Friday, 9 April 2010

Digital Economy Bill

Wow. Gordon Brown called the election on the date we all predicted, and suddenly my inbox had hundreds of emails in it! It's been great to hear from so many people in the constituency over the last week - but answering all my correspondence, as well as doing some media work and knocking on doors to chat to people face-to-face has meant that my blogging hasn't been too up to date. Apologies for that.

I have been doing a fair amount of connecting with people on Twitter though (@HackneyMatt for those who are interested in following what I'm up to), and the major political event for that site over the last week has without doubt been the passage of the Digital Economy Bill.

As this speech by Tom Chance - the Green Party's spokesperson on intellectual property - makes clear, this is a deeply flawed and illiberal bill. A survey of just some of its possible effects makes extremely worrying reading - but perhaps even more worrying is the way that it was passed. Despite constant and increasingly urgent warnings from thousands of concerned citizens about the gaping holes in the logic of the legislation, Parliament had a grand total of five minutes to discuss forty-two clauses of the Bill. This was excused by the fact that the law was being passed during the 'wash up' - a time at which debate is curtailed so that non-controversial legislation can be passed before the end of the Parliamentary term. Once again, Members of Parliament have shown contempt for the concerns of ordinary people - and if elected, I will fight for the repeal of the Digital Economy Bill.

I should also add that, in the interests of honesty and transparency, Diane Abbott did the right thing on this and voted against the Bill. Congratulations to her - I'm happy when we agree! Now, if only she can persuade Lord Mandelson to drop the whole thing....

In other news, readers might be interested to read a short interview with me in Red Pepper about the campaign, along with a few thoughts on the medium term prospects for the left in Hackney.

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