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Things I Have Learned Delivering LibDem Leaflets
April 18, 2010, 5:21 pm
Filed under: politics

For the past 6 months or so I have been delivering leaflets for the local Liberal Democrat party, and as you might imagine, the number of leaflets has increased recently, anyone would think there was an election on.

  • Some people have driveways that are far too long
  • Some people have too many steps.
  • It’s a great time for listening to audio books, I like SciFi myself, perhaps a little Cory Docterow?, or Kim Stanley Robinson. Red Mars is an epic story and I can’t wait to listen to the next 2.
  • Always open the inner letterbox flap by inserting you hand palm up, if you don’t, you might end up scratching your knuckles.
  • Don’t ben too worried about dogs, unless they’re waiting for you on the other side of the letterbox you’ll have plenty of time to make your getaway.
  • Marks and Spencer carrier bags are not strong enough, you’ll be lucky to get a half a round out of it before one of the handles goes. Blackburn Rovers store bags survive a few rounds.
  • Keep your back straight while walking, don’t slouch.
  • Make sure the leaflets go the whole way through, don’t leave them sticking out. My Paperboy training came in really useful here.
  • Push other leaflets through too.
  • Don’t be tempted to remove opposition leaflets if they’re poking out.
  • Don’t drop your elastic bands.
  • Take a drink.
  • Don’t try and teach your son to ride his bike at the same time, you’ll get nowhere.

Do you have any tips? Any advice for fellow leafleteers?

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Why I would have voted FOR the Digital Economy Bill – by Angela Smith
April 7, 2010, 10:24 am
Filed under: politics | Tags:

I wrote to Angela Smith asking her not to rush through the Digital Economy Bill, here is the 2nd response I got, the first being a letter explaining my letter had been forwarded to another department.

Here is the letter in full:

07 April 2010

Our Ref: Digital Economy Bill

Dear Constituent,

Thank you for your recent email concerning the digital economy bill and the prospect of this bill becoming legislation.

Although I would have voted in favour of the bill at its second reading, none of the opposition parties provided any opposition to advancing the bill. As a consequence of this, no vote was held and so the bill progressed to committee stage unopposed. I do however feel compelled to explain the reasons why I was in favour of the bill’s passage at second reading.

It is the case that businesses crucial to the UK’s media and technology economy will greatly benefit from the implementation of the bill. Such companies include Channel 4, whose main benefit would be an extension of its public service remit.  The Bill will legally require Channel 4 to invest in film, thereby securing its already considerable commitment to this medium.

The other provision I strongly support is that relating to the strengthening of online protection of children and young teenagers. There have been numerous cases of children downloading information, using internet gaming and using social networking sites without their parents’ supervision or permission. The internet is one of the most influential and therefore powerful tools in the world, and there is little doubt that this level of unregulated and free information can have dangerous consequences on an impressionable mind.

A major area of controversy that the bill seeks to readdress would be the issue of online gaming. Rather than there being two regulatory boards examining and classifying the suitability of games, there would now be just one, avoiding the confusion on gaming suitability that currently exists. Secondly, the bill would put in place a strict procedure when games rated for ages 12, 16 and 18 are supplied to people under these ages,  as it simplifies and clarifies the law on age-related status for retailers, parents and children, ensuring that children are not exposed to any material that is not deemed appropriate for them. Finally, it will create an age ratings system harmonised across 30 European countries so that children will not become exposed to offensive gaming material from other countries. Whilst the majority of research conducted on the internet is useful and informative, I believe that where we can take reasonable measures to protect children then this action should be taken.

It is also the case that the Bill has been thoroughly debated in the Lords and amended in relation to the provisions on copyright.  It is my understanding that a clear and effective appeal mechanism has been put in place and that before Regulations could be implemented there would be full consultation and Parliamentary scrutiny.

Yours sincerely

Angela Smith MP

Sheffield Hillsborough

So in short, my MP would have voted for the bill because it had a couple of provisions in it that protected children, regardless of how many bad provisions there are in the bill. Surely that is a reason NOT to vote for it and hold it over for proper debate and proper consultation in the next parliament!

Update: As Saul pointed out on Twitter, the last paragraph says it all “It is also the case that the Bill has been thoroughly debated in the Lords“, an unelected and unaccountable body, and that is one of the complaints against the bill.

I’ll update the post when I send a reply.