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Labour MP knocks up crowd-sourced election platform

Watson looks to West Bromwich East for ideas

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Labour MP and digital know-it-all Tom Watson has thrown open his digital election platform to the voters of his West Bromwich East constituency.

In Watson's own words: "I want to stand on a platform that is avowedly supportive of the generation that seek to use the Internet to make the world a better place.

"To do this I have to be able to draw authority from an electoral mandate from electors in West Bromwich East. So I’d like to produce a leaflet that sets out what I stand for."

Cue the appeal to the "internet experts" of West Bromwich East. As Watson says, "It’s a healthy thing for Internet experts, like everyone else, to get into the habit of asking for what they want."

Watson doesn't define who or what counts as an internet expert, or say how he'll filter out any non-Bromwichorians who wander in, but seems willing to let his readers self-select.

The comments, which can be seen here, are predictable.

There are plenty of calls for more open source in government. The self-declared internet experts also demand more support for startups and less work for the big tech consultancies. It all sounds like they expect government to pour money into small businesses, and give them more work.

Slow broadband is another bugbear. "GET RID OF 8 MEG BROADBAND. This is pathetic, and not enough bandwidth for anyone in todays modern age," says Jason.

David Cole calls for action on net neutrality, though he says, "I’m not sure if it would be generally understood."

Philip John is virtually a lone voice, saying "I’m concerned about the potential for ‘digital discrimination’ ... I’m concerned Government is trying to do that which would actively discriminate those who aren’t or don’t want to be online."

@Amrelee adds "The Internet shall be built and operated openly and without discrimination. Is a great pledge but it needs reworded."

Prizefighter adds, "I’m happy that there’s at least one candidate who is supporting copyright and patient reform."

When it comes down to it, copyright is what presses people's buttons, with Watson's choose-a-pledge vote page currently showing 70 votes for reforming copyright laws, with net neutrality attracting 50 votes, and 46 for opposing measures that "unjustly deny people's access to the internet".

Watson's pledge to support free speech on the internet gets 14 votes. Funnily enough, a user-suggested pledge of ensuring high speed broadband attracts just one vote, while making sure that "access to free knowledge on the web is equally available to all" musters just two.

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