Thursday, March 25, 2010

Latest reply from John Mason MP ref Digital Economy Bill

As I understand it, they will drop all controversial parts of the Bill and only proceed with non-contentious issues. They do not have time to debate controversial issues. It is only at second reading stage which is relatively early on. If the Party Whips are deciding things, I think that means just Labour and Tory as they do not have much regard for anyone else!

We had a similar situation with the Child Poverty Bill this week and the Equality Bill is also going through the same process. Although they were further on.

I will certainly keep an eye on what is happening.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Response from my local MP ref Digital Economy Bill

I received a response from my local MP, John Mason MP. Some good and bad points, first John "will generally vote against Government measures to curtail debate" which I take it as John Mason will vote for a debate before the bill is passed.

Sadly though, it looks like the SNP are following the lead of Pete Wishart MP who cannot be acting independently in this matter as he is contracted to the music industry and therefore has commercial interest in this bill being pushed through.

Pete Wishart MP (Digitial Economy Bill section) on Open Rights Group Wiki

This is a stock reply as my wife filled out a form via 38 degrees ( and received exactly the same response.

Thanks for your email.

As I am not the SNP's spokesperson on this subject I will be guided by the line the Party is taking. Our spokesperson is Pete Wishart MP. I will certainly feed in the comments you are making as our group considers its position.

My own comments would be that I agree this should not be rushed through by the Government. I have seen a number of pieces of legislation during my time at Westminster that have not been properly considered or given adequate time for debate. You can take it that the SNP MPs including myself will generally vote against Government measures to curtail debate.

On the question of copyright I think there is a balance to be struck. It is long established that writers of books and composers of music should be protected for a certain length of time. If this did not happen, presumably no one would be able to afford to write a book or compose music. However, I do agree that such protection has to be reasonable.

I must admit I am very suspicious of the motives of huge companies like Google and Yahoo. Their primary aim is maximising their profit and I fear a lot of ordinary people get hurt in the process. Just as censorship applies to films at the cinema, I do think there needs to be some control over the digital economy. Facebook seem to have been taking a somewhat irresponsible line recently. If individuals and companies cannot exercise some degree of self-control, then I think there is a role for government to get involved.

I hope this explains my thinking a bit, however, I am certainly not an expert in this area. Feel free to come back to me on any point.

Yours sincerely

John Mason

Member of Parliament for Glasgow East - Ball-Pàrlamaid airson Glaschu an Ear
Scottish National Party - Pàrtaidh Nàiseanta na h-Alba
888 Shettleston Road, Glasgow G32 7XN

Blog migrated to Blogger Custom Domain

I've been holding off migrating my blog until I'd read up on everything. I created my blog years ago before Blogger (it was not owned by Google then) could host a blog on a domain other than and have been using Blogger's FTP service since.

Google are removing this method of Blog publishing from the 1st May and today I went ahead to use their new migration tool. My blog URL has had to change from to, but it works and took less than 15 minutes. Google goes through and updates my old blog (still at to add redirects so links will always work and point to the new location. I was considering moving to Wordpress, but my hosting company doesn't support MySQL or PHP with the package I use.

Thumbs up to Google for making this straight forward and retaining all my old posts and links!

Now I want to change my blog template...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

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Don't rush through the Digital Economy Bill

I’ve just written to my MP telling them why I am concerned that the Digital Economy Bill could be rushed through without a full Parliamentary debate.

Will you write to your MP too and tell them why the government shouldn’t rush through these draconian laws.

It only took two minutes:

Monday, March 15, 2010

I'm an Idiot

Whilst randomly flicking through XKCD and came along the following cartoon which reminded me of something which happened a few years ago to myself:

Sometime in February 2003 (possibly 18th Feb):

Came in from work at 6:30, sat down to watch Star Trek on BBC2. After Star Trek, realised I was hungry and had a look in the cupboards, not much selection, but enough to make a nutritious meal. But, no bread, that means no breakfast tomorrow and no packed lunch - I could go to Safeway to buy a takeaway curry, a few bits of frozen food and some bread. Right off I go.

Safeway - pick up a full basket load of stuff, buy it and catch the train back home. No keys. I left them on the desk in the flat, ok, spare keys, on the bottom shelf of the TV Cabinet, damn. Ok, phone a friend, battery is dead on phone, don't know any phone numbers....

Right, back to Safeway - sorry we are shut - ok then. Get back to flat, security door locked. Leave food in garden, get neighbour to buzz me in. Try to break in using movie tricks, failed. Ok, to the police station. "Sorry, gone are the days we can break your door in, but here is the phone number of someone who will". Hmmm

(Brainwave). All my phone numbers are stored on my work machine which is switched on and running VNC. Need to find somebody with an internet connection - VMLs technical directory, excellent. Internet connection not working properly.... found a computer that works. The "2" key and "w" key not working, both are required for connecting to computer - use desktop icons as a resource for "cut and paste" to create URL and Password. Connected. Phone friend and arrange to stay over.

Collect frozen shopping from Garden and take it to friends house. At last somewhere to sleep. I left the tinned food and pizza in the garden. I made sure that I left it in the back garden which doesn't get the morning sun, therefore remaining cold from the nights frost!!

Go to letting agents, agency has moved to a different location. Ok then, walk some more. "We don't hold the keys here you'll have to go to our head office in Canniesburn Toll". Right, begin long walk to East Dumbartonshire (found a bus that goes there, hoorah).

Finally I get back in. And food is still in the garden!!