Ben Goldacre’s verdict on the Digital Economy Bill #debill

Via Twitter, Ben Goldacre says:

Cldnt vote Lab or Con now.¬†#DEBill isn’t the most important issue, but like magic beans, its a revealing indicator¬†http://short.to/23hp5

Well Ben, given The Guardian‘s report of the debate perhaps I can make a suggestion about who to vote for…

Weirdly, it’s the Lib Dems who are being the opposition in this: the Conservatives briefly had Ed Vaizey – can’t see if he’s still there – and Adam Afriyie, but they’ve not taken part in the debates at all apart from an aggressive grump from Vaizey where he told Labour MPs that if they didn’t like it they’d have to lump it…

“I beg to report that the committee has gone through the bill….” Huge uproar. “Question is that the bill now be read a third time.” Aye from the government, huge shout of “Nooooo!!!” from the Lib Dem benches.

That big shout of “Nooo!!!” could have been a thousand souls crying out as one at the sight of the government shoving through 41 clauses of a bill. The third reading is the final step that brings it to the end…

The lack of engagement by the Tories – and Ed Vaizey’s taunting of the Labour benches – may come back to haunt them if they win: it’s going to cause all sorts of roadblocks for the digital economy. And it may come back to haunt them if there’s a hung Parliament, since this won’t be popular with the Lib Dems.

The Liberal Democrat votes (with a few rebels) against the Bill didn’t win the day. Now it’s back to the Lords where the Conservatives (with Lib Dem and other support) have the votes to block the Bill.

But will they? Almost certainly not given their line in the Commons.

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