30 July 2008
Nu-Labour to censor the blogs
As part of its drive to ensure that political debate in Britain is fully controlled, Nu-Labour now wants to censor the blogs and the social networking sites such as FaceBook and MySpace. Under new parliamentary proposals a watchdog would be established, but without any statutory powers. Knowing Nu-Labour that would probably change later as part of a drive to ensure that people's legitimate complaints are fully answered, or some such guff.
If anyone doubts that, then let them consider these carefully worded remarks from a source close to the committee:
At the moment consumers don't know where to go if they want to complain about something they have seen on the internet. The absence of any industry body is leading to a great deal of confusion and to widely differing practices. The idea is that a self-regulatory body like the Advertising Standards Authority would be set up to make sure that members, including, internet companies and search engines, subscribe to the code and abide by rulings.Now, the fact that the Daily Telegraph's report also included details of a businessman who has just received £20,000 in compensation after having been libelled on FaceBook suggests to me that consumers and every bugger else knows only too well how to complain, but that's Nu-Labour spin for you.
What happens when the bloggers give a sarcastic, two-fingered salute to this new body? That they will is beyond doubt. We write for ourselves, and unlike traditional newspapers cannot be blackmailed with the usual threat of toe the line or your editor doesn't get his knighthood. Furthermore, socialist blogs such as this one, or libertarian sites such as The Devil's Kitchen would almost certainly go out of their way to ensure that the new regulatory body criticised them. Let's face it, the hits that we would get from just a single criticism would be zip busting in the extreme, and we just live for that stat porn, don't we?
So legal powers to enforce judgements can be expected to follow in due course. That's just the way that Nu-Labour operates.
British bloggers need to put aside their political differences and decide how we are going to combat this attack on all of us.