Feeds

New Labour: Chainsaws out, maybe Contactpoint, too

Who will survive and what will be left of them?

High performance access to file storage

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. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Big Content goes after Kim Dotcom
Six studios sling sueballs at dead download destination
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
Jack the RIPA: Blighty cops ignore law, retain innocents' comms data
Prime minister: Nothing to see here, go about your business
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.