Conservative MP David Davis reckons the £25 billion needed to spend on a fibre broadband network in the UK is out of reach and so is suggesting a chain gang for the unemployed instead.
Yes, the Big Society will mainly be made up of those unemployed people who are looking for work, in a line, digging trenches. It’s a perfect answer to the problem, reckons Davis, because building a rural network is “largely low-skill,” meaning that the lucky 2.4 million out of work could be put to use laying pipes rather than looking for work.
To use the words high tech suggests not quite understanding the ramifications of leaving the infrastructure to the louts, as Davis probably sees them. “Only a small fraction of the cost is high-tech materials,” he wrote in the Times. “Why not use the 2.4 million people who are either jobless or on welfare to build this infrastructure?”
Rather than paying credence to that more obvious of divides – between rich and poor, which is approaching Victorian levels of shittiness – he is worried about the “digital divide”.
“There is already a digital divide between rural and urban Britain,” Davis says. “There is a real risk that superfast broadband will be an exclusively urban luxury and that rural households and business will be left farther behind.”
The luxury of digging for Britain, however, appeals across the board for Davis and the out-of-work.