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What the LibDems pledge on IT and the Net

Freedom, Justice, Honesty, No Chance

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Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

We've finally got onto the LibDems Web site and read its manifesto (13 chapters - unlucky for some) titled Freedom, Justice, Honesty.

The title is just slightly more accurate than the Tories "Common Sense" manifesto.

However, these are all the points in which the LibDems have mentioned IT and/or the Internet.

  • Improve Information and Communications Technology (ICT) support for teachers Basically, a computer leasing system through educational charities
  • Increase funding for computer equipment in schools £1250 a primary school and £4250 a secondary school per year. Schools decide where the money goes.
  • Libraries to offer free Internet access This idea is already afoot but it doesn't hurt to reiterate a good idea
  • Invest in a knowledge-based economy through research Mostly scientific research, but IT will surely feature. The extra funding will be provided by cutting finance for arms exports
  • Investigate Internet voting A promise to "investigate" how Internet voting could work alongside security concerns
  • Strengthen Freedom of Information legislation Not exactly about IT but with heavy IT and Internet implications, especially considering recent legislation and the Data Protection Act.

And that's it really. Nothing that stands out or surprises. You'd think with the Internet taking off, that at least one political party would use it to embarrass the others and the LibDems are in the best position to do so. It's a sure indication of the effect that failed ISPs, sloppy broadband roll-out, threatening Internet issues and easily visible mistakes have had on politicians.

One thing that did catch our eye though and is a true vote winner was this: "Protect village pubs and local breweries by extending the 50% mandatory rate relief currently enjoyed by some village shops and post offices to sole village pubs and encourage wider use of local authority powers to grant additional discretionary relief for services and businesses." Quite right.

Oh, and there was some stuff about increasing income tax by 1p in order to fund smaller class sizes and improve health, police and welfare services. ®

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