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Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Timms - pleased but..

Stephen Timms has been announced as Communications Minister but is the timing crap or what? .........

I've met Timms, followed much of his career because of my involvement from before CBN got off the ground etc, and read much about his engagement with all things 'digital'. I know many people who have worked under him and with him.

But I think there has been a major cock up here.

Someone like Timms, who has experience in the social enterprise sector, who is heftily involved with communities (Newham etc), and who is without a doubt a geek with vision, should have been involved in Digital Britain from the offset. He has a broad mindset for all things 01100100011010010110011101101001011101. Timms is not an industry insider who has now set the gameplan in his report and scarpered. Many of us feel very unsure about the longevity, scope and industry agenda of that report - not just for broadband, but across media, spectrum issues, etc etc, hence the much welcome, grassroots political activity that led to the Unconferences.

I think I feel sorry for Timms. The summer recess is nowhere near over, and when everyone comes back he has 'moments' before the Christmas recess to achieve anything, and as of January, campaigning will start in earnest for the election, with the largest number of new candidates running for election since 1833 - fondly known as the "Class of 2010".

His chances to give us any kind of a #digitalbritain legacy will, whatever the end result of the election, undoubtedly be overturned by all the bloody shenanigans that a general election engenders in the civil service. You try phoning them in the interim...last time, I spent hours trying to track down DTI contacts, only to be told, "No-one is really in charge right now."

All I see, and as ever I am being my normal blunt self, is yet further delays in creating #digitalbritain, a potentially good person who could help the eNdGAme be achieved being shafted by the system because of the timing, and another f*&^ up in working together as a nation to deliver what is required for the eNdGAme.

Right now, I feel far from +ve.

I would welcome other points of view, either via the comments section or in my inbox.

Cheer me up, folks, please. Me crystal ball 'as gorn all cloudy and I think it's tears.

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Michael said...

You are quite right about the enormous missed opportunity of Government not involving Steven Timms from the very beginning of the Digital Britain process and also about the very short timeframe to make anything happen before the electioneering starts.
However - if anyone could hit the ground running on this, it is Steven. This is the best chance we have got of some positive moves over the next few months. I guess one big step would be to get BIS to release the funding that could let CBN move fast to set up INCA - which would start to give the independent fibre initiatives a bit more of a joint voice and an 'official' status.
Knowing Steven - he is passionate about community broadband and very open to suggestions - I think he would respond very positively to a very short list of some key practical actions that could be sorted quickly.
Would it be worth getting some ideas together? What about the VAT issue on fibre? Lindsey - you have been on fire recently with great practical suggestions. Why not list some of the best and see if they can be worked up a bit?

Cyberdoyle said...

Just hope he is there long enough to do the job properly, we all know he is capable of it...
...and hope he doesn't get nobbled by the telcos in the same way his predecessor did. If they can't stand the heat they get out of the kitchen. Telcos are milking an obsolete copper network for shareholders and holding back the innovation and growth of our digital economy. Other nations are forging ahead with fibre, and Stephen Timms will know this and implement the measures needed to recover our position as a leading nation not one still in the dark ages of narrowband...

rule britannia. power to the people. rock on steviebaby.