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The UK's new political landscape for IT

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Well, Labour won its landslide (down six seats), William Hague quit as Tory leader after they gained just one seat, the LibDems were up six and Others down one.

And following this "vote of confidence" in New Labour, Tony Blair has embarked on a fairly hefty reshuffle of the cabinet, with resulting effects on the future of IT and the Internet.

First of all, Patricia Hewitt has moved from e-minister (and textiles minister) to Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (former trade secretary Stephen Byers has picked up Prescott's old job as Transport minister). She was one of four women to be promoted to the Cabinet. She'll also be minister for women.

This leaves the post of e-minister open. It should be announced later today and the DTi has promised to call as soon as it is. Our hope is that Tony Blair will appoint Derek Wyatt who is by far the most Net savvy among those likely to be chosen.

Jack Straw has been kicked out of the Home Office thank god. He'll be replaced by David Blunkett - who we like, but many readers fear will be even more hardline than nutcase Straw. Blunkett has already pledged to fight those paedophiles that crawl all over the Internet. Hopefully, he won't be carried along with the Home Office's unworkable and civil rights-destroying solution to this over-hyped problem. But we're not holding our breath.

(He has, however, already rebuked the police for announcing their plans to put up thousands and thousands more speed cameras so they can line their pockets with fines.)

Jack Straw has been shifted to the Foreign Office, displacing europhile Robin Cook. A stronger anti-European turn? Who knows.

Here comes the worst news though. The former home office minister Charles Clarke - the man responsible for not only the appalling RIP Act but also the new Private Security Industry Act (which, for no apparent reason, makes sysadmins subject to new licensing laws if the government decides to follow it) has been rewarded for his authoritarian Bills with the post of minister without portfolio.

This basically gives him a roving job in the Cabinet and is exactly the kind of post we wouldn't want to see him in. He'll also become chairman of the Labour Party, so it looks as though he is being marked out for high office. He's clearly very capable. Just his attitude towards IT and the Internet we don't like.

And that's about it. We'll post another story as soon as the new e-minister is named. ®

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