Saturday, September 02, 2006
"Owl magnet" knocks Miliband's "contract" off it's perch!
Miliband's wiki withered by bloggers!
The experiment by South Shields MP and Environment Secretary David Miliband has gone dreadfully awry after Guido alerted readers to it's existence. Jonathan Richards in The Times reports the story;
A few hours after the site went live, administrators at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) withdrew the page, the suggestions of more than 170 people having proved less than earnest. I still congratulate him for making efforts to connect with his electorate and to be engaged with those who are touched by his policy cornerstones, however, this morning his wicki is offline and it is rapidly becoming apparent that where "cyberspace" is concerned, David still has some very hard lessons to learn!
Among the ideas posted by visitors to the site were: "The likes of Jeremy Clarkson, in promoting pollution, should be penalised thrice over" and "We just can't help but meddle, interfere, impose our views on others, and generally use taxpayers' resources in ways that are wasteful except in our own self-aggrandisement."
Under a list of things that citizens should do, a reader had added: "Pay a higher proportion of their income to the Government, and see little tangible improvement in their standard of living."
The complex question of "what tools can be used to deliver the environmental contract?" met with the response: "Spade, Organic Yoghurt Stirrer, Old washing-up liquid bottle, Sticky Back Plastic."
In a list of "tools that show that government practises what it preaches", someone had inserted: "Tony Blair mask; Full Tony Blair outfit". A list of items that "create the right incentive frameworks" was altered to include "Big stick" and "Owl magnet".
Among the edits that were more surrealistic than political, the heading "Who are the parties to the environmental contract?" became "Where is the party for the environmental contract? Can I come? Will there be cake? Hooray!" The attack on the site apparently began after blogs alerted readers to the presence of the document on the Defra site.
By last night the defaced page had been taken down, and the original text — still with an exhortation to "amend or add" to the points "as you think necessary" — had been restored. The administrators had added a note that the wiki facility had been "locked" for the time being to prevent editing.
"Thanks to everyone for their interest so far, do visit again and continue the discussion. In the meantime, you are welcome to read the comments and materials submitted."
The page was an experiment, a Defra spokeswoman said. "It is unfortunate that these things do happen. This in no way undermines our commitment as a department to dealing with serious issues and using new technology to pioneer an open style of government."
The defaced version of the text on the Defra website: "Hi there. I'm David, Dave, Milliband. I've set up this big conversation in cyberspace here to try and create a news story based around the fact that New Labour (and me especially) really want to know what the public think about the environment . . . . . . Also, look at my beautiful face"
Citizens will . . .
# Never wash
# Drink only bottled water
# Use government promotional material to promote the benefits of uncleanliness
# Encourage their neighbours to spy on each other
Government will . . .
# Remove the Thames barrier
# Blame the Tories when things go wrong
# Send out photos of Tony Blair
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