Digital Economy Bill

The rushing through of the Digital Economy Bill through its last stages and 3rd Reading last night in the Commons was a classic example of the arrogance this Labour government has shown to many key issues. I have been shocked and appalled by the way they carry out their business – without a blush as they push through bad legislation – because they can. Rubbing right up against the dissolution of Parliament – the Government should have stop pushing this flawed Bill through – and let it come back for proper scrutiny and passage in the new Parliament – whoever is the government.

It is clear from the massive amount of unhappiness arriving in MPs’ mailboxes that there is genuine and widespread concern amongst people out there that the Digital Economy Bill has got a number of key things wrong. As I said in the debate last night – is it not more important to get it right than get it through?

Sadly, the Government whips were out – and the Bill passed despite the Liberal Democrats and a few Labour rebels voting against 3rd Reading.  It now continues again to the Lords for any 11th hour miracle that our lordships can muster. I hope that our LibDem Lords will try and block the Bill altogether.

There are key issues that need more scrutiny and need better solutions: how to deal with file sharing and illegal down-loading (making sure originators get their due but not by draconian means like web blocking) and how to make sure that ‘orphan works’ , for example photographs without a known photographer, don’t become a free source of material to those who want to use the work but don’t want to bother to find the originator and pay the copyright fees.

Without going into detail overdrive – these are massive issues that the Bill in its current form really doesn’t resolve and which could do massive harm. Given more time – there are solutions out there.

This was a real demonstration of so much that is wrong with our democratic processes – because whilst the Government can always get its business through in the end because it has more votes – to do so without proper scrutiny and debate means that bad legislation gets through. And bad legislation in Parliament – means that everyone affected by that particular issue will suffer in their walk of life.

We really are at last chance saloon today in the Lords. There is no more that can be done in the Commons. What an indictment.

0 thoughts on “Digital Economy Bill

  1. Pingback: Akma » Do What Must Be Done

  2. I hope someone posts on Youtube Dennis McShane rolling in to the house half-drunk last night.

    With his absurd power-swagger and his stupid tie he proceeded to give a lecture to the house about the rights of hard-working journalists to get paid for ther work. Uh?

    If ever there was a demonstration of the insufferable arrogance of this government, which is not interested in listening to the debate, but intent on imposing half-baked, shoddily produced legislation, there you had it.

  3. That “orphan works” clause is the one that gives the game away – far from being a measure to ensure creative artists get fair compensation for their work (which is how it’s being sold), the whole thing’s effectively a land-grab by the big media cartels. More proof (if any was needed) that the Labour party has lost both it’s moral compass and it’s soul.

    As someone who probably spends a four-figure sum on music annually, I’m boycotting the major record labels – all the artists I care about release their music independently, and are likely to be harmed by this bill.

  4. I don’t think you paint an honest picture when you say : “the Bill passed despite the Liberal Democrats and a few Labour rebels voting against 3rd Reading”

    The (admittedly tiny) tory turnout was split 60/40 against the bill, and the “few labour rebels” outnumbered the 18 Lib Dems who turned out to vote (out of 62)!!

    The bill passed not because of the labour whip and majority, but because Liberal Democrats and Conservatives didn’t turn up to vote!

    There were only 5 Lib Dems in the committee reading, and the front bench contributions from Don Foster were mediocre compared to the contributions made by back benchers accross all parties!

    You can’t blame a labour majority when our MPs turn up in such small numbers that they couldn’t have successfully opposed the bill in a hung parliament!!

  5. I was delighted to see my MP was among the very few (of all parties) who bothered to turn up to this crucial debate. Clause 18 needs loads more time for extremely careful consideration and this is a missed opportunity to engage more voters, especially young people.

  6. Pingback: Digital Economy Bill: vote breakdown « THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF MORTIMER

  7. In all fairness, we had the better policy, and were the only party to oppose and campaign against disconnection (apart from the front bench who still support that part, modulo some weak safeguards that they then withdrew) and the highest proportional turnout.

  8. What may I ask are we paying politicians for, when so few can be bothered to turn up for a vote that has had such obvious importance to many voters? Its something that I expect of my own Tory halfwit but for so many MPs of other parties not to turn up is frankly disgusting.

    Surely the advantage of overturning a government vote just before the election should be obvious to opposition parties? and with this inaction opposition parties have abandoned a chance to both show that politicians arent just sitting with their snouts in the trough, but are actually listening to the voters rather than large businesses, and so capture the youth vote.

    Sitting here the morning after, vastly disappointed at not being listened to once again

  9. Pingback: The Digital Economy Bill #debill « Strange Thoughts

  10. Chris,

    I share your frustration – unfortunately I feel that the DE act was a stitch up. Almost every labour MP voted for it. In order to kill this bill it would have required all the opposition parties to vigorously fight the bill. Unfortunately, as you can see – all but seven conservatives abstained from this vote. There’s no way that the 3rd biggest party can prevent the majority from having it’s way.

    If every single LibDem MP had been there to vote I do not think it could have made any practical difference. I would not like to see the MPs and PPCs diverting energy away from the campaign to fight an unwinable battle.

    The only criticism I might have of the Libdems is that the party realised far too late how awful this bill was, and how bad it looked to be be associating itself with this bill.