Tag: lib dems

Cameron's Coalition is in bed with Google

We’ve revealed the US Federal Government’s extensive ties with the snooping mega corporation Google. Could it just be that Eric Schmidt and his cohorts have their hands deep in the pockets of the UK government too? Why yes, it could!

PC Pro got a fantastic scoop on the Information Commissioner’s Office and its crap investigations into Google’s wi-fi snooping fiasco. We’ve all been thinking it for a long time, but our tinfoil hats are welded around the plates in our heads – PC Pro got the proof. The “watchdog” was not watching out for anything other than Google and itself.

The ICO’s group manager for business and industry Dave Evans, says PC Pro, sent an email to a Google employee – name redacted – with the subject line: “Guess what this might be about.” He asked the employee for a “quick chat about the wi-fi business” – all formalities spared and straight down to business.

“We are having an internal meeting next week about our next steps and obviously in light of Rob Halfon MP’s continued misrepresentation of the issue, the quicker we get something done the better.”

It has been suggested that the ICO sent over a bungling pair of Chuckle Brothers who had no idea about data protection and were untrained in the required legal areas to investigate at Google’s fancy Victoria HQ.  Could this be some kind of coincidence?

Anyway – Google had a slap on the wrist. And anyway, it was a “mistake,” it was a rogue employee.

Never mind that Google, the company which is “not evil,” has ties deep in the UK government. Look to the East London Tech City where Google is advising Cameron directly, along with others which have been in the papers for all the wrong reasons such as Barclays and Vodafone. Anti-competitive Intel also advises.

In fact, Google has many friends in the Coalition while Microsoft has, er, none. The departure of government Chief Information Officer Jerry Fishenden left a Microsoft with no teeth and Google with plenty. Fishenden, a very reliable ex-government source tells us, was Microsoft’s very last bastion of hope for those all important contracts. 

Google and Microsoft are constantly fighting over who gets to sit on who’s cloud. In the United States the General Services Administration (GSA) plumped for Google over Microsoft on a huge cloud computing deal. That wouldn’t have anything to do with lobbying, would it? 

Our reliable source pointed TechEye toward the Tories’ “Reversing the rise of the Surveillance State” paper. It was done at Microsoft and supposedly a signal that the Conservatives weren’t dependent on Google – but we are assured this was a smokescreen. 

And who is David Cameron’s director of strategy Steve Hilton married to? Why, it’s former Tory aide to Michael Howard, Rachel Whetstone – now head of public policy and communications at… Google!

Not to be one sided – guess where Labour’s former “special adviser” to Downing Street, Sarah Hunter works now? She’s UK head of public policy at, yes, Google.

UK government cuts back on IT spending

The UK government coalition has announced plans to cut £95 million from its IT spending and scrapped education body BECTA (British Educational Communications and Technology Agency) as part of the wider economies it’s making.  

The move forms part of its attempts to save £6.24 billion in its first round of cuts.

Chancellor George Osborne said in his speech this morning that “urgent action” was needed to repair the deficit. The savings will include “nearly £2 billion  from IT programmes, suppliers and property.”

Lib Dem deputy David Laws said: “These are only the first steps which we will need to take in order to put our public finances back in shape.”

BECTA chairman Graham Badman and chief executive Stephen Crowne said the decision was disappointing.  The body has 240 employees at its Coventry HQ.

In a statement, the quango, which costs the Government around  £65-80 million a year, said: “BECTA is a very effective organisation with an international reputation, delivering valuable services to schools, colleges and children. Our procurement arrangements save the schools and colleges many times more than BECTA costs to run.

“Our top priorities now are to make sure we have an orderly and fair process for staff, and that as far as possible schools, colleges and children continue to benefit from the savings and support that BECTA has provided. We will be talking to Government departments and our other stakeholders including the industry about this.”

Other projects looking uncertain also include Gordon Brown’s plans to supply free laptops and broadband access for 270,000 low-income families, which began earlier this year.

When we called up for more information the Treasury press office told us they were unable to provide any further comment to the speeches already made. We wonder if they’ve already had their PCs taken away?

XBox Live gamers give thumbs up to Clegg

With the General Election in full force today we were expecting some well spun, and silly stories as companies tried to worm their way into the press under the guise of voting.

However, we think this one really takes the biscuit.

XBox has released the results of a “pre-election poll” that it carried out amongst its Xbox LIVE network  gamers.

More than 400,000 people voted – and the winner? One Mr Nick Clegg.

The Liberal Democrat leader secured 30 percent of the vote, followed by David Cameron’s Conservatives with 21 percent. However Gordon Brown was left bringing up the rear with only 18 percent of gamers saying they would vote Labour. He may however get lucky later as of those who voted 31 percent were still undecided.

Stephen McGill, director of Xbox entertainment, said: “Whilst the Xbox 360 LIVE survey is in no way intended to be statistically representative, given the enormous number of votes cast online over the bank holiday weekend, we believe our results provide a telling barometer of political attitudes amongst 18 to 30-year-olds nationwide.”

We’ve asked Sony who it thinks its PS3 gamers would vote for and are waiting for a response.

Here are the Top 10 MP Tweets as General Election looms

With the UK General Election looming, politicians are doing everything they can to win the British publics votes.

Although in the past many have claimed that they will not be depending on social networking sites to win votes, the Twitter debate is hotting up with many MPs using it as a forum for criticism, back stabbing and their own policies. We’ve put together a top ten of the best political Tweets out there.  

Nadine Dorries (Conservatives)
Lib Dems are like Coke Zero, after a while you want to go back to the real thing.

Conservatives
Labour’s failure to tackle benefit dependency has led to the cost of benefits to drug and alcohol addicts reaching £5bn http://bit.ly/8ZoH0a

Nick Hurd (Conservatives)
The Liberal candidate was wearing an “I agree with Nick” badge at the school hustings this morning. Which was nice of him.

Harriet Hormone (Labour)
Surreal Tory demo at Ipswich Sure Start. Parents and children love Sure Start. Tories love tax cuts for millionaires. Vote Labour

Jeremy Hunt (MP for South West Surrey and Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport)
Gordon Brown just made biggest gaffe of campaign but denying responsibility for Labour leaflets

Nick Clegg (Lib Dems)
Malaria still kills more people worldwide than AIDS, that’s why I’m keen to support World Malaria Day and #endmalaria

David Milliband British Foreign Secretary and Labour candidate for South Shields:
Jack Straw didn’t have his soapbox to meet his ward organisers but it was impressive. So was the Ivy Street Community Centre

Labour Party
Vote LibDem and get Tory who will CUT Jobs CUT Nhs CUT Police CUT Education CUT Child Credits & RAISE Taxes

Tom Watson (Labour)
Clegg picking a fight with everyone. He may regret that.

Tessa Jowell (Labour)
Beautiful day. I’m off to eat some Liberals.

Clegg still winning social media battle

We’ve got our latest set of social media analytics in from Webtrends and it shows, as far as mentions go, that Nick Clegg’s telly appearances are still keeping him very popular, despite alleged smear attempts from major media outlets.

Click through here for the latest.

As we said just the other day, mention trends on social platforms often tend to mirror who’s going to be the winner and loser. For example, Webtrends only failed to predict the correct evictee from Big Brother once. This chart shows that Clegg’s had a four percent rise in popularity on social networks after yesterday’s second leader debate.

And no, we haven’t had our collective head in the sand – we’ve seen the #nickcleggsfault hashtag on Twitter. For those who missed it, there was a huge trending hashtag yesterday claiming all sorts of things were #nickcleggsfault. TechEye even suggested that Scrappy Doo’s introduction on the Scooby Doo show could have been #nickcleggsfault.

Webtrends took this into account for us and the 54 percent lead over Gordo and Cameroon is without all those mentions. With the trending hashtag, Clegg managed to haul in about 70 percent of total mentions across social media. This includes Twitter and Facebook, as well as forums, blogs, the whole shebang.

We will, along with Webtrends, continue to bring you updated analytics after the TV debates or big stories.

Tories push Digital Economy Bill through to second reading

The Digital Economy Bill is on track to become law after the Conservatives buckled and offered the legislation their support during its second reading.

However the Lib Dems have called the move “totally inappropiate” claiming pieces in the Bill such as illegal file-sharing need more consideration.

The controversial bill, which  would also allow copyright-infringing websites to be blocked, was going to be delayed until after the election.

However, during a debate yesterday Tory shadow culture secretary Jeremy Hunt bowed down and said the party would support the legislation, meaning the bill could be rushed through before the general election next month.  

“There are parts of the bill that we will reluctantly let through. Digital piracy is a very real problem for our creative industries, and we do accept that action needs to be taken to ensure the internet is a functioning marketplace and that copyright infringers do not get away with their actions scot free,” he said.

But it’s all a little bit too much too soon for the Lib Dems. Don Foster MP, Lib Dem Shadow Culture, Media and Sport Secretary, told TechEye: “It is totally inappropriate for a Bill as important as this to be given so little time for debate in the House of Commons.
 
“We want to do all that we can to support our creative industries and believe that action needs to be taken to tackle illegal file-sharing. However we remain unconvinced that technical measures are the best way to do this and are concerned that not enough safeguards currently exist within the legislation.”

Labour has gone someway to ease the blow with Harriet Harman, the leader of the Commons, claiming that controversial elements of the bill, which grants rights-holders the power to force ISPs to block websites hosting pirated content, would be opened to further Parliamentary scrutiny and public debate, but whether that happens remains to be seen.

Lib Dems, Conservatives reject social networking for policies

The Lib Dems and Tories have said they will be relying mainly on their policies to get them through the General Election rather than social networking.

Don Foster MP, Lib Dem Shadow Culture, Media and Sport Secretary, told TechEye: “Social networking is a great way to communicate and stay in touch. I regularly tweet and think it’s a brilliant way to share ideas and opinions.

“The general election however will be decided by who has the best policies, not by who has the most friends on facebook. Only the Lib Dems can be trusted on political reform; on the economy and have the policies to build a fairer Britain. “

Mr  Foster’s statements cast a shadow over a report published by Tweetminster, which monitors politicians’ use of Twitter. Last month ut found that more MPs were now using the micro-blogging site rather than writing their own blogs. More than 100 MPs used the site to communicate with voters – of these 65 were Labour, 23 were Liberal Democrats and 16 were Conservatives.

Its report said: “We believe that Twitter and other social media platforms, if used effectively, have the potential to impact the next general election in unprecedented ways that probably can now only be speculated – for the simple reason that many of these tools weren’t around the last time the country took to the booths.”

But Conservative leader David Cameron is so sure about his party’s measures he’s announced he won’t be embarking in social networking.

He said at a recent party conference: “You need to use all methods of communication… The only problem I have is that politicians spend so much time talking, and giving speeches and giving interviews and on blogs and all the rest of it.

“Every time you add to the great panoply of communication you have to think about whether you can keep it up and whether you are going to fully think through everything say before you say it.”

Despite that, the Tory party does have its own blog and various channels on sites such as Facebook and Twitter. David Cameron’s wife Samantha has also been using YouTube to show support for her husband’s election campaign.

We were unable to get a comment from Labour at the time of going to press but judging by the state of the country we think the party should be using as many social networking channels as possible.

Lib Dems blast rivals in new online campaign

The Liberal Democrat Party has finally launched its online campaign for the upcoming UK elections.

The ‘Labservatives’ website claims to be from both the Labour and Conservative parties, with overlapping red and blue backgrounds. The logo resembles the old Labour symbol of the red rose, although this time in white, and its slogan is ‘For more of the same…’ The site looks as though it could also be 3D, if you had the right goggles.

The site highlights that for the last 13 general elections the UK have voted in either a Labour or Conservative Prime Minister. This, according to the site, has made these two parties complacent and there should be a change.

The figurehead of the site is a nightmare-ish mish-mash of Gordon Brown and David Cameron, called Gorvid Camerown.

“We’ve taken the first step on our unstoppable stroll to victory with the launch of a brand new advertising campaign,” Gorvid announces on the first post of the site. “But though our triumph may be inevitable, we’re leaving nothing to chance. Number 10 is where we belong. Besides, all our stuff’s there and the garden looks lovely at this time of year.”

The website also has a YouTube video of Gorvid laying out his ‘manifesto’ and some pictures of billboards with the Labservatives election pictures on. At the time of writing it is not known if these are mocked or genuine.

The campaign also has a twitter side, with both Gorvid and the Labservatives having accounts. There is also the opportunity for supporters of the campaign to add 3D glasses to their avatars.

The Labservatives seems to have been well met by the Lib Dem-ers on Twitter, the Labour and Conservative parties have not yet commented on it.