Digital Economy Bill: the key decision to be made after the election #debill

Although Labour, with Conservative support, managed to ram through the Digital Economy Bill, that’s not quite the end of the matter as far as votes in Parliament are concerned.

That’s because one concession the Liberal Democrats did manage to extract was the provision that no ‘technical measures’ (i.e. cutting off people’s internet connections) can be introduced for at least a year, and only then can be done so after a period of analysis and consultation. Parliament will get a chance to vote on these  measure – even if the Government is a Tory or Labour one that doesn’t want to change the legislation.

In other words, who gets elected at the general election matters – not just in casting a verdict on what has been done, but in deciding who gets to vote on any such future proposals.

Phil Gyford has an excellent blog post (which says much of what I thought of writing, but far far better) – “This is an outrage“:

I’ve been very angry about the rushed passing of the flawed Digital Economy Bill. I’ve also been increasingly angry about the nightmarish Twitter echo chamber of people being angry about the bill.

It’s an excellent post, but this future vote – and why the election therefore matters – is one he doesn’t make.

When it comes to voting at the general election, it is hardly a revelation that I think people should vote Liberal Democrat, but in this context it’s worth pointing out that every Conservative and Labour frontbencher present for the Digital Economy Bill’s third reading voted for the Bill; every Liberal Democrat frontbencher present voted against.

You can find the full list of MPs who voted for or against here, but a particular mention of Lib Dem MP Lynne Featherstone, who I help get elected to Parliament. She both voted against the Bill and (briefly due to the shortage of time allocated) spoke in the debate too.

She’s defending a majority of 2,395 over Labour in a borough where the other MP – Labour MP David Lammy- voted for the Bill. So if you feel strongly about the issue, why not make a donation to her campaign?

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4 Comments

  • Andrew Suffield 10th Apr '10 - 6:48pm

    The act’s not going to be removed in entirety; it’s an omnibus bill which does have a few decent things in it.

    Removing the chapter about persecuting internet users is another matter. Sadly, Lib Dem policy on IT and the internet does not really exist, and there’s no time left to make any.

  • This issue is very important to me and although was my intention to vote for the lib dems the initial support for the draconian action of web blocking completly swayed my vote. As i understand it the clauses in its initial draft of web blocking exactly the way the BPI told them to. (http://www.openrightsgroup.org/blog/2010/lib-dems-seek-web-blocking) (http://www.openrightsgroup.org/blog/2010/bpi-drafted-web-blocking)

    For what i consider to be the most left wing of the three main parties how did this happen? It screams cooperate lobbying influence to me. If you want me to change my vote you need to come up with an IT policy and gain the support of the OpenRights group.

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