I had an interesting discussion this morning in Oslo with an old friend (Hallstein Bjercke) and his colleague at IKT Norge, Torgeir Waterhouse. IKT is the trade association for the Norwegian IT sector, and Hallstein and Torgeir work on IT and tech policy questions with Norwegian politicians on a daily basis.
Hallstein, knowing I’m a member of the Labour Party, posed me a simple enough question: what is the UK Labour Party’s tech policy at the moment? And was I in some way involved in shaping it?
So what is the answer?
For sure I am in no way formally involved and, as far as I can tell, things have not moved on from 2010 when it comes to technology policy. The Labour Party website does not have a page on any policy at the moment (seriously – or if there is one I can’t find it), let alone technology policy, and the link to the 2010 manifesto is broken. Thankfully the BBC still has the PDF, and eDemocracy blog has a handy summary of the core technology related aspects. Worthy stuff, but not really detailed or especially aspirational.
The formal answer someone from Labour HQ would give to Hallstein’s question is that reviews like Refounding Labour and Fresh Ideas are still going on, and that a policy will emerge… Likewise there could be some role for the National Policy Forum of Labour to have a look at these issues. But are those forums and processes going to be advanced or specialised enough? Further, it’s fair to say that at the moment, Labour is miles behind the Liberal Democrats when it comes to thinking about these issues.
So then, I am a party member, I work in the tech sector, I can draw on the best cases from around Europe that people like Hallstein and Torgeir are capable of highlighting, but how can I channel this at the moment? If you do know, please comment below!