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. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Hello, police, El Reg here. Are we a bunch of terrorists now?
Do Brits risk arrest for watching beheading video nasty? We asked the fuzz
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
Felony charges? Harsh! Alleged Anon hackers plead guilty to misdemeanours
US judge questions harsh sentence sought by prosecutors
This'll end well: US govt says car-to-car jibber-jabber will SAVE lives
Department of Transportation starts cogs turning for another wireless comms standard
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.