Thursday, 22 November 2007

The Poliblogs 22 November 2007

Ich bin ein Clegghead

In the Lib Dem leadership race, Chris Huhne may have the right answers, but Nick Clegg is asking the right questions

James Graham


Labour's new lottery: You could be ripped off

In the annals of government cock-up, this is surely the single most astonishing and ludicrous episode of the past 25 years. I cannot think of another minister who has looked as overwhelmed, as hapless, as altogether washed-up as Alistair Darling, when he announced that the intimate financial details of 25 million Britons had been lost - lost - by the ministry entrusted with their safekeeping. Across the nation there will now be millions of families in states ranging from vague anxiety to panic. As they fight off the urge to ring their bank and verify the continued existence of their life savings, I want to console everyone with two bits of good news.

Boris Johnson


Why the government is in so much trouble

The most important political story on the internet is nothing written by a journalist, but the reaction being posted to on the lost data catastrophe. From the BBC to our own Coffee House, people are pledging to shut down bank accounts and vote Labour out. They seem utterly unmoved by assurances that all is well, and no one is really at risk. En route to PMQs, I bumped into a minister and we got talking about this. "Who on earth are these people?" he asked. The answer: the British public.

Coffee House


Not quite the Midas touch

Another day, another ball-dropping exercise exposed. Is there no depth of incompetence unplumbed? I am one of the lucky ones: I have no children and no Standard Life pension (yet) so my details hopefully aren't on any of the lost discs. I would be very surprised if the Revenue even have my bank details on their system at all*. The less of my personal information they have, the better in my humble opinion. But how has the machinery of national administration become so incompetent?

Edland


Not quite the fall guy

Lost data crisis: He must be wishing he'd never entered politics, but it's hard to see how Alistair Darling could have handled this week better

John Crace


New Labour: lost CDs, lost reputation

Taken in isolation, the CDgate affair should not inflict much damage on New Labour. At worst, it should entail no more than a few days of embarrassing headlines and the discrete rolling of heads at HM Revenue & Customs. No more would then be said, and the whole incident would be forgotten quickly enough as the nation enters fully into the permanent alcoholic stupor that dominates the Christmas and New Year period for the majority of the population. Shit happens, right? Can I get you a top up?

Dave’s Part


What if it was more than just a rogue “junior”?

Could Darling/Brown be accused of being “less than frank”? Two main articles this morning - a competition devised and operated by the site’s regular stand-in editor, Paul Maggs, on the Australian general election and the ongoing implications for the government of the missing data affair. Amongst the acres of coverage of the missing data CDs there are two stories which have the potential to cause serious problems for both Alistair Darling and Gordon Brown. For they suggest that the issue might be much bigger than the carefully crafted comments that both men have made to the house of commons.

Political Betting


Are ID Cards dead?

As so many people have already pointed out, the loss of the UK’s child benefit database is a disaster for the government. The incompetence beggars belief. This data is so important it should be treated like the launch codes for a nuclear weapon - there is nothing indicating that people were taking it anything like that seriously.

Liberal Conspiracy


Is this just the beginning of more security breaches going public?

Fraser Nelson over the Coffee Hosue has hit the nail on the head it seems. The Government just don't seem to get how serious this failure in security with our data has been. Working in the IT industry I have spoken to quite a few people today about it, and amongst the incredulous reactions to such incompetence there have also been stories from others who have worked on, or know people that have worked in Government.

Dizzy Thinks


Northern Rock weakens Cameron…

Gordon Brown has been strengthened by Northern Rock and David Cameron weakened.

For the first time since the 1860s people queued up outside a British bank to recover their savings. If continued the confidence crisis that was specific to Northern Rock could have spread, and could have led to a collapse in credit and a recession.

UBCF


How's The Old Penile Dysfunction Sir?

The sadly missed Doc Crippen warned Tyler some time ago. Once the NHS Supercomputer gets going, he said, the first question the traffic cops will ask when they pull you over on the A3 is how your penile dysfunction is coming along. Tyler crossed his legs and laughed. He shouldn't have. The Doc's concern was that his confidential patient records were being taken over by the state and woven into the Surveillance Society. First, they'd be available right across the NHS. Next, Social Services would be given access. Then, the Department for Work and Pensions, to check entitlements. Ditto, HMRC.

Burning Our Money


Ruth Kelly forced to vote for Bill condemned by the Roman Catholic Church

The Opus Dei representative to Her Majesty’s Government is about to face a distinct dilemma. It transpires that Labour MPs will not be given a free vote on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, and therefore Ruth Kelly, as a member of the Government, would be obliged to vote for the Bill under a three-line whip.

Cranmer


A mine of information

Lost data crisis: Behind the farce of mislaid discs is a sinister theme about the government's powers to trawl our personal details

Gareth Crossman


Australia's new republic

Whatever the result of the Australian election, there is bound to be one big loser: the British monarchy

Graham Smith


Campaign to stop extension of 28 days detention

I am, like many others, alarmed at this government’s repeated attempts to extend the detention-without-charge period for more than 28 days. It is already the longest in the world. New Labour is becoming addicted to authoritarian legislation and we need to actively challenge that. I’d like to start by exploring what part blogs can play in being part of a broader coalition to challenge the government on this issue.

Liberal Conspiracy


Shooting down the Argument for Gun Availability: Second Amendment

Kevin Yuill has published an argument at Spiked Online in defence of the wide availability of firearms in the USA, attempting to argue from the statistics. I thought I would have a closer look at “Kevin Yuill on the Second Amendment“:

The Wardman Wire

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