Feeds

New Labour: Chainsaws out, maybe Contactpoint, too

Who will survive and what will be left of them?

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Gunning for the IT albatrosses

What difference will it make to policy? Andy Burnham is noted for his desire to classify internet content. Hazel Blears had a specific distaste for the way in which she believed the blogosphere was destroying democratic politics. On the whole, however, the same Labour values – centralisation, control, personal surveillance – will remain whoever has a hand at the tiller.

A good example of that is the way in which the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 included a clampdown on the use of violent sexual material some two years before legislation on extreme porn passed. That is government by bureaucratic committee, joining up the dots across departments: somewhere, it was known that the extreme porn law was planned, so reference to it had to be included in legislation before it was even proposed.

That said, one of the unlikeliest converts to liberalism could just be Blunkett, who warned back in February this year against government abuse of power taking Britain towards a "Big Brother" state.

The new order may include slightly fewer of a certain sort of radical feminist – though Harriet Harman will still be Deputy Prime Minister, and a good candidate for chairing what looks like Gordon Brown’s last-ditch plan to save his reputation: a grand convention on parliamentary and democratic reform.

What about a new leader? The same factors apply: Labour is essentially collegiate in its approach to policy, and while the faces and rhetoric might change, the fundamentals are unlikely to.

A new broom – particularly a young fresh face such as Milliband – might, however, seek to emphasise their newness by scrapping one or two cherished New Labour projects, including the shambling IT leviathans.

Otherwise, we must look to an election – and a change of party in power – for any radical change in prospects. An incoming Tory government would probably announce an end to various high-ticket IT projects at once. As Tory MP James Brokenshire comments: "Will [the new Home Secretary] the courage to change current flawed policies?" He then goes on to list ID, DNA retention, the surveillance society and ISP data retention as areas in need of review.

The ID database, Contactpoint, the vetting scheme, as well as the NHS spine project would all be in line for scrapping.

The benefit of an election held now is that some of the government’s flakier legislation would never make it on to the statute books. Casualties of a snap election would include Bills on Policing and Crime, Coroners and Justice and Borders, Citizenship and Immigration – to name but three.

For those who’d like a flutter, best to bet quickly. The odds on Gordon Brown remaining as Prime Minister throughout 2009 are falling rapidly: 5/2 at the weekend; a good deal less this morning. ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Hey, Scots. Microsoft's Bing thinks you'll vote NO to independence
World's top Google-finding website calls it for the UK
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
OECD lashes out at tax avoiding globocorps' location-flipping antics
You hear that, Amazon, Google, Microsoft et al?
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.