UK election 2010 – the technology vote

Technology policy and law is featuring prominently in the UK election campaign currently underway, with issues such as cloud computing, open source procurement and data protection finding their way into manifestos:

“The Liberal Democrats’ election manifesto published today (14 April) called for improved government IT procurement, including the use of cloud computing and open-source software.”

“The Conservative party has reiterated its plans to freeze major new IT spending and make changes in government procurement in its election manifesto… The Tories also pledged to create a “level playing field” for open source IT in government procurement, and to break up large IT projects into smaller parts to enable SMEs access to contracts.”

Labour repeatedly highlighted the importance of IT in its election  manifesto, which was launched today, but made few new IT-related promises.
The Labour Party stands on strengthening the digital economy, using open source in government IT …

“Despite the name, the Pirate Party isn’t just about file sharing. Yes, it wants to ensure a right to file share, as well as format shift – such as moving songs from CDs to iPods, which is currently technically illegal. It also wants to cut copyright from 70 years to 10 and put labels on products to warn of the “defect” of DRM… On top of that, the party would ban spying on communications, end “compulsory ID cards” and toughen up data protection laws.”

More links on tech policies from: the SNP and Plaid Cymru, and the Greens.

Clearly, IT is figuring much more prominently in the upcoming UK election than in New Zealand’s last election in 2008. One reason is that the UK has suffered a number of major IT project blow-outs in recent years (such as the disastrous ¬£12.7 billion NHS National Programme for IT) that have basically become minor election issues.

There are signs that technology is featuring more prominently in New Zealand’s political scene, though hopefully this will not be due to scandals over failed government IT projects.

However, the cynical last word must go to the Inquirer:

In short if you want to vote for someone on the basis of their enlightened IT policy you would be better off spoiling your ballot.