There\’s a Simple Way To Do This


Parents could be required to provide their children with high-speed internet access under plans being drawn up by ministers in partnership with some of the country\’s leading IT firms.

Jim Knight, the schools minister, said he is in talks with companies such as Microsoft, BT, Sky, Virgin and RM to help close the widening achievement gap between pupils from the richest and poorest families. More than one million children have no access to a computer at home.

Let\’s start from the premise that this actually is a good idea. OK, what\’s the best way of getting universal access to the web for all schoolchildren?

In an interview with the Guardian, Knight signalled that the government was putting pressure on IT firms to bring down the cost of equipment if internet connections are in effect made compulsory for nearly six million children.

Erm, no, that\’s probably not it.

I\’m rather out of date but I think you can get access for £10 a month or so? Great, add £2.50 to the child credit for every first child (we already have different amounts for first and further children, don\’t we?) and tell parents that they\’ve got to have said net access. Problem solved.

The only problem with this is that while it might be cheaper, more sensible and more efficient, it doesn\’t allow ministers to look good while sticking it to the capitalists: it also makes clear, because it has to be paid for from taxation, what the real cost is. Can\’t have that now, can we? People actually knowing what the cost of something is?

7 thoughts on “There\’s a Simple Way To Do This”

  1. It’s possibly more a case of the capitalists sticking it to them. Think special education discounts from approved vendors, think about what it is that Microsoft and RM sell, and how it’s not consumer broadband services.

    So Knight gets to boast about the fine deal he’s done, they get to expand their education sales from schools into the home. “Ooh Jim,” they say, “we love it when you beat us.” (-:

  2. Next we have an increase in children using the internet to look at dirty pictures.
    Government is outraged, blames the ISPs and enforces blocking of sites they don’t like.

  3. I don’t see anywhere in that article exactly how they plan to compel parents to provide Internet access for their children…

  4. Yes, trouble is many of the little darlings are the spawn of semi-literate teenagers who flit in and out of each others lives and bedrooms with the sort of regularity one can only envy, ah, sorry, no, I meant of course, despair of.

    Add to that that said semi-literate teenage parents probably don’t have anywhere to put in a landline so have a mobile phone which is on a text-message tariff because they only have a vocabulary of 2000 abbreviated words anyway………

    How does one enforce this? And maintain the pc when it crashes? And force upgrades to software to suit Mr Gates’ business development plans and to hardware when the pc won’t run the latest versions any more?

    Sounds like another government initiative, alright. We already know that teenage mothers spend the Child Benefit on clothes for themselves and going out to get pissed.

    Ergo, the answer is plain; I sense another Department built around the need to employ PC Technicians who’ll rush to any hovel, any time to fix the 10 year old pc, or upgrade it, all at the taxpayers’ expense. It’ll need its own Minister, of course, and a staff of bootlickers – 15,000 should do for starters – all on full public sector benefits. Yayy! Another triumph for common sense and joined up government!

  5. I don’t see anywhere in that article exactly how they plan to compel parents to provide Internet access for their children…

    They could start sending child benefit via PayPal. Incentives all round.

  6. That Milton Friedman was a wacky old sod, wasn’t he? Fancy suggesting that one of the problems with big government is that big business clambers into bed with it and carves out deals that are to its advantage!

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