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UK govt finally wakes up to Internet potential

And it's the Department of Culture, Media and Sport that's got it

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In what may be the UK government's first autonomous good idea for using the Internet, the Culture, Media and Sport department has decided to produce a definitive list of all sports facilities and post it on the Web.

Apparently, no one has any idea what facilities really exist in the UK - not even the local councils - so the minister, Tessa Jowell, has demanded the information is compiled as soon as possible and made easily available to every UK citizen.

The tag is the appalling performance by our athletes at the recent World Championship, and Tessa used her first speech as minister (she was previously minister for public health) to promote the idea as well as new "schemes" that would try to stop kids from giving up on sport between 14 and 17.

The civil service said it would take 10 years to compile all the information but Ms Jowell was having none of it and has insisted it be ready within two.

The list will provide details of all sporting facilities in the UK and what sports they offer in each. The list should also be able to be split into different sports, areas etc at the click of a button, allowing everyone in the UK immediate and simple access to sporting information.

My God! It would seem that a politician has finally worked out how the Internet can help make all our lives better - as opposed to faster or richer, which is the usual formula.

Around 50 officials will collate the information by talking to local leaders, coaches and schools and both public and private facilities will be listed. Hopefully, although it wasn't mentioned, they will also assess the state of the facilities, which will cause pressure to be exerted on local councils to improve them. It will also give the government more information on where they should build new facilities.

All we can say is: well done Tessa. We like her a lot more since she no longer has to lie about mobile phones not being harmful. ®

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