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Edward Macnaghten [opinions]

Let me talk politics

fsmsh.com/2123 [uk] [open-source] [politics]

If, for whatever reason, you have done some digging on me you will have discovered a dark secret. Well, not quite a secret as I do not hide it, nor is it that dark, more of a information non publiée.

I am involved in local politics, and my political party is the Tories.

There, I have said it. I have come out of the closet. I have admitted it. I can now wander around the Free Software Magazine pages without hiding my true nature. I am free!

The reason for me being a supporter of the Tories are outside my writing obligations for Free Software Magazine. So, I will not bore you with my political dogma and ideologies. However, today I am feeling happy, for very much to my surprise there is a BBC report stating Tories want to open source Whitehall.

I would argue that whatever your political colour is, this is good news. The more awareness of the free software issues the better, and for any political party of that stature this is even more so. For senior politicians to understand the benefits of free software also means they understand the attacks from unethical closed software companies and know not to be duped by them.

The fact this has happened is surprising to me. I was somehow invited to a “do" involving senior members of the party in 2003 and I managed to corner some of them for a while. When I mentioned “Open Source for IT" then the replies I got were in the form of “Open what?" or “What is IT" or “Yes I understand, leave me your card and I will get back...", which they never did. IT and computers are not the traditional areas of expertise of Tories. Remember, this is the party of Margaret Thatcher.

I suppose the old move on and the new move in, and it is good to see the current lot are free software advocates. I find this to be brilliant news and amazing. I would never have suspected it. A cynic would say they are saying this to try and drum up popularity. However, my reply to that is if this concept either drums up or is considered to drum up votes then so much the better for free software. As my daughter would say, “Woo-Hoo!". If other political parties jump on the bandwagon, then that would be fantastic. Unfortunately, it does not look as though Tony Blair's lot will any time soon though.

It is just a shame the Tories' announcement of this is overshadowed by a report that a Tory front-bencher has been sacked due to “unacceptable comments about race in the army". Ah well, such is the behavior of politicians and the media...

UPDATE: The Conservatives, naturally, have a link on their site. It is here.

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