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Entanet has sent an open letter to Prime Minister-elect Theresa May urging her to replace current Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy, Ed Vaizey MP, with someone who has at least a smidgen of technical knowledge.
In the devilishly frank letter, Entanet’s head of service, Neil Watson, claims that Mr Vaizey has not been effective due to his non-technical background.
“We’ve not always seen eye-to-eye (what’s an over-intrusive Investigatory Powers Bill between friends?)” the letter reads. “But, as you reflect on who will be in your Cabinet, we’d urge you to give due consideration to the future Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy.”
Vaizey left university to work for the Conservative Party’s Research Department, before training as a barrister. In ‘96, he became the director of a public relations company before becoming the chief speechwriter for Michael Howard.
Watson pointed out that Vaizey’s own website describes him as being more ‘artsy’ than technical, and said that the minister has failed to ‘engage adequately with the industry on crucial matters’.
“Without really shaking things up and creating a separate Department of Communications (wherein the artsier elements of culture, media and creative industries can be dealt with adequately by a Minister of Mr Vaizey’s experience), it’s important to have a Minister in place who has the ability to understand the communications industry from a technical perspective,” the letter continued.
Entanet even went as far as to suggest a replacement for the tortured artist in the form of Baroness Joanna Shields.
Baroness Shields is a well-known technologist and parliamentarian, having worked for tech firms including Efi, Veon, RealNetworks, Google, Decru, AOL and Facebook, to name just a few. She also played a key role in the development of the TechCityUK initiative.
“Her experience of technology – which includes everything from streaming video and audio, network storage, online marketing, social media and latterly championing the social responsibilities of the Internet as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Internet Safety and Security – suggests to us that she has the abilities necessary to continue to pioneer digital technology within the United Kingdom,” Entanet wrote.