10 questions to ask your MP about the Digital Economy Bill

9 April 2010

Over the next four weeks, you may be lucky enough to receive a doorstep visit from your MP. If so, it's the perfect opportunity to ask them about their views on the Digital Economy Bill. There are far, far more important issues to discuss - after all, you're voting on the next five years of government and all that entails, but by answering a few questions about the controversial Bill passed this week, you'll get a fair idea of their temperament, intelligence and honesty.

Start with pleasantries about the weather and what a nice jumper/shoes they're wearing.

1. Ask if they voted for or against the Digital Economy Bill. There's a reasonable chance they did neither, since plenty of MPs couldn't be bothered to even vote.

(find out if and how your MP voted here)

2. Ask if they attended the second reading of the Digital Economy Bill.

(you can find the answer to this at Did My MP Show Up Or Not - thanks to reader ClamMan for the link)

3. If not, why not? Aren't ministers meant to represent the public in the passing of law?

(they may point out that many readings see few MPs attend and, uh, they were busy that evening)

Point out that even at its peak, only 40 MPs were in attendance at the second reading - about 6 per cent of the total number of MPs, meaning over 600 MPs made similar excuses for not representing their constituents.

(they may point out that many MPs only enter the chambers if they have cause or reason to speak on a particular bill)

4. Ask why they had no opinion to offer on a bill that directly impacts the future media consumption and lifestyle habits of three quarters of the UK population.

5. Ask if they know what 'IP' in 'IP address' stands for. If they don't, point out that MP Stephen Timms doesn't either, and he's the minister responsible for the Digital Economy Bill.

6. Ask whether they are aware that under the Bill, ISP customers are now accountable for infringements of copyright - rather than the end user - meaning that entirely innocent individuals can potentially have their account suspended and be prosecuted.

7. Ask if they're aware that one of the country's largest mobile and broadband providers, Talk Talk, is vehemently opposed to the Bill.

8. Slightly off-topic, but sticking to the Digital Economy Bill, what did they think of both the Conservatives and Labour using a copyright image without permission in their recent Ashes to Ashes pissing contest?

9. Ask what influence they feel the entertainment industry had on the Digital Economy Bill. Ask if they're aware that the music industry had key requests entered directly into the Bill.

10. Ask if they genuinely believe that copyright theft is destroying the music industry and if so, what is their source of information? Chances are it's wrong.

11. Ask if they use a WiFi router at home. If so, are they aware in the future they could be liable for prosecution simply for switching their router on, should a third party decide to break their relatively timid encryption and download copyright material?

12. Are they aware that since ISPs could be forced to block any websites that may allow copyright infringement, this means the Bill has the power to see the likes of YouTube and Google blocked? You know, like in China?

Alright, that's far more than ten questions, but we doubt you'll get too far before they express an interest to talk at you about their agenda. At which point, feel free to remember that doctor's appointment you didn't have.

TOPICS:   Government   Technology

17 comments

  • Scott W.
    I have sent an email to my local mp Ian Wright asking why he voted for the Bill not expecting him to be able to work out how to use his computer and reply.
  • Warwick H.
    AND THIS BUNCH , YES ALL OF THEM HAVE THE BLOODY NERVE TO CONDEMN THE CHINESE, THE WHOLE LOT ARE JUST A BUNCH OF SHITBAGS. HALF OF THEM WOULDENT KNOW AN WHAT AN I.S.P. IS IF IT POKED THEM IN THE EYE THEY ARE SO THICK AND MY MP CLELLAND IS UP THEIR WITH THE THICKEST AND OUR MP IN WAITING , MEARNS, A LAZY GOOD FOR NOWT TOSSER.
  • BobF
    Great, my MP didnt bother to vote it seems, but a lot of his LibDem buddies did vote against it though. Given that MPs are there to "do the bidding of their constituents", I cant really see many voters asking for them to support the bill, which means theyve all been corrupted by business.
  • Adam
    Found no.5 the funniest of them all, and guess who my local MP is, yep Stephen Timms.
  • Adam
    WTF IS DIS REAL (But on a serious note, my MP didn't vote so I've sent her office an e-mail asking why...she probably won't reply though, too busy writing on her website about what things she's bought on expenses...)
  • Stuart R.
    Very good article Paul.
  • Paul C.
    If you look at the list (it's colour coded, folks), then you can clearly see that the majority of those against the bill are Liberal Democrats. Personally, I feel the liberals have much more in common with modern life ( policies on digital Britain and censorship etc) and are not out of touch like Cameron or Jowell and their ilk. Did you see Sir Menzies Campbell own everyone on Question Time this week? Milliband shit his nappy and Theresa May look fucked like her namsake.
  • Alexis
    Hazel Blears, Salford. Didn't bother voting.
  • Adam
    Iain Wright, MP for Hartlepool, what a cunt.
  • shinkyshonky
    thanks Paul for a good article...except for the lib dems the others are too busy pissing about the country with the does my bum look big in this mantra...were fucked...their fucked...the whole country is fucked, and don`t we know it
  • dunfyboy
    Willie Rennie - Lib Dem - PM's next door neighbour - couldn't be arsed voting.
  • cheapskate
    Neither of the Millibands bothered.
  • Brian
    Hi, my name is Brian. This is a very complicated subject. I am going to bed, and thinking it over (after wet dreams featuring Kiera Knightley) Thanks
  • Kevin
    My MP voted against, unfortunately he's leaving his job as he wants to get back to his job in academia (has had 5 years unpaid leave though). And yes he's Lib Dem, David Howarth (Cambridge)
  • Ten B.
    [...] ten questions to ask your own MP about the bill. If you’re lucky, they might be able to answer a couple of [...]
  • Labout B.
    [...] they know about the digital economy. Aside from pushing through a bill at the eleventh hour that many MPs couldn’t have cared less about, apart from the minister responsible for the bill not knowing what an IP address was – we now [...]
  • BT B.
    [...] a sow’s ear. Deliberately rushed through with little time to be debated, passed into law by MPs who didn’t necessarily understand what they were voting on, nobody seemed particularly happy with the [...]

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