Leader: Why Blair must foster tech savvy

Technophobes in top government jobs are doing the UK a disservice...
Written by silicon.com staff, Contributor

Technophobes in top government jobs are doing the UK a disservice...

Many of us have been in the situation where we change jobs and realise the IT in our new office is a bit ramshackle.

But to hear how new MPs are realising soon after entering parliament that they have to provide IT services for themselves, and even log on in Starbucks if they want to efficiently email their constituents and live the connected government dream, is shocking.

Equally inexcusable is the fact this issue has gone unchecked for so long because too few MPs are tech-savvy enough to demand improvement. And it's a problem which goes right to the top.

If a new hire in a lowly position within a company arrives full of ideas about how the IT can be improved and how staff can be better-equipped for more efficient, profitable work, they are very unlikely to initiate change.

If the CEO thunders in one day demanding laptops for all and wi-fi throughout the premises, you can be sure the odds of change occurring are considerably shorter.

So to see the top jobs within government filled by self-confessed technophobes and the tech-ignorant is a cause for concern. The likes of Tony Blair can't necessarily force through change to IT services within Westminster but they can be seen as advocates for change and evangelists for the benefits technology can deliver, which would undoubtedly create an environment for change.

No other major business issue upon which the success of the UK realistically hinges receives as little government attention as IT.

And when those in power show such scant regard for the benefits it can deliver, even on an individual professional level, the prospects for improvement look bleak at present.

Of course MPs don't have a divine right to such things because they have letters after their name, or because they're less than a mile from the very centre of one of the world's most important cities. Rather, because it is the seat of our government and because we as voters have a right to contact our MPs, it is vital that such issues are addressed.

Individuals who do not conceive of technology delivering benefits are unfit to govern and legislate for the development of the UK and its people as a pioneering and progressive nation.

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