I, along with many others, tuned in last night to watch this year’s Dimbleby Lecture given by Baroness Martha Lane Fox.
Martha Lane Fox is probably best known as the founder of Lastminute.com with Brent Hoberman but latterly has given her time to two governments as a Digital Champion.
The thrust of her lecture was for the establishment of a dot everyone, to make the UK the most digital nation on the planet. She quoted the late activist Aaron Swartz who once said, “It’s not OK not to understand the internet anymore.”
The next day I saw this tweet from Baroness Fox;
Of course it never happened and it was never going to happen. I get the impression that many in the media see not being knowledgeable about the internet as a veritable badge of honour. A sign that they are somehow above it all and reasonable and proper debate and thought takes place away from the idle chatter and noise of “the internet”.
In this General Election “The Internet” is not seen as the real issue. The real issues are immigration, the economy, wages and jobs. Well try and get a job without decent access to the internet. Almost impossible.
Somehow we need to break this false dichotomy of new and old.
If a child spends time on a computer it is deemed, by many, to be wasted time. Time they should be using to climb trees, scrape knees play with other likeminded children and get skin cancer.
A child who locks themselves in their room and reads the entire Harry Potter series of books is seen as some kind of hero. No doubt a genius. Let’s gloss over the fact reading is a solitary activity and one where they are unlikely to climb any real trees or scrape any knees. At least they wont get skin cancer.
Once again it is the old world – good, new world bad.
Away from the media there are many in business who avoid the internet. In SME’s and boardrooms alike the internet is seen as unrelated to the real world of business. Let us hope they will realise it is not one or the other but both.
This year’s lecture was a breath of fresh air featuring as it did a call to action. This election I will be asking candidates for their views on superfast broadband, data security and the harnessing of the internet for the common good.
In the meantime I can sign the petition and back Baroness Fox’s call for a dot.everyone institution. I leave you with her words.
“Britain invented the BBC, the NHS – let’s not have a poverty of ambition – we can and should be inventing the definitive public institution for our digital age. If you like the idea, I have set up a petition at change.org so please sign it. And please blog, tweet, respond – lets start the debate.”
Sign the petition here
The Richard Dimbleby Lecture
A PS to show how far we still have to go.
I wanted to book a service for my car. I was extremely gratified to see my local dealer had an on-line booking page. I duly filled in the form with my name, car model, preferred day of the week and my contact details. I clicked send and received a message that they would be in touch. Four days and nothing. When I rang the garage they admitted they don’t really check their emails or notifications, “Always better to ring us” they said. Words fail me.