far it seems the same in my new house, but I've only been in a week so we'll see how stable the connection is...

Re:Wonders will never cease! (2, Interesting)

HopefulIntern (1759406) | more than 4 years ago | (#32849472)

I got a free landline with my broadband. DIdnt even want it. I picked up a £5 phone from argos, and now i just use it to phone Virgin (150, free) and other 08 numbers, also free.

Re:Wonders will never cease! (1)

neogramps (1432089) | more than 4 years ago | (#32849512)

I've had to call virgin 4 times in the 6 years I've had their cable/tv bundle. Only once did i hit the idiot wall (trying to raise an alert about a line fault, but the zombie on the line was convinced both my router and my tv box had simultaneously died!). All the other times I've called, service has been good and they seem to have stepped things up recently too - i called last week at peak time (6pm) - got through to a Welsh chap in a minute, he tested my box, and booked an engineer for the next working day with no fuss. Later that night I got a text to say it was a line fault, and the engineer was cancelled. The next morning I got a follow up call to check everything was fine (it was) - service doesn't get better than that.

Re:Wonders will never cease! (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#32849612)

There were two companies who seemed to have problems with me telling them I'd moved house.

One was Virgin Media, who had come round to my new house to install it, and started sending out paper bills (despite me being on the e-bills), and charging me for that - and sent the paper bills to the old address. Oh, and they disabled my email account and it took a week to get them to fix it.

(The other company, who seemed unable to accept my new address even after telling them, was my bank, who I have my mortgage with...)

Re:Wonders will never cease! (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#32849750)

Secondly, any call to them will invariably require you to be transferred to several different departments. Each will ask you the same set of security questions. Quite why they can't set an 'already authenticated' flag when transferring you internally, I have no idea, but it wastes about a minute for each person you talk to. You then have to restate the reason for your call, because they don't seem to communicate.

I can't remember the last time I called someone at a company with more than a handful of people and I didn't have to authenticate myself to each party. And since the authentication consists of name, address, and phone number, it's not just annoying, it's entirely useless as a security measure.

Re:Wonders will never cease! (2, Insightful)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#32849586)

Not only are they outsourced to India

Although to be fair, this seems more to extend their hours. I've still had UK people AFAICT[*] when phoning during office hours in the week, but it seems to be outsourced to India at the weekends. The point being, before they did this, they were only open during office hours in the week anyway. (And at least the days of waiting half an hour in a phone queue, as used to happen when they were NTL, are gone.)

I once phoned in the evening and got someone with an American accent, which would work with the time zones...

[*] Obviously I realise that making judgements via accents isn't perfect, but there's also the point that they weren't reading off a script and could actually be helpful.

Re:Wonders will never cease! (2, Interesting)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | more than 4 years ago | (#32848890)

I just contact their twitter team @BTCare [twitter.com] . They deal with any problems in minutes, and for the three problems I have had in the last month, they called me within 10 minutes, called the following morning to ask if it has been fixed. I once moaned on Twitter that I wanted to leave BT Broadband, they called me and gave me a mac code.

Re:Wonders will never cease! (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 4 years ago | (#32849624)

I once moaned on Twitter that I wanted to leave BT Broadband, they called me and gave me a mac code.

That's where I find it a bit creepy. I complained about eBuyer once on Twitter (because of a delay and mixed information) and eBuyer started following me, and a company who have written software with the same name as eBuyer's internal ticketing system asked if they could help with my problem. From big companies then I find that following and watching of people a bit odd.

Re:Wonders will never cease! (1)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | more than 4 years ago | (#32850164)

BT managed to work out where I lived with my Twitter name, the BT account is in somebody else's name. How they put the two together is beyond me.

Re:Wonders will never cease! (1)

Captain Hook (923766) | more than 4 years ago | (#32850378)

did you send the twitter message over your home broadband connection? that might suggest BT are recording a disturbing amount of information.

Re:Wonders will never cease! (1)

Simmeh (1320813) | more than 4 years ago | (#32851054)

survey says: PHORM!

Re:Wonders will never cease! (1)

Geeky (90998) | more than 4 years ago | (#32849162)

They couldn't get much worse. I switched from BT after a long running problem and support that was stupid beyond belief.

First call, first question: "are you calling from the line you want to report the fault on?".
Me: "Yes".
Support: "Let me run a line test"... long pause... "oh, I can't do that it appears that your line is in use"

Appears? No shit Sherlock, I've just told you I'm using it to speak to you.

I then had an engineer come out, confirm the problem was at the exchange and go away telling me it would get fixed soon. Even so, every time I called to chase progress I had to go through the whole "have you tried switching your PC off and on again" crap - how, exactly, would that fix the problem at the exchange?

I never got the problem resolved. I cancelled and switched to another supplier after about 6 weeks of failing to get it fixed.

Mind you, Pipex were no better. They seemed to think that an IP address was not a prerequisite to browsing the web...

Re:Wonders will never cease! (1)

HopefulIntern (1759406) | more than 4 years ago | (#32849694)

Hmm. When i phoned up BT it went straight to an engineer in England, and my matter was dealt with in 10 mins. Virgin on the other hand, are useless unless you got a number straight to an engineer. I phoned up countless times to complain about the quality of my line (I was getting the download speed, 20mbps, but pings were 500+ and upload was attrocious, so gaming was impossible). They simply asked "Are you getting your 20mbps" I said yes, but that doesnt help me at all, i cant play games because line attenuation is so bad, and my upload is too slow to transmit to other users. They simply said "we dont support upload". What about line attenuation? "There is oversaturation in your area, sorry".

Re:Wonders will never cease! (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 4 years ago | (#32848690)

Yes, but you need to be clear on *WHY* they're doing this - this is not to stick up for consumers but because of the additional cost of providing equipment & staff to do more detailed monitoring of their subscribers.

There are purely financial reasons behind this, albeit it's ultimately in our interests.

Re:Wonders will never cease! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32848700)

If I die without paying BT another penny, I shall be a happy man.

Re:Wonders will never cease! (4, Informative)

sa1lnr (669048) | more than 4 years ago | (#32848720)

BT is concerned about customers privacy?

They thought SFA about it when they conducted the secret Phorm trials on tens of thousands of their customers.

Re:Wonders will never cease! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32848912)

They have also been the main ISP pushing for the three strikes. I have been to plenty of conferences where BT were giving talks pushing other ISPs to introduce traffic shaping, censorship and deep packet inspecting peoples data to find out the pirates.

Re:Wonders will never cease! (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 4 years ago | (#32854374)

BT is concerned about customers privacy?

No. BT is concerned that invading their customers privacy with no potential profit from doing so is likely to be expensive. They're also concerned that limiting their customers' access to the service they've paid for will cause their customers to move to other ISPs, thus costing them still more money.

But who cares what's motivating them to do this? They're on our side, for once.

Re:Wonders will never cease! (1)

pablo_max (626328) | more than 4 years ago | (#32848914)

Make no mistake, it has nothing to do with concerns for the customers.
This is about money. It would take massive resources for an ISP to monitor what all the users are up to. On top that of that, it would offer a thick layer of liability to the ISP if and when they miss a customers illegal actions. This, no doubt would result is legal actions being taken against the ISP.
Then of course there is legal action from the customer with the ISP has wrong concluded an illegal action has taken place on the part of the customer and turned them over.
No, no ISP cares about you, only for profit.

Re:Wonders will never cease! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32854996)

Well why not try and assit this process along by actually doing something, we should all vote on this proposal:

http://yourfreedom.hmg.gov.uk/repealing-unnecessary-laws/digital-economy-act [hmg.gov.uk]

At least then the govt might start to get the message that this is massively unpopular with the public and not just ISPs, think about it!

Not so sure this shoud be challenged (-1, Offtopic)

wtfmang! (1850368) | more than 4 years ago | (#32848622)

I'm actually not so sure this should be challenged, there are a lot of inherently good things that you get from a bill like this. The primary one being my penis in your mouth. mmmm lecker!

Free Wi-Fi illegal (5, Insightful)

Manip (656104) | more than 4 years ago | (#32848640)

One of the bigger problems with this act that few discuss is that it indirectly makes it illegal to operate a free Wi-Fi service. At the very least you would need to register with the Wi-Fi provider before you could use their service so they can pass on infringement notices to you otherwise they might be left holding the torch when the lawsuit hits.

Re:Free Wi-Fi illegal (5, Interesting)

FriendlyLurker (50431) | more than 4 years ago | (#32848662)

Exactly! That is a preemptive strike on their part, because in a few short years the technology will be viable for normal people to use a network of wireless nodes that completely bypass normal ISP's. Think wireless P2P "phones" [google.com] relaying messages with only a few nodes connected to the wider internet at any one time etc, all conveniently outlawed now before they take hold and cut into the ISP/telco's market.

Re:Free Wi-Fi illegal (1)

JockTroll (996521) | more than 4 years ago | (#32848768)

What did you expect? For the first time in human history technological progress will be effectively shaped and limited by the concerted actions of big corporate interests and a political power scared of the populace they pretend to serve. Inventors and innovators will be fined or jailed, and private entities will exert a hydraulic tyranny on information technology which will last generations.

In order to avoid this, direct action must be taken.

Re:Free Wi-Fi illegal (4, Insightful)

6031769 (829845) | more than 4 years ago | (#32848804)

For the first time in human history technological progress will be effectively shaped and limited by the concerted actions of big corporate interests and a political power scared of the populace they pretend to serve.

First time? Dude, where have you been for the last 10,000 years?

Re:Free Wi-Fi illegal (1)

JockTroll (996521) | more than 4 years ago | (#32849086)

It's the first time they will actually succeed. Technological progress has been the big blunt instrument that defeated most mass-control schemes over the last centuries, and contrarily to the naive opinion of most loserboys, the Middle Ages saw some great advancements. All attempts to control and regulate communication has been sooner or later defeated by technology, and even national bans were overridden by simply moving somewhere else.

Now, this is not the case anymore: there is one world, which is becoming smaller, and the places where Big Media doesn't hold sway are becoming lesser and lesser. They CAN and they WILL dictate what "shape" progress will have and no dissidence will be tolerated. Anyone who dares come up with a way to bypass the corporate-political control will be prosecuted for pedoterrorism.

No technical solution can prevent this, only force.

Re:Free Wi-Fi illegal (1)

mrrudge (1120279) | more than 4 years ago | (#32850790)

We're in a period of history marked by the fastest, most far reaching technical innovation.
We're in a period of history marked by an all time low in violence, and all time high in overall human rights ?

And you want to use 'force' to stop 'the man' from stopping technical innovation ?

Erm, what ?

Re:Free Wi-Fi illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32851690)

How do you expect those few nodes to connect across continents without access to the transcontinental cable links? The pure consumer internet cannot be global.

Re:Free Wi-Fi illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32848788)

At the moment, in the UK at least, I understand that if someone does something illegal using your network (free wi-fi connection that is unsecured), then you are responsible. I don't think this is the case if you have security and 'reasonable' protection (encrypted communications).

BT have been offereing their own customers (using a BT router), free wi-fi all over the country as long as you share your own wi-fi. But the individual who owns the router being used may not have a chance of knowing who has used their connection or what they were doing. So the responsibility has to be with the ISP (if they are offering such a annonomus wi-fi sharing service).

So what they are doing actually requires them to track all the customers and be able to help police if illegal activity is noticed. They don't want to have that additional responsibility, but want to keep the service as it's probably quite popular for people that are on the move a lot.

This is good... (1)

jez9999 (618189) | more than 4 years ago | (#32848694)

... but ultimately, it needs to be politicians that strike this Act down. Hopefully, this kind of sustained public pressure against the act can give Nick Clegg some firepower to try and revoke the Act at some point this parliament.

Re:This is good... (3, Interesting)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 4 years ago | (#32848770)

Trouble is that worldwide, politicians are relatively old people who know absolutely nothing about computers, the internet and whatever. They are often too old to have grown up with it. They have no time to learn about this new technology. They are one of the few people who do nearly all their talking and negotiating face-to-face. They still use paper copies of everything they do.

So, I don't think it's surprising that the laws regarding the digital world completely suck and are nearly 100% dictated by the large industry and companies, and are in no way protecting the general public.

Things may change - I just hope that it's not too late.

And therefore, I cheer at any delay - a delay is a victory, because the longer we wait, the bigger the chance that our politicians actually understand the matter at hand.

Check the facts in the UK (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 4 years ago | (#32848892)

Except that Nick Clegg is relatively young, experienced in the ways of Europe, and heads a minority party which is not governed by any corporate interests. He is also in charge of a commission to find and eliminate pointless laws from the Statute Book. The Lib Dems are open to arguments about protecting the interests of small businesses and the individual, and have a good campaigning record on the subject. Therefore, rather than get despondent, lobby your MP now, contribute to the website UK Government Your Freedom website [hmg.gov.uk] without being a dick.

Re:Check the facts in the UK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32848928)

which is not governed by any corporate interests

Wasn't Clegg previously a lobbyist? I'd seriously doubt corporations have no effect on policy in any major party.

Re:Check the facts in the UK (2, Informative)

digitig (1056110) | more than 4 years ago | (#32849200)

I'm sure they have an effect. The difference is that Labour and Conservative are dependent on corporate funding, the Liberal Democrats are not (mainly because they've never been able to raise significant amounts).

Re:This is good... (3, Insightful)

digitig (1056110) | more than 4 years ago | (#32849192)

Trouble is that worldwide, politicians are relatively old people who know absolutely nothing about computers, the internet and whatever. They are often too old to have grown up with it.

That argument is getting old, too. I'm older than our Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, and have been working with computers since my youth and have been online (via bulletin boards) since my college days. These things go back longer than the young guns realise, and if politicians don't understand them then there has to be another reason.

Re:This is good... (1)

Dorkmaster Flek (1013045) | more than 4 years ago | (#32849950)

Yes, and that reason likely starts with "C" and ends with "ampaign contributions".

Re:This is good... (1)

Alioth (221270) | more than 4 years ago | (#32849956)

Maybe so, but when you were a lad, hardly *anyone* did computers, you had to be seriously geeky to be online. Being online only became ubiquitous around the year 2000.

I strongly doubt either the Prime Minister nor Deputy Prime Minister were online much before 2000, and even then, not in a pervasive manner. Just because you were in 1985, it doesn't mean everyone else was too (was even 0.1% of the population online in 1985?). For the vast majority of the population, it's only people who are kids now who actually grew up with it being pervasively around them. 99.9% of the people over about 30 are "digital immigrants" by and large.

Re:This is good... (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 4 years ago | (#32850488)

Maybe so, but when you were a lad, hardly *anyone* did computers, you had to be seriously geeky to be online.

True enough: I guess that's why I'm here. But:

Being online only became ubiquitous around the year 2000.

I strongly doubt either the Prime Minister nor Deputy Prime Minister were online much before 2000, and even then, not in a pervasive manner.

I know that the Liberal Democrats were using online conferencing as far back as the early 90s, possibly even as far back as the late 80s, using a CoSy based system. The DPM at least is quite likely to have been online well before 2000.

For the vast majority of the population, it's only people who are kids now who actually grew up with it being pervasively around them. 99.9% of the people over about 30 are "digital immigrants" by and large.

But 30 years is a decent enough time for them to have become naturalised citizens.

Re:This is good... (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 4 years ago | (#32854502)

That argument is getting old, too. I'm older than our Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, and have been working with computers since my youth and have been online (via bulletin boards) since my college days. These things go back longer than the young guns realise, and if politicians don't understand them then there has to be another reason.

There are plenty of politicians who do understand. The only MP I've met on a personal level used to run an ecommerce company, and writes web apps in JSP in his spare time.

con-lib coalition = no opposition in parliament (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32848706)

For the first time since, well, quite a long time, we have no sizeable opposition in Parliament. It's either Government or Labour (who are even more authoritarian than the current lot).

All laws that the Government wants, the Government will get.

Well, I guess we have "Green" Caroline Lucas of Brighton Pavilion...

Re:con-lib coalition = no opposition in parliament (4, Informative)

xaxa (988988) | more than 4 years ago | (#32848782)

For the first time since, well, quite a long time, we have no sizeable opposition in Parliament.

What? Were you born since May?

After the 2005 election (results [wikipedia.org] ) Labour had 354 MPs, everyone else had 292. Any law Labour wanted, they got (hence ID cards, stop and search, etc).

After the 2010 election (results [wikipedia.org] ), the Con-Lib coalition has 362 MPs, everyone else has 248. Any law Con-Lib wants they'll get.

That's how the House of Commons works (regardless of whether you agree with it or not).

Re:con-lib coalition = no opposition in parliament (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32848836)

Any law Labour wanted, they got

To some extent. A Commons majority government is by definition over 50%. Your argument appears to be vacuous.

But there was still sizeable LD opposition to encourage debate (the lack of which resulted in the rushed DEA) and sway Tories and less-loyal Labour, particularly on civil liberties. The Tories even provided an opposition to Labour from time to time. So laws were carefully drafted and tweaked to render them less abusive.

Now, we have.. Clegg's word?

248

288?

Re:con-lib coalition = no opposition in parliament (2, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#32848926)

And it's much less true for the coalition than it was for labour. The extreme wings of the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties are unlikely to agree on anything, but the moderates in both parties require their cooperation to pass laws. If Cameron tries forcing conservative policies through, Clegg faces a rebellion in his own party if he agrees and the coalition falls apart. If Clegg tries to push some of the more extreme liberal policies, the centrist Conservatives won't back him and they fail. A back-bench rebellion is far more likely with the coalition than with any single party.

Re:con-lib coalition = no opposition in parliament (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32849012)

Except that the Party already agreed to a coalition in which essentially no major LD policy not already coinciding with Tory policy was demanded. The fact that LD backbenchers are still there implies that they have gone mysteriously limp will not give trouble to Cameron. I guess there's something about the theatre of power which makes a man strangely impotent.

We've only had one general election resulting in hung parliament minority government since WW2, and this was under the completely different circumstances of nearly equal and substantially ideologically opposing Con/Lab seats. Meanwhile the Lib-Lab pact of '77 wasn't even a coalition, and that required the Winter of Discontent two years later (and only a few months before the 5 year election term) to break down.

Clegg, whose views are very much at the Tory end of the LD spectrum, is enjoying his power trip at the expense of his Party's long term health and Parliament's ability to represent voters. This was the worst possible outcome. Even if a minority government collapsed and the following election mirrored the ~2.4% (IIRC) swing of October 1974, we wouldn't end up with a Tory majority - if that single previous election is to be used as evidence, as politicians and pundits have tried, it's been interpreted precisely oppositely to its relevant outcome.

Re:con-lib coalition = no opposition in parliament (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#32849124)

"Except that the Party already agreed to a coalition in which essentially no major LD policy not already coinciding with Tory policy was demanded."

You mean apart from a referendum on electoral reform which the Tories are staunchly opposed to, pretty much the entire section on civil liberties, and an increased threshold for the lowest tax bracket?

Realistically, for a party that got 23% of popular vote, they've managed to get far more than that in terms of policy pushed through.

If you're wondering why the backbenchers haven't rebelled yet, it's because so far there's little worth rebelling over- the government has only been in power two months. The coaliton government has done a pretty good job so far and there has been disagreements over minor things but nothing worth bringing the government down over and hence potentially handing full power to the Tories or Labour instead.

Wait to see how the parliamentary vote for the referendum on electoral reform goes, if the fairly far right Tories rebel and vote against it, and Labour vote against it and the referendum doesn't hence get the go ahead, you can be sure the Lib Dems will split and the government will fall.

Better they keep getting the concessions they asked for such as the destruction of the NIR as well as just ID cards, and a referendum on electoral reform, than it is for them to bring down the government and hand the country to full Tory or Labour control such that none of their policies make it through at all. Particularly right now when such an act would also cause a run on the pound and economically cripple our country likely making Greece's problems look small fry in comparison.

I don't know why some people seem to think the Lib Dems getting junior partner status in a coalition means we should expect to see near 100% of Lib Dem policies win through, that's utterly rediculous. They're certainly doing the best they can with the cards they've been dealt and that's far better than the alternative- 5 years of full Tory or full Labour control.

Re:con-lib coalition = no opposition in parliament (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32849334)

You mean apart from a referendum on electoral reform which the Tories are staunchly opposed to

What are you talking about? The LD platform was for PR. AV is as bad or worse than FPTP from a proportionality point of view, and no-one really wants it so it's unlikely to receive significant support. (This will then be interpreted as no-one wanting PR.)

pretty much the entire section on civil liberties

Could you be more specific? Specify clearly what the Tories agreed to as a condition of coalition. Do not include what was already part of their election platform (or follows from it: e.g. fingerprints in passports).

and an increased threshold for the lowest tax bracket?

Again, please be more specific. If you're referring to personal allowance for under 65s, this is nothing groundbreaking. It's being held at £6475 for years ending 2010, 2011 then bumped by £1000 for year ending 2012 - compare Labour increasing by £1000 from 2007 to 2009. And it's been more than offset by reneging on the promise to reverse Labour's pending NIC increases.

Re:con-lib coalition = no opposition in parliament (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#32849732)

Put it the other way round - what Tory policies did the Lib Dems agree to, that were against fundamental Lib Dem principles?

Also remember what the share of the seats was - we'd expect that the resultant coalition would be split in the Tories' favour, and not split equally.

Re:con-lib coalition = no opposition in parliament (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32849870)

Put it the other way round

Or perhaps answer the question? ;-) Unless you're parodying a classic politician "NO U" avoidance technique.

And to confirm that I'm happy to answer your question, but only briefly so as not to deflect from the original question: the LDs want a system of proportional representation. The Tories want a single member constituency system.

(The FPTP vs AV is a red herring: neither are systems of proportional representation. The proposed legislation, as well as shutting up those who aren't really paying attention, is just an excuse to continue the proud tradition of gerrymandering.)

Re:con-lib coalition = no opposition in parliament (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#32849766)

"What are you talking about? The LD platform was for PR. AV is as bad or worse than FPTP from a proportionality point of view, and no-one really wants it so it's unlikely to receive significant support. (This will then be interpreted as no-one wanting PR.)"

This comment really perfectly summed up my closing point. People like yourself seem to believe that a junior partner should get 100% of their own way, that's absurd. AV is a hell of a compromise and a step in the right direction, that's absolutely what matters because AV is still far closer to PR (and if AV gets them more seats, makes it easier for them to push PR in the long run) than anything they'd have got without entering a coalition, and is all that Labour offered too. AV isn't worse than FPTP in terms of accountability, because it ensures that no one can be elected without having the support of at least half their constituents (albeit some as a second or third choice), in contrast, FPTP allows people to get elected with only a minority of support.

"Could you be more specific? Specify clearly what the Tories agreed to as a condition of coalition. Do not include what was already part of their election platform (or follows from it: e.g. fingerprints in passports)."

I'll let you do your own homework thanks. It's not difficult, compare the Tory and Lib Dem manifestos civil liberties section against the coalition agreement, it's not hard to see the Lib Dems got a lot of what they wanted.

"Again, please be more specific. If you're referring to personal allowance for under 65s, this is nothing groundbreaking. It's being held at £6475 for years ending 2010, 2011 then bumped by £1000 for year ending 2012 - compare Labour increasing by £1000 from 2007 to 2009. And it's been more than offset by reneging on the promise to reverse Labour's pending NIC increases."

This would be the same Labour that completely removed the 10p tax bracket in the first place of course.

Re:con-lib coalition = no opposition in parliament (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32850154)

AV is a hell of a compromise and a step in the right direction

Read Crispin Allard's very short and to-the-point article in Representation. He asserts that, in aggregate terms, neither FPTP nor AV can be assessed as more proportional. But AV favours moderate/close parties "which are good at attracting vote transfers". In particular, he contrasts 1992 and prior elections with the 1997 election: the proximity of LD and New[tm] Labour meant that AV would have further solidified Labour's lead.

It's not difficult, compare the Tory and Lib Dem manifestos civil liberties section against the coalition agreement, it's not hard to see the Lib Dems got a lot of what they wanted.

Inability to answer the question and dismissing the exercise with "do your homework" isn't advancing your case. Maybe you have a good example which I have overlooked. I haven't found one.

This would be the same Labour that completely removed the 10p tax bracket in the first place of course.

Was this one of those irrelevant political comebacks? Let's consider the conversation:

The LD manifesto was to increase the allowance to £10k, but the Tories of course did not agree to a timeline for that. We were discussing whether a £1,000 personal allowance increase over two years was somehow a great win for the LDs. To put the scale of figures into context, I pointed out that we've just had a £1,000 increase.

You pointed out that it was offset by the abolition of the 10p lower rate - which it was, but that in turn was offset by tax credit. Pensioners and families were better off; workers who are single and young were worse off. I similarly pointed out in this case that the £1k increase has been offset by NIC increases.

Apart from what I already asserted, which is that the increase of £1k in personal allowance is not a significant win for the LDs, what new conclusions are apparent?

Re:con-lib coalition = no opposition in parliament (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#32850572)

"Read Crispin Allard's very short and to-the-point article in Representation. He asserts that, in aggregate terms, neither FPTP nor AV can be assessed as more proportional. But AV favours moderate/close parties "which are good at attracting vote transfers". In particular, he contrasts 1992 and prior elections with the 1997 election: the proximity of LD and New[tm] Labour meant that AV would have further solidified Labour's lead."

It doesn't really matter if it solidified Labours lead, because it'd also mean their lead had been solidified with the consent of the population. If 33% vote Labour and they get 100% of the power that's not good, if 33% vote Labour, 23% vote Lib Dem, but say they'd prefer Labour to the Tories, that at very least adds a little more credibility to Labour holding majority of power. Most importantly though it benefits the Lib Dems precisely because they are a moderate party meaning they're more likely to push better electoral reform in future.

"Inability to answer the question and dismissing the exercise with "do your homework" isn't advancing your case. Maybe you have a good example which I have overlooked. I haven't found one."

Asserting I'm wrong whilst failing to provide any evidence as such doesn't mean I have a case to answer, because I'm right. If you're too lazy to find out why that's simply your problem, to demonstrate this fact to you, in terms of civil liberties the Lib Dems got:

- Abolition of NIR as well as just ID cards
- Ending of detention of child asylum seekers
- Keeping European working directive
- Removing restrictions on protestors

Again, that's just some of the distinct Lib Dem policies in civil liberties- many of the other policies to improve civil liberties in the coalition agreement have been taken further (i.e. CCTV safeguards, libel reform) than they would have been under the Tories too, so as well as these distinct policies there's also the greater push for civil liberties in some areas where they partially agreed, but where the Tory proposals were much more watered down.

So you see, you not knowing what you're on about doesn't mean someone else is wrong, and your refusal to find out for yourself whether you're wrong, still doesn't make you right. If I was wrong, I wouldn't have said "do your homework", I'd have simply accepted that I was wrong.

"Apart from what I already asserted, which is that the increase of £1k in personal allowance is not a significant win for the LDs, what new conclusions are apparent?"

It's a significant win in the context of the state of our economy, which is really the point.

Re:con-lib coalition = no opposition in parliament (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32851074)

but say they'd prefer Labour to the Tories, that at very least adds a little more credibility to Labour holding majority of power

Implying that your second choice is worth some proportion of my first choice. Under AV the proportion of Tory MPs would have reflected even less the proportion of people actually choosing Tory.

If you want to justify AV, go ahead. But don't use simplistic arguments to claim that it is anything like proportional, or - more importantly - anything like what the LDs appeared to promote before the coalition. If I can't convince you, consider Churchill's opinion and the link to LD Roy Jenkins' detailed analysis somewhere around here [telegraph.co.uk] .

Most importantly though it benefits the Lib Dems precisely because they are a moderate party meaning they're more likely to push better electoral reform in future.

It'd be more accurate to say that it forces the LDs to align themselves more closely with the most popular party, further homogenising the parties. Nevertheless, I hope an LD wants PR because PR is fair, not because "it means the LDs will win".

- Abolition of NIR as well as just ID cards

Tory manifesto, page 79.

- Ending of detention of child asylum seekers

This is neither (i) an LD victory over Tory policy or manifesto; nor (ii) politically significant, affecting about 1,000 children of asylum seekers per year. This doesn't stop it being a good thing, of course, but it's not worth forming a coalition over.

- Keeping European working directive

No. To quote the BBC web site: As part of the EU truce, the Conservatives will drop their plan to seek an opt-out from some social legislation, especially the working time directive, but will seek to "limit (its) application". This is political speak for, "We're going to do the same thing but change the language to describe how we do it."

- Removing restrictions on protestors

Page 11 of The Coalition: our programme for government? mentions "restor[ing] rights to non-violent protest" without further explanation. Do you have something of actual substance?

CCTV safeguards

The criticism of "spy"ing councils which immediately follows mention of CCTV on p.93 of the LD manifesto is expanded upon on p.79 of the Tory manifesto. What more?

libel reform

Again, p.79. Although the last sentence of p.93 of the LD manifesto is slightly more specific, the detail "to protect freedom of speech" in the coalition document mirrors only Tory manifesto language.

I'm probably done here unless I get some procrastination time later. I think you need to spend more time on the detail of relevant documents. Have a nice day.

Re:con-lib coalition = no opposition in parliament (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#32852122)

"If you want to justify AV, go ahead. But don't use simplistic arguments to claim that it is anything like proportional, or - more importantly - anything like what the LDs appeared to promote before the coalition. If I can't convince you, consider Churchill's opinion and the link to LD Roy Jenkins' detailed analysis somewhere around here."

Ah I see, so now you're simply making things up? I never said it was anything like proportional or what the LDs actually want to achieve. I merely pointed out it's better than what we have, and a step in the right direction, however small. If you don't think it's an improvement then fine, but don't try and extrapolate from that that anyone who things it's a slight improvement, no matter how small thinks it's the same as PR, that's just dumb.

I can't see much point responding to the rest, as half of your response is just a case of yet again ignoring the actual information out there, or simply putting a spin on the facts. Again, building straw men such as saying the child asylum seeker pledge isn't worth forming a coalition over- who ever said it was? It's just one part of many things worth forming a coalition over, and it's the full package that matters.

I suggest you have a look at the Lib Dem's freedom bill, you'll find plenty more examples there of Lib Dem policies taken over to the coalition document (almost word for word in some cases). It also goes a decent way to expanding on those things you don't seem to know much about (or are playing ignorant for the sake of trying to bolster your stance on) such as improving rights for protesters.

Re:con-lib coalition = no opposition in parliament (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32853528)

You just said:

I never said it was anything like proportional [and more backpedalling]

On Friday July 09, @01:18PM, you said:

AV is a hell of a compromise and a step in the right direction, that's absolutely what matters because AV is still far closer to PR

To continue:

ignoring the actual information out there, or simply putting a spin on the facts.

Each of my points was backed up by a page reference to the individual party and coalition manifestos.

Again, building straw men such as saying the child asylum seeker pledge isn't worth forming a coalition over- who ever said it was?

The LDs imply it in forming a coalition: it typifies the scope and extent of the very few LD coalition achievements.

you'll find plenty more examples there of Lib Dem policies taken over to the coalition document

No. As far as LD-sourced entries, I just see vague handwaving from, "We will introduce a Freedom Bill," to, "We will restore rights to non-violent protest." I'm not expecting the manifesto to go into as much detail as the Bill, but at least some substance would be peachy. Even when the LDs are unsure in their Bill - "a Royal Commission is to be established [on] regulation of CCTV" - the coalition manifesto manages to be even more vague.

You're in a corner and you're just flailing your arms about. Chill. It's just the Internet. Sometimes you can learn instead of fight.

Re:con-lib coalition = no opposition in parliament (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#32855060)

"far closer" is not the same as "is the same as".

Perhaps if you had a point, and stopped putting words into my mouth, I'd have something to learn from you. But seeing as you're still building straw men I think I'll pass on trying to learn anything from you thanks.

The fact you've glazed over the entire section in the freedom bill detailing further information on protecting the rights of protestors shows how desperate you're getting to try and carry on dragging your invalid inference that the coalition government is almost entirely Tory focussed and that the Lib Dems haven't won any concessions.

Look, I get it, you're unhappy with the coalition, so you're either a serial whiner and don't like anything, or a staunch Labour support, either way, tough shit. The coalition is the first government in decades to actually have the blessing of more than 50% of the population (59%). That beats anything we've had in a long long time and the compromise between the two parties is an advantage of this.

The Lib Dems did the smart thing, they gave us a government capable of dealing with the economic situation, and won concessions in getting through some of their policies, and the fact the government does consist of fair compromise means that we actually have a government more representative of the population than any we'd had in a long time. It really is that simple, it's obscure to be for PR and against the coalition government because the coalition government is simply that much more representative of the population- it's more representative of what would happen every election under a system of PR. I guess you really would've preferred a deadlocked Tory minority that would've destroyed our economy, a full Tory majority which would've damaged our ties with Europe and been even more unfair, a Lib-Lab coalition where the Lib Dems got no concessions because Mandelson, Calamity Gordon et al weren't willing to give anything up and which would've hence been the same as the final possibility- a Labour government that would've got ever more drunk on power and ever more totalitarian as a result. Thank fuck you didn't get your way, because all 4 of those alternatives to what happened are far far worse than what we actually have.

Re:con-lib coalition = no opposition in parliament (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 4 years ago | (#32849346)

Wait to see how the parliamentary vote for the referendum on electoral reform goes, if the fairly far right Tories rebel and vote against it, and Labour vote against it and the referendum doesn't hence get the go ahead, you can be sure the Lib Dems will split and the government will fall.

If Labour vote against it -- and I suspect they will -- then I think they'll be shooting themselves in the foot because it's been in their own manifesto for at least the last three elections. I think the backbench Conservatives will be easier to control, because few MPs want to bring down the government they are a part of, but if Labour go against their own manifesto then it will only take a few rebels to foul things up.

I don't know why some people seem to think the Lib Dems getting junior partner status in a coalition means we should expect to see near 100% of Lib Dem policies win through, that's utterly rediculous.

I doubt the poster you were replying to actually believes that. I've seen a lot of hardline Labour supporters feigning fury at LD "hypocrisy" for entering into a coalition that doesn't give them total control. I think he's one of them, and it's nothing but smear politics.

Re:con-lib coalition = no opposition in parliament (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32849456)

because it's been in their own manifesto for at least the last three elections

It's a running joke that every Labour manifesto involves contemplating PR after the next election. This isn't even PR.

I've seen a lot of hardline Labour supporters feigning fury at LD

Oh, don't be paranoid. I know this is the Internet but not everyone who disagrees with you has some covert agenda. "Astroturfer!!!"

"hypocrisy" for entering into a coalition that doesn't give them total control

Any control. The only LD "wins" are the Tories delivering what they'd promised before the election and were very likely to deliver.

The problem is that the LDs entered a coalition with the Tories. I'd add "without managing to effect significant policy change" but Cameron's too smart and his Party too powerful to have let that happen.

Clegg had the option to form agreements in the style of many Lib-Lab pacts through last century. Or he could have allowed a minority government, what with the zero evidence that a political landscape similar to today's would make such a government unworkable (again, 1974 was entirely different).

I wonder who grassroots LD supporters will flock to next election. If I suggested that this may be a long-term win for Labour, you'd accuse me of being a Labour lackey - but I think it's far too early to assert that.

Re:con-lib coalition = no opposition in parliament (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#32849778)

Even if there is no benefit for Lib Dems in a coalition, I also see no loss.

But you're forgetting two things:
* Even if no Lib Dem only policies were included, this means that some of the worse Tory policies can be avoided.
* Moreover, it can be done whilst maintaining a stable Government, rather than simply voting against them, which risks a re-election.

And if hung Parliaments and coalitions get a bad name, and are unworkable, how much support are you ever going to see for PR? What good is PR, if people like you are dead against the Lib Dems working with anyone?

Re:con-lib coalition = no opposition in parliament (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32849970)

this means that some of the worse Tory policies can be avoided.

They wouldn't be voted through anyway.

rather than simply voting against them, which risks a re-election.

Why do you consider the risk significant? What past historical evidence is there? What significant battles, such as those based on the ideological opposites of 1974, do you foresee?

What good is PR, if people like you are dead against the Lib Dems working with anyone?

The coalition is a very bad sort of "working with anyone". Agreements can be made over specific policy issues without creating a government which depends on Cameron's will being projected across two parties.

Labour and the Tories have enough in common today that they don't need to be sitting on the same side of the house for majority support on significant legislation. The LD's have been dragged into the same homogenising pot. Whether you agree with traditional LD policy or not, this is bad for British politics.

Re:con-lib coalition = no opposition in parliament (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 4 years ago | (#32849988)

It's a running joke that every Labour manifesto involves contemplating PR after the next election. This isn't even PR.

There is no perfect PR system -- heck, there is no perfect electoral system of any sort. Most people here will already know the implications of Arrow's theorem. AV is a lot closer to PR than what we have. You think we should sacrifice the good because it's not perfect?

Oh, don't be paranoid. I know this is the Internet but not everyone who disagrees with you has some covert agenda. "Astroturfer!!!"

Xest has already shown that the LDs have got some policy in which wouldn't have been there otherwise, and others including me have pointed out that the presence of the LDs in the coalition make it harder for the Conservatives to get some of the nastier policies through. Yet you don't respond to those, only repeating the complaint that there are no benefits. If it's not political smearing, why are you covering your eyes and going "la la la, I can't see them, they're not there". Incidentally, I know the difference between simply having an agenda and being an "astroturfer". Do you?

The problem is that the LDs entered a coalition with the Tories.

In other words, you hate the Tories so much that you would oppose any coalition with them. Fair enough, I can understand that. But don't try to pretend the coalition is other than it is in order to justify that position.

I wonder who grassroots LD supporters will flock to next election.

I don't know about grassroots, but I go to a folk club each week which is held at the local Liberal club, and chat to members at the bar. They don't like the outcome, but reckon it's the best available given the way the electorate voted and Labour's hostility to cooperating with them. I think they're right, and I expect much, though not all, of their grassroots support will feel the same.

Re:con-lib coalition = no opposition in parliament (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32850266)

AV is a lot closer to PR than what we have.

No it isn't. It's a single-member constituency system, just like FPTP. To reiterate what I've just typed above: Read Crispin Allard's very short and to-the-point article in Representation. He asserts that, in aggregate terms, neither FPTP nor AV can be assessed as more proportional. But AV favours moderate/close parties "which are good at attracting vote transfers". In particular, he contrasts 1992 and prior elections with the 1997 election: the proximity of LD and New[tm] Labour meant that AV would have further solidified Labour's lead.

Xest has already shown that the LDs have got some policy in which wouldn't have been there otherwise,

ID cards + NIR were already rejected by the Tories. The only material tweak is the £1k increase in personal allowance offset by NIC increases and not close to the original "personal allowance to £10k" of the manifesto.

the presence of the LDs in the coalition make it harder for the Conservatives to get some of the nastier policies through

You think they'd have any more chance of being voted for under a minority government, where the LDs get a free vote?

I know the difference between simply having an agenda and being an "astroturfer"

Erm, well done. Do you know the difference between a comparison and an assertion? The guys here who cry "MS astroturfer!" to anything remotely anti-FOSS suffer the same paranoia you did when you accused me of being a Labour flag-waver.

In other words, you hate the Tories so much that you would oppose any coalition with them.

My opinion on the Tories shouldn't be relevant. The LDs had no good reason to form a coalition - as well as being bad for the Commons, it would only help the Tories and harm the LDs.

They don't like the outcome, but reckon it's the best available given the way the electorate voted and Labour's hostility to cooperating with them.

I guess it depends on the area[tm]. Not everyone belives there was no alternative, and many consider that Clegg made an unhealthy choice very quickly. I see as much "lost trust in LD" as I see your argument.

Re:con-lib coalition = no opposition in parliament (1)

dkf (304284) | more than 4 years ago | (#32849466)

If Labour vote against it -- and I suspect they will -- then I think they'll be shooting themselves in the foot because it's been in their own manifesto for at least the last three elections.

All the indications are that Labour will be more keen on voting against the bill on the grounds that it reduces the number of MPs and changes all the constituency boundaries. Quite apart from the fact that this would be likely to affect them more than anyone else anyway, shaking up constituency boundaries is an open invitation to gerrymandering (whether or not you think that the current system is good that way) and it's just a good way to cause trouble.

Plus I suspect that both the Tories and Labour would love to see Clegg get a bloody nose from all this anyway, if for different reasons.

Re:con-lib coalition = no opposition in parliament (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 4 years ago | (#32851698)

Isnt "shooting themselves in the Foot" in the Labout manifesto?

They shafted every section of the voting population in the last 13 years. Only civil servants, the terminally stupid, and the class war obsessed would ever vote for them while there is a choice.

Unfotrunately nearly 50% of employed people are civil servants. Thats why we are in a mess. (Which is separate from the mess made by Ponzi promoters who call themselves w^Hbankers and are paid vast sums to steal our money, who funded labour and were worshipped by them - "they must be clever, because they are so rich" - No, its because they are thieves with government protection).

Re:con-lib coalition = no opposition in parliament (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 4 years ago | (#32851884)

Only civil servants, the terminally stupid, and the class war obsessed would ever vote for them while there is a choice.

Or those who see the Tories as the only alternative and who remember what they were like last time. As somebody said a couple of elections ago, we have a choice between being forced to eat shit or eat shit with razorblades.

Re:con-lib coalition = no opposition in parliament (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32852102)

"they must be clever, because they are so rich" - No, its because they are thieves with government protection

Too many of my ex-schoolchumps are now in investment. They are rich and they are thieves with government protection because they are clever. How do you legislate against the strong reaching the top and colluding to take from the weak?

Re:con-lib coalition = no opposition in parliament (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#32855128)

The more he goes on the more I think you're probably right. He seems to be rambling on about how the Lib Dem's didn't get things entirely their own way, whilst completely ignoring the fact the the other coalition option- Labour, were offering even less concessions to the Lib Dems.

It'll be interesting to see what happens next election, but I suspect the real Lib Dem supporters will continue to vote Lib Dem, because the fact we actually have some Lib Dem policies being implemented for once is a step beyond what Lib Dem supporters have had in a long long time. It shows that the Lib Dems are in fact making progress beyond being simply the 3rd party, and it shows that perserverence in continuing to vote for the third party can in fact yield results. If everyone had bottled it and voted Tory/Labour we'd be in a far worse position right now.

Re:con-lib coalition = no opposition in parliament (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#32849704)

This was the worst possible outcome. Even if a minority government collapsed and the following election mirrored the ~2.4% (IIRC) swing of October 1974, we wouldn't end up with a Tory majority

So what would have happened? We'd be back to a hung Parliament again. I'd rather Lib Dems trying to work with the Tories, than Tories running a minority Government alone.

To say more on your comments about no opposition - there's more chance for effective opposition in a hung Parliament, than usual where a Government has a majority. It's those cases where opposition is almost always useless.

Re:con-lib coalition = no opposition in parliament (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32849904)

I'd rather Lib Dems trying to work with the Tories, than Tories running a minority Government alone.

Why? What's worse about the Lib Dems having a free vote?

there's more chance for effective opposition in a hung Parliament,

As long as parties don't give up their principles for coalition.

Re:con-lib coalition = no opposition in parliament (1)

daveewart (66895) | more than 4 years ago | (#32849070)

For the first time since, well, quite a long time, we have no sizeable opposition in Parliament.

The size of the opposition (i.e. number of MPs) is fairly typical really. The problem is that the opposition consists of MPs who belong to the unpopular former-governing Labour party. People have become too used, over recent years, to disbelieving them ;-)

Re:con-lib coalition = no opposition in parliament (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32849106)

No sizeable opposition in the sense of group of MPs who can and will act as opposition to the Government, not in the sense of few people sitting on the opposite side of the House. We currently have 28 non-Lib/Con and non-Lab MPs. The Tories are currently following Labour's lead (or vice versa if you look further back).

Re:con-lib coalition = no opposition in parliament (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32849548)

362+248 << 354+292. whatever the real numbers are they're not yours.

and labour are not an opposition to the conservatives. pay attention to the last 13 fucking years.

lib dem students with too much time and too many mod points. lib dems were doing a good job speaking up for civil liberties and encouraging debate but they sold out and you cant let go. this is how people all ended up falling into new labour.

Re:con-lib coalition = no opposition in parliament (1)

myocardialinfarction (1606123) | more than 4 years ago | (#32848984)

(Sorry: replied to the wrong thread) Before the election: Cameron: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RdHlYwIHO8Y&feature=channel [youtube.com] [youtube.com] Clegg: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXCQwwjDkTA [youtube.com] [youtube.com] For completeness, Brown: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBH914AUkfg&feature=channel [youtube.com] [youtube.com] Bet you 10p there's no substantial change, though.

Re:con-lib coalition = no opposition in parliament (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#32849666)

How do you mean? The DEA was passed by Labour. The potential opposition to that law are the ones in power. You're saying it's better to have Labour in power, so that the other parties can "oppose" it even if it means nothing? I'd rather have them actually able to repeal some of these laws.

Sure, if the new Government now starts doing authoritarian things, that's depressing, but that's nothing new - it's always been a choice between Labour and Tory, both of whom have been authoritarian in the past. Lib Dems may now form a part of the Government, but they still don't have anywhere near the power to change that.

Re:con-lib coalition = no opposition in parliament (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32849756)

it's always been a choice between Labour and Tory

Only by a very simplistic geek-like understanding of Parliament: "policies are decided by numbers of each Party". If that were the case then usual aim for majority government would mean we might as well just go straight to an automatic "yes" on every law the current government proposes and does not encounter immediate backbench rebellion to.

Laws aren't suddenly proposed and simultaneously voted on. LD involvement (esp. civil liberties, war) has been valuable in the past 13 years as providing the opposition stimulus for debate. The debate would result in one or more of: straight delay; an opportunity for the MPs to understand what they'd otherwise just wave through; bringing onside of Tory or rebel Labour MPs; watering down of otherwise offensive laws. We are now in a long-term wash-up period.

It's because they're so big they don't like it. (5, Insightful)

matt_wilts (249194) | more than 4 years ago | (#32848764)

Chect TFA - they are not opposing this because they think the *concept* is wrong. It's because the law would only apply to ISPs with more than 400,000 subscribers. They are worried that people will shift to other smaller ISP who don't do the monitoring. They're just worried about their bottom line.

Re:It's because they're so big they don't like it. (3, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#32848936)

No, that's only half of their complaint. The other half is that the required monitoring would cost them money. Companies generally oppose laws that require them to spend more money. In this case, they're being required to spend money to do something that we don't want them to do, and some of their competitors are not.

Re:It's because they're so big they don't like it. (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 4 years ago | (#32849646)

That was what I thought when I first read it as well - this is some big ISPs using "freedom of speech" and other more emotive topics to say "we don't want to be lumbered with additional legislation and expense that only benefits the big media companies and is a detriment to out profits".

Ah, for the dream of a land where companies did actually care for people...

Re:It's because they're so big they don't like it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32850942)

http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1713254#

Re:It's because they're so big they don't like it. (0, Redundant)

myocardialinfarction (1606123) | more than 4 years ago | (#32848978)

Before the election: Cameron: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RdHlYwIHO8Y&feature=channel [youtube.com] Clegg: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXCQwwjDkTA [youtube.com] For completeness, Brown: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBH914AUkfg&feature=channel [youtube.com] Bet you 10p there's no substantial change, though.

Something you can do about this (2, Informative)

tpholland (968736) | more than 4 years ago | (#32848844)

OK--perhaps it will have little effect on anybody taking decisions, but it won't take more than a few minutes of your time, and if it can drive stories in the press etc, so much the better.

  1. Create an account at that rather lame new government site about repealing unneccessary laws to save money [hmg.gov.uk] .
  2. Search for Digital Economy Act, or go to http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=site%3Ayourfreedom.hmg.gov.uk+digital+economy [google.co.uk] . Vote up some of the many threads that you find. Comment in support of each of these threads.
  3. Start your own thread asking for the repeal of the Digital Economy Act.

film izle (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32849090)

thansk you nice site good postfilm izle [indirmeden...seyret.com]

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