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Martha Lane Fox to clone 10m copies of self

Well, not really

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Martha Lane Fox has launched a campaign to make sure everybody in Britain of working age has heard of Martha Lane Fox by 2015. It's an ambitious goal, especially since she doesn't actually have her quango any more - her Digital Services Unit was created in March but abolished last month.

This hasn't stopped her soaking up valuable civil servants' time, or launching an initiative with David Cameron today to promote greater awareness of Martha Lane Fox.

As many as 10 million people live a Fox-free existence, and among those targeted are the most vulnerable in society. Fox promises that "the disadvantaged, unemployed and retired", will be cajoled and berated to get online. As if they haven't got enough to worry about already.

In her "Manifesto for a Networked Nation", Fox proposes that local authorities - which are cutting front-line services - appoint "digital champions", although it isn't clear where the cash might come from. She also recommends that:

We should embed rewards for passing on basic web skills into existing community volunteering programmes, for example Girl Guide and Scout badges, Duke of Edinburgh awards and in new proposals for civic service.

[Her italics, not ours]

There are lots of such italics in her new 65-page PDF, where almost every page has a different font size, and a lot of the text is in peach, purple and pink. You can tell it's unofficial, because nobody would ever have approved such an eccentric document.

One thing absent from the Foxifesto, however, is any acknowledgement that the 10 million people who choose to stay offline might have perfectly reasonable justifications for doing so. Being patronised by Martha Lane Fox and her (imaginary) army of chivvying, nagging Girl Guides and Cub Scouts makes that less, not more likely. ®

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