How not to be a Popular Politician

So, while everyone was watching the Bush Bank Bail-out plan get rejected by Congress, they also found time to approve more bad copyright law, an RIAA-backed initiative to attack cooperative download tools like BitTorrent. Thankfully, the attempt to empower the Department of Justice to prosecute on behalf of Big Music was lost (DoJ didn’t want the task anyway) and the Bush administration is minded to veto it.

But that’s been the least of my politician annoyances in September. Earlier this year, we were encouraged by Cooperatives-UK to get involved with our Local Strategic Partnership. I went to North Somerset Partnership’s event but I was less than impressed by it. There’s no obvious way that NSP is capable of promoting cooperation. Publishing a thick glossy book about sustainability makes me wonder if it’s capable of doing anything sensible – most people I’ve shown it to have either laughed at it, or got angry about the wasted resources.

They’re not the only LSP we have here. Last week, I went to the West of England Partnership’s Transport Forum which

“horrendously perverted the idea of a “forum” – the event would have been better titled “Joint Transport Lectures” because nearly all our time was spent watching council officers and consultants tell us how wonderful transport is here (they’re meeting 18 out of 21 targets, you know!) and what roads and bus roads they will build next. … The whole event seems like a colossal waste of resources for all involved.”

So, I seem to be having a bad time with politicians recently. If the above wasn’t enough, we got a reply to our petition requesting ODF at the National Archives which amazingly doesn’t mention Open Document Format at all. I’ve written to our MP (John Penrose) asking about that.

And finally, I asked Climate Change Minister Joan Ruddock MP

“If there’s no windfall tax to fund it, how will the government remove the climate-harming services from the market and encourage new suppliers (particularly Third Sector ones who should show concern for their communities and sustainable energy) into the market?”

and got the non-answer of

“The Government is tackling a very wide range of issues that impact on Climate Change through a variety of mechanisms. The energy efficiency programme recently announced is directed at those most in need and where a small expenditure can produce a significant and lasting saving in energy use. Thus saving households money and reducing CO2 emissions.”

What the heck has that to do with removing harmful services and encouraging new suppliers?

If any politicians want to be held in better esteem, try giving some straight answers instead of imitating the above, please. “Yes, Minister” was meant to be a satire!

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