It's Gordon's new 'Big Idea', "Tens of thousands of public sector jobs could be scrapped in Jobcentres, passport centres and town halls as a result of the plans, which the government says will save £4 billion over four years.
The government wants everybody in the country to have a personalised website within a year and this clearly shows how out of touch they are with some simple realities of our internet society.
Having been around at the very beginning of UK Online, delivering on Tony Blair's 1998 vision through the Office of the e-Envoy, what Government is forgetting are two essential facts of life in our newly joined-up society.
The first is that 'Broadband Britain' only exists for those people who are lucky enough to live close to an exchange and even here in Thanet, out in the villages, it remains a challenge which has still to be resolved. The second and perhaps more important point that we've always known about, is that the poorer and more deprived you are, the less likely you are to be digitally enfranchised. This is particularly true of those who need benefits most, such as single mothers, the very elderly and so on. I think I wrote about this in The Observer newspaper some years ago – look it up if you like – but at the time, we agreed in Government that some 30% of the population were pretty much unreachable and we didn't know how to solve the problem of universal access.
I could go on but I really don't understand what Labour is on about here, by creating a whole new Cabinet Office unit to be run by Martha Lane Fox of 'Last Minute.com ' fame. From my point of view, it's 'pie in the sky' and worse still, simply rolling out the capability will cost £billions because of the squabble over who pays to join-up the UK population with fibre; the last mile argument!
Almost as bright today is the announcement that Labour will give the vote to 16-year olds if they win the election. Now why would they do such a thing in this 'Little Britain' they've created for us over the last decade? Very simply I suspect, because of demographic profile, which shows that the younger generation is more likely to vote Labour by virtue of population changes and a benefits dependant culture, in large parts of the country. Perhaps I'm being over cynical but the motive sounds about right to me.