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UK Switches Off £235M Child Database

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the after-all-they've-grown-up dept.

Education 198

wdef writes "The UK's controversial ContactPoint database has actually been switched off! It's rare that we hear anything this sensible from government about an expensive, privacy-destroying, 'think of the children' solution: 'The government argued the system was disproportionate to the problem, so is looking at developing other solutions.' Perhaps the UK coalition government really is winding back Big Brother, as they had promised to do? Does seem unlikely."

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198 comments

one way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33172192)

to save £41m/year

Re:one way (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33172334)

And all this money was wasted because of some useless nigglet

Spending money.... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33172450)

one way to save £41m/year

How can it cost GBP 41 million per annum to operate a database? ...never mind spending GBP 235 million just to to set it up. Judging from the Wikipedia article this thing is a pretty normal database. I'm sure there's an awfully good reason for the price tag, training personnel etc. but even then I'm having a hard time seeing how that GBP 235 million price tag came into being, so what am I missing here?

Re:Spending money.... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33172788)

How can it cost GBP 41 million per annum to operate a database? ...never mind spending GBP 235 million just to to set it up. Judging from the Wikipedia article this thing is a pretty normal database. I'm sure there's an awfully good reason for the price tag, training personnel etc. but even then I'm having a hard time seeing how that GBP 235 million price tag came into being, so what am I missing here?

You obviously haven't read this article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/rorycellanjones/2010/07/the_105m_website.html

Re:Spending money.... (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#33173206)

How can it cost GBP 41 million per annum to operate a database?

Maybe it runs on a cluster of P4s. If so then £39 million of that's the electricity bill.

I'm having a hard time seeing how that GBP 235 million price tag came into being, so what am I missing here?

In a word; Crapgemini.

EDiotS or Aceventura would probably have charged double.

They discovered... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33172194)

...that layers of forms and reams of data won't solve their problem.

Re:They discovered... (1)

Burnhard (1031106) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172520)

But anyway, can someone explain to me why this application costs £235,000,000? When I look my pay slip, I can't really see the link between these huge costs and how much a developer actually gets paid.

Re:They discovered... (2, Informative)

D. Taylor (53947) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172564)

Consultants.

Of course they are, for now... (5, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172200)

The coalition is unpopular with a lot of Liberal Democrat voters (not sure what they'd prefer - probably for the LibDems to continue to be completely ineffectual, rather than to get at least some of their policies passed) and is in danger of a back-bench rebellion by the LibDem MPs who'd rather pander to popular opinion than get on with running the country. They need to do some things about civil liberties to keep these people on side, and cancelling existing programs is one of the few things that won't alienate Conservative back benchers, who are typically against government spending of any kind.

So far, the coalition seems to be the best government the UK has had while I've been alive (although, to be fair, that's not exactly hard). Unfortunately, it's not clear how long it will manage to stay together.

Re:Of course they are, for now... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33172230)

Civil liberties?

I thought they were dismantling Labour's police state because the country is broke and the HAVE to.

Re:Of course they are, for now... (1)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172728)

It never looks like "HAVE to" for a police state. There's always an apparent alternative someone claims will work, for example, privatising the prisons and running them at a profit to fund the rest of the government, or phasing out some 'unneeded' programs such as inspecting the packing plants. These alternatives always involve expanding the police side of the state if implemented, i.e. first you get the prisons making a profit, then you increase the number of people in prison, or first you get the government out of 'unneeded' social services, but then you add the savings to the police state side of the budget rather than give the taxpayers a rebate. When people steer away from these proposals, either they have gotten smart and realised the numbers don't add up, or they have gotten a moral compass. Given how improbable 'smart' is, 'decent' actually makes the most sense as an alternate hypothesis.

Re:Of course they are, for now... (2, Interesting)

Shimbo (100005) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172260)

The coalition is unpopular with a lot of Liberal Democrat voters (not sure what they'd prefer - probably for the LibDems to continue to be completely ineffectual, rather than to get at least some of their policies passed)

It's most loudly objected to by natural Labour supporters, who voted Liberal Democrat where their own candidate was a no-hoper. Sure, the left of the party aren't too pleased with the coalition but it's the Labour supporters, with their massive sense of entitlement that are really annoyed.

Re:Of course they are, for now... (5, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172340)

If the Lib-Dems had chose to form a coalition with Labour instead, it would have been most loudly objected to by natural Conservative supporters, who voted Liberal Democrat where their own candidate was a no-hoper. Sure, the right of the party wouldn't have been too pleased with the coalition but it would have been the Tory supporters, with their massive sense of entitlement that would be really annoyed.

Fundamentally it's a problem with the first past the post voting system, not some wide generalisation about party supporters of one side or another.

If the promise to have a referendum on Alternative Voting is delivered upon, and the electorate are intelligent enough to vote it in, then it will solve this predicament. It will make it always advantageous to vote for the party(s) you prefer, rather than voting tactically for a different party in the hope of keeping the villain of choice out.

Re:Of course they are, for now... (1)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172580)

It seems to me the UK needs a middle ground between Labour and Tories.

Labour build up huge bureaucratic systems, lots of money gets spending building quangos, big databases, requirements for statistics and all the management teams needed to produce the numbers. They over complicate things.

Tories scrap it all and cut everything back to the bone.

Labour hire, Tories fire.

Can't we have a more rational government with an approach that is somewhere in the middle?

Re:Of course they are, for now... (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172786)

"If you showed some interest in LD but don't approve of the coalition, you are in fact just a New Labour supporter in disguise."

Why have I seen this with-us-or-against-us argument from certain LD supporters so much in media and forums? Was there a memo from LD central office I missed?

There is (was?) a swathe of left-leaning LD supporters who would naturally object to the LD/Con coalition. You may disagree with their views, but they have nothing to do with their being clandestine Blairites. Repeating the argument further undermines the traditionally fairly democratic spirit of the LD.

Re:Of course they are, for now... (1)

Shimbo (100005) | more than 3 years ago | (#33173400)

"If you showed some interest in LD but don't approve of the coalition, you are in fact just a New Labour supporter in disguise."

Is it strawman argument day, I missed the memo?

There is (was?) a swathe of left-leaning LD supporters who would naturally object to the LD/Con coalition.

I said in my earlier post - but also that it was Labour supporters making the most noise about it. Which you seem to be proving all on your own...

Re:Of course they are, for now... (4, Informative)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172302)

I'm not sure why you're suggesting this is a Lib Dem move. Both parties in the coalition had scrapping this database as a pre-election pledge. And the one actually actioning it is the Conservative Children's Minister.

It's way too early to judge this government as a "the best". They've only been in power a year. That's short enough that they can take credit for doing things they promised, whilst still blaming anything wrong with the country on the previous government. Things will change. For a related example when there is another Victoria Climbié type case, this government will get the blame for it.

Re:Of course they are, for now... (5, Informative)

Hope Thelps (322083) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172440)

It's way too early to judge this government as a "the best". They've only been in power a year.

More like three months in fact.

Re:Of course they are, for now... (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172462)

Seems longer.

Re:Of course they are, for now... (4, Insightful)

mrphoton (1349555) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172326)

The coalition is unpopular with a lot of Liberal Democrat voters (not sure what they'd prefer - probably for the LibDems to continue to be completely ineffectual, rather than to get at least some of their policies passed) and is in danger of a back-bench rebellion by the LibDem MPs who'd rather pander to popular opinion than get on with running the country.

Yes, correct. but I don't see the MPs doing anything about it because they all did vote to join the coalition.

They need to do some things about civil liberties to keep these people on side, and cancelling existing programs is one of the few things that won't alienate Conservative back benchers, who are typically against government spending of any kind.

Yes the conservatives by nature do want to cut spending. However, they are also the most 'liberal' (small l) party in parliament By this I mean they are against an Orwellian state. This is fundamentally different to the stance taken by Labour. Hence, scrapping ID cards, the introduction of the great repeals bill where they are asking the public which legislation they want scrapped, and scrapping crazy data bases.

So far, the coalition seems to be the best government the UK has had while I've been alive (although, to be fair, that's not exactly hard). Unfortunately, it's not clear how long it will manage to stay together.

Yes defiantly, they seem to be making sensible decisions most of the time. I think it will stay together for the full term, firstly because they are going to change the rules so that 55% of the MPs need to vote to for a dissolution. However no party can muster 55% of the votes in this parliament and secondly because Nick and Dave _believe_ they are doing the best thing for the country.

Also is it me or since the last government left office, have the stories on slashdot about the UK been positive. With the last government the stories were all about ID cards, locking people up for 90 days with no reason, random crazy terror legislation etc.. and now it is all about our freedoms and how the goverment is going to cut up this state from 1984.

Re:Of course they are, for now... (0)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172374)

Yes, correct. but I don't see the MPs doing anything about it because they all did vote to join the coalition.

Did they? When? I recall Nick Clegg and David Cameron announcing the coalition without any consultation of the back-benchers. Did I miss a day's news?

However, they are also the most 'liberal' (small l) party in parliament By this I mean they are against an Orwellian state.

That's only one aspect of liberalism. In their valuing of business interests over individuals interests they are decidedly illiberal.

I think it will stay together for the full term, firstly because they are going to change the rules so that 55% of the MPs need to vote to for a dissolution.

To any independently minded person, it stinks of gerrymandering to change the rules of democracy in order to keep yourself in power. Like some third world dictatorship.

Re:Of course they are, for now... (2, Insightful)

AlecC (512609) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172470)

To any independently minded person, it stinks of gerrymandering to change the rules of democracy in order to keep yourself in power. Like some third world dictatorship.

Any change to the rules is bound to favour one group over another, and could therefore be called gerrymandering. This change introduces a little damping or hysteresis into the system which otherwise could be unpleasantly unstable, If the Commons split 50/50, any MP has the power to bring down the government. Whether 5% is the right amount is debatable, but giving the system a little damping is, in my opinion, good engineering not gerrymandering.

The change makes, as is its intention, coalitions more possible. That, in my opinion, is a goof thing. I am fed up with the rush-to-the-left, rush-to-the-right swings that the current system (particularly FPTP voting) brings. A coalition can be a little to the left, a little to the right. Any driver will know that sharp changes in the steering occur only when the system is out of control or in danger of becoming so.Good driving is constant small adjustments - and so is good governing.

Re:Of course they are, for now... (2, Informative)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172530)

Any change to the rules is bound to favour one group over another, and could therefore be called gerrymandering.

It's not a matter of favouring one groups over another in a general sense. If this change were made during the term of a government which had an overall majority, as is usually the case, then it could have perhaps been judged as being good in it's own right. A good engineering decision as you describe it perhaps.

However that's not the case. It's always been the case that a government could face a vote of no confidence, and a simple majority would have the effect of forcing a general election. It's rarely been used, but it's probably been a good thing on those occasions when it has been. This government has quite cynically changed the percentage to 55% because of the particular number of seats the Conservatives have. The conservatives have 47% of the seats, so if they become so unpopular that even the Lib-Dems don;t support them any more, they will still cling onto power under the new rule. but they would be out under the old rule.

This isn't about making coalitions more stable. It's about the Conservatives being able to lose their coalition partners, and still cling on to power. It's a change to specifically bolster this Conservative administration, not a change designed for more stable government in general. Gerrymandering was the polite way of putting it.

Re:Of course they are, for now... (2, Informative)

monkeythug (875071) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172664)

That's not the case ... please see my comment above. The new rule is in addition to the motion of no confidence, which still stands.

Re:Of course they are, for now... (1)

monkeythug (875071) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172844)

please see my comment above

Or failing that ... below ;-)

Re:Of course they are, for now... (1)

jecblackpepper (1160029) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172772)

No, you're wrong

The government can still fall on a vote of no confidence.

The difference now is that it doesn't force a general election. If there are less than 55% (or is it now 60%) that are in favour of a general election, then someone else gets to form a government. For example, it's possible that Labour and Lib Dems could form the rainbow coalition after all if the current government fails a vote of no confidence. A general election would only be called if there were sufficient MPs who weren't in favour of a different government forming and therefore voted for a dissolution of parliament.

This actually prevents the Conservatives from ditching the Lib Dems and calling a snap election to get a majority on their own. The real point though to remove power from a prime minister and give it to parliament as a whole.

Re:Of course they are, for now... (2, Insightful)

KrimZon (912441) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172682)

+5 Actually Good Car Analogy

Re:Of course they are, for now... (3, Informative)

monkeythug (875071) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172656)

I think it will stay together for the full term, firstly because they are going to change the rules so that 55% of the MPs need to vote to for a dissolution.

To any independently minded person, it stinks of gerrymandering to change the rules of democracy in order to keep yourself in power. Like some third world dictatorship.

This is a source of confusion for many people. The 55% rule to dissolve parliament is in addition to the existing "motion of no confidence" which still requires only 50% + 1 MP to pass.

In a motion of no confidence, parliament is not automatically dissolved - the Prime Minister gets to decide that, and can choose to resign the government instead which results in the Opposition taking over automatically without an election (assuming they have enough seats to form a majority government or can form a coalition of their own to do so).

The new rule (which I think has now been revised to a higher percentage) allows MPs to force a general election - which is a power that they haven't had before. It gives dissatisfied MPs from across party boundaries another option, where they might not agree on a motion of no confidence since not all of them would necessarily want the opposition to take power without a general election to decide that.

Re:Of course they are, for now... (1)

jecblackpepper (1160029) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172738)

Yes, correct. but I don't see the MPs doing anything about it because they all did vote to join the coalition.

Did they? When? I recall Nick Clegg and David Cameron announcing the coalition without any consultation of the back-benchers. Did I miss a day's news?

Yes you must have done. There was meeting of all Lib Dem MPs required to agree to the decision, it went on late in to the evening after the negotiators from both parties had drawn up the basics of the agreement and before the final announcement. If they hadn't agreed then there would have been a Lib Dem party conference to decide. As it was they did agree, and yet they still held the special conference at the NEC.

The Lib Dems are one of the most democratic parties in the UK. Certainly more so than Labour or Conservatives.

Re:Of course they are, for now... (2, Interesting)

Dominic (3849) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172332)

Well, if 'the best' is selling-off the NHS, destroying the BBC, and pretty much privatising everything else, I guess you're right. They have done a few good things (such as getting rid of some of Labour's mad illiberal laws), but they mostly seem to be a force of free-market greed so far. I guess we'll see in a few years. I'm disappointed by the Lib Dems, although of course it would have been a lot worse if the Tories had got a majority.

Re:Of course they are, for now... (4, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172606)

How have they sold off the NHS?

I've been hearing this from bitter labour voters since before the election and I have yet to hear about the UK scrapping the NHS in favour of the US insurance model, or any other radically right-wing policies.

Now, it's entirely possible that I missed it, as I emigrated to australia a month or so before the election, but to me all this Tory hatred I hear is just bitterness and fear-mongering from the section of the population that relied too heavily on labour handouts in the last parliament.

Re:Of course they are, for now... (2, Insightful)

Dominic (3849) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172638)

Well they are scrapping PCTs and replacing them with private companies, for one thing. It's just the thin end of the wedge. Once commissioning is in private hands, the government can shrug its shoulders to criticism and say there's nothing they can do about it.

Even assuming the best case (that the PCT replacements are *just* as efficient, it will cost millions over the next few years just to change everything over. Not that the new companies will be more efficient, of course. For all the fuss about 'beurocracy' now, can you imagine how much more there will be when one PCT is replaced by ten different organisations, all with their own chief executives, HR, etc etc? And of course, they will have to make profits, unlike the PCTs now.

No, what we're witnessing is the start of the destruction of the NHS, and organisation which, it should be remembered, is the most efficient healthcare system in the world (http://www.hc2d.co.uk/content.php?contentId=15254). It was a disaster under the last Tory government, and they seem set to mess it up again.

By the way, I'm no fan of New Labour either, but at least they prioritised healthcare. It's nothing to do with handouts and benefits.

Re:Of course they are, for now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33173274)

I see the claim about the supposed destruction of the NHS to be a regular scare tactic by bitter Lib Dems/Labour supporters.

Unlike Labour, the coalition has pledged to actual increase the funding to the NHS in real terms - the NHS is being ring-fenced from the cuts.

Regarding scraping primary care trusts - the goal here is to remove the massive fat and unproductive middle layer of bureaucracy within the NHS, allowing the nurses/doctors to have more control over the running of the hospitals and make the hospitals more accountable to the actual users. Labour rightly poured money into the NHS the last 10 years, but despite the massive increase investment, I read a statistic that productivity has actually decreased. This is likely down to the growing box-ticking bureaucracy which has developed over the last 13 years. The NHS isn't a tool to employ people, its aim is to get people better. I would prefer my tax money going to the nurses/doctors rather than the fat layer of pen-pushing managers.

I'm personally sceptical of the proposed reordering of the health service, it sounds like it will be incredibly expensive (over £1.6 billion has been put side to restructure it). However, it's purposefully misleading to claim that the NHS is being sold off. Cameron's passionate for the NHS, he experienced its services routinely with his late son - I personally believe him.

Re:Of course they are, for now... (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 3 years ago | (#33173416)

Prior to the Trust nonsense we had central government organisation of the NHS. Doctors and senior nurses had significant control of hospitals from the PoV of day to day operations, but they did not manage provision of NHS services or their financing.

Then we had an internal healthcare market (lol), giving the level of artificial bureaucracy that is NHS Trusts. This was the first wave of privatisation.

The second wave involves not going back to the pre-Trust NHS, but privatising management. Instead of taking control of central administrative aspects, or creating an internal market, you're firing management entirely (who will initially be inefficiently hired back on higher wage).

In summary, you're saying to doctors, "Fuck it, we wash our hands of NHS control. Here's some money, you pay people to manage and select services."

Cameron's passionate for the NHS, he experienced its services routinely with his late son - I personally believe him.

Then, with no due respect, you're an idiot. Some sob story involving his dead son tells you absolutely nothing. Ohtahara syndrome almost certainly means a pathetic (in the classical sense) life and early death, and neither the NHS nor the best private hospital in the world has the resources to change that.

But, while a multi-billion pound Trident programme goes ahead, the social services which those without a £30 million fortune require are already being cut back. Those involved in caring in my family are already feeling the effect as local authorities see budget reductions.

While we're here, why not believe Obama is going to build a fair USA because he's dark-skinned and he somehow "feels for" the black underclass?

Re:Of course they are, for now... (2, Insightful)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172652)

I have yet to hear about the UK scrapping the NHS in favour of the US insurance model

Everything happens in stages. You need to pay [telegraph.co.uk] more attention [bbc.co.uk] . In brief: private outsourcing under the guise of choice. Fire people then re-hire them at a lower level as private contractors but at higher wage (in the short term, with no job security or concomitant organisational familiarity and loyalty). See also British Rail.

bitterness and fear-mongering from the section of the population that relied too heavily on labour handouts in the last parliament.

Are you seriously arguing that New Labour was the Party for the mythical Daily Hate Benefit Scrounger, possibly the least expensive source of wastage the government has to deal with?

Re:Of course they are, for now... (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172942)

Benefit scroungers? Hell no, I'm talking about the public sector!

Re:Of course they are, for now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33172670)

TBH, The BBC have been destroying themselves for the last 4 or 5 years, they don't need any government help.
Too many new TV+Radio stations but the same annual budget to fund it all can only mean one thing, less money to spend on each programme,and with less money comes less quality content.
  The BBC is a shadow of its former self, just full of politically correct 'lowest common denominator' rubbish because they're terrified of offending a single viewer.
  It's just sterile,boring dross thesedays, there's hardly any innovation within the BBC, just jumping on bandwagons, copying formats from other stations in a bid to keep viewers.
  They want to increase the license fee? Screw that. It's hardly worth it as it is, just cut the crap that hardly anyone watches/listens and go back to the way it was.

Re:Of course they are, for now... (2, Interesting)

Smauler (915644) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172338)

Actually, the Conservatives have been against civil liberty infringements for a while. David Davis [bbc.co.uk] resigned in protest about the 42 day detentions, for example. But, he added: "In truth, 42 days is just one - perhaps the most salient example - of the insidious, surreptitious and relentless erosion of fundamental British freedoms." He listed the growth of the "database state," government "snooping" ID cards, the erosion of jury trials and other issues. It's one of the big redeeming qualities of the conservatives, in my opinion... they've always said they'd scrap the ID card system too, which they are. Of the three major political parties, they probably aim to be the least intrusive.

(Lib Dem voter)

Re:Of course they are, for now... (3, Informative)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172432)

David Davis was acting as a rebel against Tory policy at the time you mention, thus it's completely wrong to cite his action as representative of Conservatives.

Re:Of course they are, for now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33172856)

No he wasn't, Tories voted against long term detnetion without charge, but he did annoy Tory HQ by calling the by-election.

Re:Of course they are, for now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33172434)

Isn't that a really bad thing? If the MPs who believe in civil liberties feel they have to resign, doesn't that mean the party's only full of crooked ones? And uhm, what about the Digital Economy Act? The Tories don't exactly have a stellar track record.

Re:Of course they are, for now... (2, Informative)

manicb (1633645) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172680)

David Davis =/= The Conservative Party
 
He voted against the Digital Economy Bill, which was nice of him, and rebelled over some of the anti-terrorism bills too. However, he also voted against equalising the age of consent for homosexual and heterosexual acts, and doesn't have a great record on gay rights. His complete voting record [publicwhip.org.uk] is available. (Warning, page is slow and huge.)

Re:Of course they are, for now... (2, Interesting)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172348)

So far, the coalition seems to be the best government the UK has had while I've been alive

Only if you're Thatcherite and born after Thatcher was ousted. It's doing precisely what she did: blaming a previous socialist government for over-spending then implementing "austerity" measures which come down to pushing the neo-conservative agenda on Britain. 30 years ago there were wide-eyed Tories proudly announcing in the first few months of Thatcher - who was a fine orator for the easily soundbitten - how she would save the country with her laissez faire mantra.

If the government wants to save money, it can abandon unnecessary war, Trident, public-private partnerships and mid-level civil service bureaucracy. It can adjust the tax system not to favour offshoring, and stop bailing out bankers.

Don't forget:

so is looking at developing other solutions

Cameron's the kind of guy to make public statements telling Facebook to take down messages when they speak positively about people he doesn't like. If you think Blair was bad, it's because the honeymoon period isn't over. And can you recall the Blair honeymoon period?

ContactPoint and Blair's ID cards were abandoned because, well, they were overtly oppressive. The Tories, unlike Labour, recognise that you can't take away people's freedom by imposing classical Eastern programmes on them - you have to be more subtle. You lower taxes but raise a fuel escalator. You cherish freedom but implement the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act. You talk about the freedom to do business but beat collective bargainers with a stick. And, within the first two years of government, you must divert all attention to some enemy: the Argentinians, the Russkies, the Arabs. I dread to think what Cameron will come up with.

Re:Of course they are, for now... (4, Informative)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172616)

It's doing precisely what she did: blaming a previous socialist government for over-spending

Which they did, without any doubt at all

proudly announcing in the first few months of Thatcher - who was a fine orator for the easily soundbitten - how she would save the country with her laissez faire mantra.

Which she did, I'm sorry if your sensibilities were offended, but she unloaded some deeply unprofitable industry from the state and thus stopped the profitable sectors from being tied down with mega-taxes to support continuing, economically non-viable industry in areas like coal mining.

And, within the first two years of government, you must divert all attention to some enemy: the Argentinians, the Russkies, the Arabs. I dread to think what Cameron will come up with.

Sorry, WTF? After the Iraq fiasco you're saying the Tories will invent enemies!?!?!!!

Jesus, hope it's fun living in la-la land, sounds like you've been there a while.

Re:Of course they are, for now... (2, Insightful)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172696)

Which they did, without any doubt at all

Yes, they spent too much on unnecessary war, Trident, public-private partnerships, mid-level civil service bureaucracy, a tax system to favour offshoring and making it impossible for bankers to fail. The Tories are responding by cutting back on the social welfare system and privatising the NHS.

Which she did, I'm sorry if your sensibilities were offended, but she unloaded some deeply unprofitable industry from the state

Like British Gas? British Telecom? British Rail? Oh, that's right, what you actually meant is that some coal mines were making a loss, but you felt the need to generalise this to nationalised British industry in general.

Sorry, WTF? After the Iraq fiasco you're saying the Tories will invent enemies!?!?!!!

Pay more attention to history. After the Vietnam fiasco... after the Falklands fiasco... after the Cold War fiasco... after the Iraq (part 1) fiasco... after the Afghanistan fiasco...

People have already forgotten when the Liberal Democrats were the Party of "no war!" over Iraq. Notice the drastic conditions of coalition relating to Iraq? Thought not.

I was going to say that you're severely overestimating the public's ability to remember, but I think you're merely demonstrating the public.

Re:Of course they are, for now... (2, Informative)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172948)

Nationalised British industry as a whole was a complete clusterfsck. It's a good thing that the government is out of it.

Re:Of course they are, for now... (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 3 years ago | (#33173188)

Once again, you're remembering history with the level of technical detail printed on iPod packaging. Manufacturing in the late '70s was suffering the after-effects of the oil crisis and consequent inflation. British Steel, which breaking even through the decade up to 1974, was hit by the miners' strikes and began a programme of investment in consolidation. After 50 years without a strike, the miners had the audacity to ask for more than the 7.9% offered on £25/week (national average pay was around £34/week in 1970).

So, you're trying to reduce costs to battle spiralling inflation, at the same time telling people that you can't pay them more while the value of the money in their pocket is going down. Just how would the private sector tackle this better? It could require people to accept a less than living wage, but then the government would take up the slack anyway in giving out benefits. If you want to point the finger at whoever started this, blame the US for its Middle East policy then OPEC for taking advantage.

British heavy industry today, OTOH... well, pretty much doesn't exist.

And British energy? Yeah, the ones not bought out by foreign private suppliers have been bought out by foreign state-owned suppliers.

Where does that leave BT? As a monopolistic, customer-abusive, regulation-flouting, technologically backward puppetmaster for Ofcom.

Re:Of course they are, for now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33173386)

Sorry, WTF? After the Iraq fiasco you're saying the Tories will invent enemies!?!?!!!

Pay more attention to history. After the Vietnam fiasco... after the Falklands fiasco... after the Cold War fiasco... after the Iraq (part 1) fiasco... after the Afghanistan fiasco...

People have already forgotten when the Liberal Democrats were the Party of "no war!" over Iraq. Notice the drastic conditions of coalition relating to Iraq? Thought not.

I was going to say that you're severely overestimating the public's ability to remember, but I think you're merely demonstrating the public.

Umm ... the UK is no longer IN Iraq - what would the demands be?
"We demand the previous government didn't start an illegal war in order to achieve their power trip and to remain the US's favourite lapdog"?

Re:Of course they are, for now... (1)

Jedi Alec (258881) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172770)

If the government wants to save money, it can abandon unnecessary war, Trident, public-private partnerships and mid-level civil service bureaucracy. It can adjust the tax system not to favour offshoring, and stop bailing out bankers.

Not much has changed since "Yes, Minister" was broadcast, was it? ;-)

Re:Of course they are, for now... (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172816)

Not much has changed since "Yes, Minister" was broadcast, was it? ;-)

Agreed. Same old boys running the show for each other.

(Got a scholarship to a minor Public school and grew to hate the culture of privilege. Some of my old schoolchums are on the path to Sir Humphrey.)

Re:Of course they are, for now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33173280)

I hate to bring facts into such an interesting debate,

but the labor govt before thatcher was quite fiscally prudent.

In contrast to the last labor govt who basically threw money at anything in an attempt to carry out a mass generational re-distribution of wealth, which did not successfully halt the rise in inequality.

The negative characteristics many are describing here apply to governments in general, not just the latest one.

I suspect that we (in the uk) will soon place Brown on the same shelf as the us places Bush,
or one places a ex that you just have no idea how you got together or why it lasted so long because she/he is clearly not very attractive and not very clever and actually not very nice and all your friends said that at the time but you just were not listening.

The mistake Obama made was not placing all the blame for everything (deserved or undeserved) on bush. Cameron has not made that one.

 

Re:Of course they are, for now... (1)

RDW (41497) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172364)

'...and is in danger of a back-bench rebellion by the LibDem MPs who'd rather pander to popular opinion than get on with running the country.'

Or, to put it another way, 'is in danger of a back-bench rebellion by the LibDem MPs who actually remember what was in the manifesto they were elected on, which bears almost no resemblance to the set of policies they are now supporting in return for a taste of power'.

Much has been made of the (laudable) measures taken by the Coalition to repeal some of Labour's more intrusive Big Brother legislation, and of how this is a victory for Liberal politics. This conveniently ignores that many of these policies were already in the Conservative manifesto, or were at least fully in accord with the views of PM Cameron's wing of the Tory party (the Coalition gives him a plausible reason to ignore the more rabid elements in his own party). Meanwhile, the LibDems have to lend queasy support to some of the most savage public sector spending cuts in history, as well as measures like the VAT increase they vehemently campaigned against before the election. Of course, Nick Clegg gets to call himself Deputy PM, and his party has been given a dubious shot at a minor reform in the voting system (which his Senior Partners have already said they won't support). But will this be a price worth paying at the next election, when voters are likely to see the LibDems merely as 'Tory Lite' candidates? Some of the LibDem back benchers are beginning to ask the same question.

Re:Of course they are, for now... (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172412)

Yes, assuming first past the post voting remains, it's hard to see how the Con-Dems or the Tories can possibly win the election in 4 years time. The anti-Tory vote will be voting for only one party, whilst the anti-Labour vote will be split in two. And barring a new Falklands war, their honeymoon period will be over.

Re:Of course they are, for now... (1)

RDW (41497) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172604)

'Yes, assuming first past the post voting remains, it's hard to see how the Con-Dems or the Tories can possibly win the election in 4 years time.'

Which is probably why they've set the new fixed term at 5 years :-)

Even the Alternative Vote system that the referendum will decide on might not benefit the LibDems that much in this situation, as there'll be a reduced incentive for labour supporters to select LibDem even as their second preference. A true proportional system like STV would help them much more, but that isn't on the table. And of course the potential loss of the left of centre tactical vote could really hurt the LibDems if first past the post remains in place.

Re:Of course they are, for now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33172614)

the LibDem MPs who'd rather pander to popular opinion

Wait a minute... Politicians listening to the will of the people is a bad thing?

Re:Of course they are, for now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33172800)

When the people are uninformed, frightened idiots, yes. (See "United States, post 9/11")

Re:Of course they are, for now... (1)

The Mgt (221650) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172666)

So far, the coalition seems to be the best government the UK has had while I've been alive

The previous lot did a reasonable job of actually running the country. It was the civil liberties stuff and of course the stupid wars that were the problem. However having experienced 18 years of previous Conservative governments I'm hardly going to believe that they'd have been any improvement there. The current lot show no signs of improvement on the stupid wars and I fully expect their policies on civil liberties to be no more than window dressing. For example the ID cards will be scrapped but the massive database will remain in some form. Fortunately the rank and file of the Lib Dems seem to be waking up to the awful reality of the situation that the Orange Book idiots have left them in but probably too late to save them from a return to single figure representation at the next election.

Re:Of course they are, for now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33173422)

The current government are being sneaky portraying themselves as the champions of civil liberties. Historically the Tories really haven't done very well on this issue (obvious examples being Clause 28, the Criminal Justice Bill banning raves, the weird 'we can't hear terrorists real voices, so here's an actor doing it instead' ban on the IRA, the ban on publication of Spycatcher etc.) We also mustn't forget that security cameras really took off in the early 90s under the Major government as the technology became cheap enough to use as an alternative to having more police. In the 90s TV was littered with 'Police Camera Stop' style shows show evil perps busted thanks to the wonders of concealed cameras. I suspect Blair kept up the camera insanity for cost reasons and also because he was too enamoured with focus group politics. Middle-class people here tend to be very hypocritical - cameras are fine when they're catching the lower orders, but when they help convict speeding/drunk driving/kerb crawling middle-managers or company directors they suddenly become evil (just read the likes of the Daily Mail - middle-class criminal=deserving of sympathy, working-class criminal=hang this vermin).

If I recall the Tories also tried their hardest to bring in ID cards initially aimed at those claiming welfare but then lost the election so couldn't get their proposals through. Similarly prison privatisation was their doing as was changing the law in the late 80s to make it harder to get a bank account (you needed passport ID or similar so a lot of the unemployed suddenly found it harder to gain basic banking facilities - in the past a birth certificate would suffice). To Labour's shame they kept a lot of this nonsense up.

As for the new coalition, well we've already had the Prime Minster calling unemployed people 'scroungers' (not a wise thing to do in a recession when thousands are losing their jobs) so I really hold out no hope we'll get a more equitable society.

Think of the children (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33172204)

of tomorrow.

Don't let them grow up in police states. ( The difference between a nanny state and a police state is very small )
If you opionion about the current state of surveillance is that it's no big problem, then consider, how much ressources former police states have spent on monitoring it's citizens.
Then spend some time realizing, that they didn't actually do as much surveillance, as western democracies are now doing.

Re:Think of the children (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33172298)

When I think of how many children could have been given a better life with £235M my heart weeps.

Re:Think of the children (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33172396)

Sap.

Re:Think of the children (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33172306)

Who gives a shit if they have a database with the names and addresses of children on it. Its not exactly like they have cameras in their bedrooms. People need to stop over reacting all the time "OMGZORS they have our names on a BIG LIST"

Re:Think of the children (4, Informative)

clark0r (925569) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172354)

Its not exactly like they have cameras in their bedrooms.

I think they'e already started exactly that.... "CCTV cameras were installed, including in their bedroom. Social workers explained that the cameras were there to observe them performing their parental duties and for the protection of their baby." http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/3507238/Social-services-set-up-CCTV-camera-in-couples-bedroom.html [telegraph.co.uk]

Re:Think of the children (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172910)

That was one couple who both had "learning difficulties". They were barely capable of taking care of themselves, never mind a baby.

Also, the article is from the Daily Torygraph, a fanatically right-wing paper. Anything printed in it should be taken with a very large grain of salt.

Re:Think of the children (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33172846)

Building the database was the overreaction.

Re:Think of the children (4, Interesting)

selven (1556643) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172444)

Indeed.

Think of the children who can no longer play outside and be kids because of overprotective parents.
Think of the children who are denied access to the science of chemistry because anything more interesting than vinegar and baking soda is deemed 'too dangerous' for them, or is denied to them by their parents who are afraid of getting on a terrorist watch list.
Think of the children who can't throw snowballs at each other because 'somebody might get hurt!1!!1'.
Think of the children who will have no idea how to survive in the real world the moment they turn 18 and have to leave their parents (who have not even slightly prepared them for this) and will probably just end up turning to crime.

We really are declaring a war on children these days.

Re:Think of the children (2, Funny)

funkatron (912521) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172868)

Dont worry, the world will sort itself out once the baby boomers start dying.

Re: (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33173344)

From http://www.bash.org/?920525 [bash.org] :

<jaffa> think of the children!
<bobf> oh gimme a break, I've spent *hours* today thinking of the children, my wrist is too sore to do it any longer

It is a Perverted Society that we Live In (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33172226)

The incident that spawned this database of children:

In spring 1999, Victoria Climbié (born 2 November 1991 in Abobo, Ivory Coast, died 25 February 2000 in St. Mary's Hospital, London) and her great aunt Marie-Thérèse Kouao arrived in London, sent by her parents for a chance of an education. A few months later, Kouao met Carl Manning on a bus which he was driving, and she and Victoria moved into his flat. It was here that she was abused, including being beaten with hammers, bike chains, and wires; being forced to sleep in a bin liner in the bath; and being tied up for periods of longer than 24 hours. Up to her death, the police, the social services of many local authorities, the NHS, the NSPCC, and local churches all had contact with her, and noted the signs of abuse. However, in what the judge in the trial following Victoria's death described as "blinding incompetence"

- Ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contactpoint [wikipedia.org]

I can guarantee you that if this child was not physically abused, but instead had a picture taken [jonathanturley.org] of her with her clothes off (like in a bathtub [freerepublic.com] ) then those guardians would have ended up being arrested immediately and the child taken into protective services.

Because in this day and age violence is acceptable (to a degree) and excusable (for "punishment"), but nudity and sexuality are considered threatening and abusive. It is a perverted society that we live in.

Re:It is a Perverted Society that we Live In (2, Interesting)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172538)

in this day and age violence is acceptable (to a degree) and excusable (for "punishment"), but nudity and sexuality are considered threatening and abusive

It's strange how people jump to the conclusion that any exposure to sex would be so traumatic to children, without any proof at all. The simple fact is that children aren't interested in sex, for most of them sex would be one of those boring subjects that adults are so strangely interested in. There are much worse things than sex.

In my own experience, one of the most traumatic subjects I remember from my childhood was religion. I came from a Lutheran family but my teacher in first grade was Catholic and she told us about eternal punishment in Hell. She showed us a picture I had never seen before, of a man tortured to death nailed to a wooden cross.

I knew what a crucifix meant but I had never been to a Catholic church and wasn't aware of the exquisite level of graphical detail that Catholics use to represent the suffering of Christ.

I went crying to my home, my mother asked what had happened and I told her. Next day she went to the director to request that the teacher be prohibited from mentioning religion in class.

To this day I see Catholics as people obsessed with suffering and torture, it's reasonable to say I have been traumatized for life by being exposed to religion at the age of six.

Re:It is a Perverted Society that we Live In (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172660)

The simple fact is that children aren't interested in sex

Not exactly. Most research on the subject has suggested that kids are in fact curious about sex as much as anything else. They want to know where babies come from, they play "doctor", may explore other people's bodies, and generally know how to masturbate by age 7 or so. What's unusual among young kids is actually having intercourse with someone else, but a wide range of sexual behavior has been observed in kids of all ages.

As far as nudity goes, your average kid sees their first breast between the ages of 0 and 1 day, is quite familiar with their own body by age 4 or so, and probably has seen genitals of someone of the opposite gender.

The myth here is that children are innocent about all things sexual. You're at practically no risk of exposing them to something they've never seen before, something they've never heard before, or an act they've never heard of before.

Re:It is a Perverted Society that we Live In (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33172698)

It's strange how people jump to the conclusion that any exposure to sex would be so traumatic to children, without any proof at all.

You mean apart from the sworn statements and psychiatrists reports from hundreds of thousands of victims of child sexual abuse?

Re:It is a Perverted Society that we Live In (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33173368)

It's strange how people jump to the conclusion that any exposure to sex would be so traumatic to children, without any proof at all.

You mean apart from the sworn statements and psychiatrists reports from hundreds of thousands of victims of child sexual abuse?

It's interesting how politics [wikipedia.org] plays such a vital role in psychiatry. Where normal behaviors [wikipedia.org] can be labeled an "illness" (like in Germany, children who would prefer to be home-schooled are labeled mentally ill and in some cases put into mental institutions).

If the psychiatric profession would treat religious indoctrination as child abuse, you would see millions of children give testimonials about the trauma they went through having to live with religious parents. Psychiatric counseling can help normalize children away from the illness of religion and bring them back to reality, but they still may suffer from flash-backs, and may have visions, etc. For some kids it may be too late; their minds may be too far gone.

And the GP was wrong by saying that children are not sexual. I half suspect that the GP wasn't a child, because although most kids may not have intercourse, they tend to start masturbating at a VERY young age (as most children, and probably many parents realize). And yes, many kids PLAY sex (i.e. doctor), and touch each other, show off their organs to each other, play spin the bottle, etc and so on... It's the people who are in denial of this who have the REAL mental problems.

PostgreSQL (1)

VincenzoRomano (881055) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172236)

I bet that a large part of the cost was due to Oracle fees.

Re:PostgreSQL (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172370)

What you want for a heavy analytical load is something like Teradata, not oracle. Or I guess Greenplum as it was based on PostgreSQL a long time ago, but they just got acquired by EMC

Re:PostgreSQL (1)

Wowsers (1151731) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172410)

I bet that a large part of the cost was due to Oracle fees.

I bet that a large part of the cost was due to backhanders.

There, fixed your comment.

Re:PostgreSQL (1)

VincenzoRomano (881055) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172426)

You could be right.

Cost cutting, not due to moral concerns... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33172250)

" Perhaps the UK coalition government really is winding back Big Brother, as they had promised to do?"

Don't be silly, it's a cost cutting exercise, 40% of spending must go. I wouldn't be surprised if there would be another iteration, but probably in the next generation now...

Why does it seem unlikely? (3, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172282)

A big brother society is expensive, so the Conservatives don't like it. It's an infringement on civil liberties so the Lib Dems don't like it (nor to a lot of the more socially liberal conservatives), and it was introduced by Nu-Labour so neither party likes it.

Bizarre though it may seem, some people get into politics to improve society.

Re:Why does it seem unlikely? (1)

daveryan (1286308) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172310)

Think of it less in terms of restoring civil liberties, and more in terms of saving money. Governments love to spy on people. Even the more liberal parties, once they see all the information they have available, get drawn in. But if it comes down to a choice between scrapping something that costs a lot of money and infringes civil liberties, versus keeping it and having your 'we need to reduce the deficit and quickly' message look silly, they'll get rid of it. Comes to something when the only way to restore democracy is to put the country in massive debt.

Re:Why does it seem unlikely? (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172336)

Why can't it be both?

It's way to cynical to believe that all anyone who ever gets into power wants to do is spy on the populace, especially considering the actual power most of the government has. The government is made up of people. People don't all have the same motive. The Government is not a hive mind.

And even if they do want to spy on us, there are plenty of other things that could be cut if it came down to it. Violating civil liberties is apparently pretty low on the agenda.

Duplicate Effort? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33172314)

This isn't about preventing the Big Brother state, it's just trying to stop looking silly for having a duplicate website [homeoffice.gov.uk] .

It isn't a reasonable thing to do (0, Troll)

Epeeist (2682) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172328)

Don't assume that the database has been switched off based on some valid arguments. The new government is one of the most ideologically driven ones the UK has had in many decades. Lots of its initiatives seem to be driven by an urge just to slash and burn anything that runs counter to their neo-con dogmas. In this they are continuing the work of both Thatcher and Blair.

As for the Lib Dems, they are irrelevant. I suspect that they will be wiped out in both local elections and the next general election.

Big gov vs small gov (3, Insightful)

jandersen (462034) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172376)

Perhaps the UK coalition government really is winding back Big Brother, as they had promised to do? Does seem unlikely

Yeah, right. Not that Cameron and Clegg are particularly bad for the country; but the situation right now is what dictates what the government does - Labour would have done exactly the same, give or take a few details. It makes no real difference.

But in my experience, when they talk about cutting back "big government" or "curbing the nanny state", what they mean is that they want to take power away from elected bodies who are in principle directly responsible to the people, and transfer it to some that are neither elected nor accountable. So we have less "nanny state" (ie. governmental bodies open to scrutiny under the FOIA) and more "private initiative" (ie. companies, which are not covered by the FOIA, and are governed by an impenetrable network of financial interests - who knows, perhaps they are people like Rupert Murdoch and Mohamed al Fayed, both of whom enjoy a certain notoriety in UK)

Being a democratically minded person myself, I don't really understand those that keep repeating the mantra about "Nanny State" and "Big Government". I suspect they are either the ones that would benefit directly from no being subjected to too much scrutiny, or just very, very naive.

Re:Big gov vs small gov (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33172460)

"or just very, very naive."

Read up on history and see how dictators get into power. Do you think it would be a good idea for someone like hitler to have this sort of technology? Just because something is implausible now doesnt mean it wont be in 50 or 100 years. Our histories are littered with small wins that stand the test of time, its also littered with big loses that have an impact 100s years later. Just because technology makes things easy doesnt mean it should be done.

P.

Re:Big gov vs small gov (5, Insightful)

MullerMn (526350) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172568)

Labour would have done exactly the same, give or take a few details. It makes no real difference.

Er, would that be the labour government that just finished putting the database in? How does that make any sense?

Re:Big gov vs small gov (1)

valeo.de (1853046) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172668)

Exactly. Labour was hell-bent on keeping ContactPoint, just like every other IT project that was leaking money like a sieve.

Note that the coalition aren't scrapping ContactPoint entirely, unless reports that I've read are incorrect. They're just scaling it down so that only the children that they deem to be "at risk" are on it.

Re:Big gov vs small gov (1)

funkatron (912521) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172880)

The lie I've heard from labour supporters is that the party has sides that don't actually agree with Blair style authoritarianism. When I pointed out that political parties contain people with similar views almost by definition, they claimed that all forms of tory hating are welcome in the labour party.

Re:Big gov vs small gov (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33172596)

But in my experience, when they talk about cutting back "big government" or "curbing the nanny state", what they mean is that they want to take power away from elected bodies who are in principle directly responsible to the people, and transfer it to some that are neither elected nor accountable.

And then you state...

I don't really understand those that keep repeating the mantra about "Nanny State" and "Big Government". I suspect they are either the ones that would benefit directly from no being subjected to too much scrutiny, or just very, very naive.

No of course not, that's just a Flame for people who reject the neoconservative mindset. People who reject overbearing oppression are people who are against government mandated spying and control, whether it be done by themselves or some third party (i.e. the corporate entities you speak of). Calling people "naive" who are against the 'nanny state' is just a cheap Flame and propaganda technique on your part.

You seem to be one of those professional PR shills, the way you try to twist things. I hope I'm wrong. And yes, I am one of those people who "would benefit directly from no being subjected to too much scrutiny" because I value my privacy immensely. Ever since I was a child I have been offended at (for example) my parents snooping in my room looking for drugs. It disturbs me to this day. Nobody bothered thinking-about-the-children when people were violating my privacy as a child, and so too as an adult I don't want Right Wing people to tell me that I have something to hide. But yes, of course I have something to hide; my privacy!

The funny thing is, since I'm an AC I'm not allowed to post right away (it's been over two hours since my last post [Slashdot requires you to wait between each successful posting of a comment to allow everyone a fair chance at posting a comment.]), so I had time to do a bit of extra research. I found that this database contains information about, for example, the drinking habits of the parents and of the child's relatives, amongst other things. It's a pretty strange database that is making some people very rich (£235m to create, and £41m to run [multiply by about 1.6 for U.S. dollars]) and violating the privacy of children and and relatives or professions, etc who may have had contact with these children. It's all very disturbing. Too bad you view people like me as being "naive".

More power to local government (2, Informative)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 3 years ago | (#33173084)

The Lib Dems are strong in local government. Labour (and Thatcherites) hated it. The Lib Dems will support anything that devolves power back to local Government, and Cameron and the Conservative modernisers seem to be less London-centric than New Labour, which basically viewed the country as London, Edinburgh, and the railway line in between. I think it's significant that the new local government Minister is from Yorkshire, possibly the most anti-London part of England. He's begun quite well by announcing that he will ban councils from lobbying or employing lobbyists, which means they will have to put more effort into informing local electorates and less into trying to influence London-based politicians.

It was Thatcher who began the process of disenfranching not only voters but MPs by governing by Statutory Instrument, but New Labour were enthusiastic adopters of it (along with PFI, which transferred public projests to private management and made them more profitable for construction and services companies.) The new Government will, I think, actually find it quite hard to be worse.

Big Brother Toys == Much Moolah (2, Insightful)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172388)

Big brother toys are expensive. That is our only saving grace. At some point the stuff breaks down and needs repair and consequently gets scrapped. Even if cameras are dirt cheap, the salaries of the people required to look at them are not cheap. So at some point a budget gets slashed, the toys gather dust and rust out.

Good riddance (3, Insightful)

Constantin (765902) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172472)

As I recall, this database was supposedly super secure, comprehensive, etc. and a great way to aggregate all sorts of very sensitive information in one spot so all sorts of unrelated government agencies could access it. Yup, so secure that the politicians put in a specific provision allowing the families of politicians, celebrities, etc. to opt out of it, while the rest of the public were required to participate. Allegedly an audit trail would be kept re: accesses records, records but considering the somewhat less-than-stellar performance of most governments re: privacy protection, internal auditing, etc. it's probably for the best for this system to be scrapped and for CapGemini to go home.

Note to devs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33172566)

Reduce the spawnrate of children, it's plain to see it's imbalanced.

Is it tea time? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33172582)

Those Brits are odd little motherfuckers. Pip Pip Cheerio!

Winding back Big Brother? (2, Interesting)

valeo.de (1853046) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172628)

No, that's not quite how the government works in the UK. It's more like this: Labour party gets power, tries to undo what it sees as excessive cuts made by the Conservatives in previous government, and spends more than it should. Or like now, the Conservatives get into power and cut the country to oblivion, because the previous Labour government spent beyond its means.

If you actually look at voting records, I'm quite sure you'll see that both parties are in favour of Big Brother, so don't be fooled. The treasury are just looking to make as many cuts as possible it seems, regardless of whether they're important (front-line services like the police, or cutting protection for sufferers of domestic violence) or not, as is the case with ContactPoint.

Either that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33172642)

or the EU isn't as bad as we think or both or neither. Who knows? It's positive news and that's what matters.

Solutions disproportionate to the problem (1)

shoppa (464619) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172648)

Project management exists ONLY to turn problems that are easy, into hard multi-million (or in this case nearly a billion) dollar problems.

e.g. California's IT systems, which for decades had been existing and solved via simple easily indexed key-value databases, got supposedly "converted" to Oracle in the late 90's and early 2000's. And in the process, the state of California bought MORE ORACLE LICENSES THAN IT HAD EMPLOYEES.

ChildPoint database now available on eBay. (1, Interesting)

TangoCharlie (113383) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172722)

Don't think this fiasco is over yet. The UK government has a rather poor record of securing data. It won't be long until the entire database is up on WikiLeaks.

Re:ChildPoint database now available on eBay. (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172784)

Given the general attitude re: wikileaks around here, I'm having a hard time telling whether you'd think wikileaks getting this would be good in "stick it to the man" kind of way or bad in "z0mg, data on all the kids in Britain is free for the taking" kind of way.

does seem unlikely ... why. (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172882)

you got a quite different character as pm, luckily. just tally up the acts he and his govt. did up till this point and notice the trend.
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