Published in October 1995 issue of Prospect Magazine
The internet is a great big electronic reference book. But as with paper-based books, unless you have a reason to look for something, you might get bored flicking aimlessly through undifferentiated information. Worse still, because the Internet is still so massively dominated by American universities, American interests and, well, Americans, its relevance or usefulness to the UK or European chattering classes can seem a little obscure. Help is at hand in this column. Prospect will track and report developments on the Net which touch the world of politics and current affairs and which may be of interest to our readers. Feel free to contact us with anything you want to pass on-our e-mail address is:
politics uk-Punch this into the search section of your web browser and follow some of the hypertext links to see what’s there. Initially you will probably be taken to that great big Internet index known as Yahoo. Don’t be alarmed when you see that the first UK entry is for An Phoblacht, the newspaper of Sinn Fein. Don’t be alarmed either, when, inexplicably, you stumble over a reference to “polyarmory and polyfidelity: new approaches to multiple relationships,” described in an accompanying comment as “a fascinating and provocative look at a neglected aspect of sexuality.”
www.open.gov.uk-This is the main site for our own dear government’s presence on the information superhighway. Lots of ministries and government agencies are represented. You can find out all sorts of information and statistics. Pity they all say the same: things are bad and likely to get worse. Here you can read minutes of the meetings between Ken Clarke and Eddie George. Read them and marvel at the fullness and length of the economic review which the Governor delivers to the Chancellor. Sympathise when the Governor says it is not easy to put all this information together. Or you can electronically nip over to the Foreign Office and see a picture of that nice Douglas Hurd visiting Estonia, or look at the most recent speech given by the then Chief Secretary to the Treasury, one Jonathan Aitken, on March 22nd 1995. Open it may be, up-to-date it isn’t. Anthony Barber didn’t feature, but I’ll bet it was a close thing.