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Councillors fail their computer test

PUBLISHED: 08:38 18 January 2002 | UPDATED: 11:11 03 March 2010

I WOULD like to say I was surprised to see that some Ipswich councillors were still struggling to come to terms with their new computers.

But in all honesty, it's no great shock - but what is even worse than the fact that these allegedly intelligent people can't operate a computer is the fact that some of them seem to be proud of the fact!

I'm not saying that you have to be geek to have a seat on the council.

I WOULD like to say I was surprised to see that some Ipswich councillors were still struggling to come to terms with their new computers.

But in all honesty, it's no great shock – but what is even worse than the fact that these allegedly intelligent people can't operate a computer is the fact that some of them seem to be proud of the fact!

I'm not saying that you have to be geek to have a seat on the council. But here we have a local authority that is trying to portray Ipswich as a high-tech centre.

It's trying to push the IP-City message, yet some of councillors – from all sides – are totally unashamed of the fact that they know nothing about computers.

They've been looking for excuses about why they haven't used the laptops they've been issued with.

"I haven't decorated the bedroom yet," said one. Diddums!

"I was busy over Christmas," said another. As the computers were given out in the summer, the Christmas season must go on a long time in his household!

Frankly councillors who are so hostile to new technology have no business sitting on an authority so keen on pushing the IP-City message at every opportunity.

If they'd had the courage of their convictions and voted or spoken against all the high-tech business that is coming to the area they'd earn some respect.

Instead they've sat on their hands and kept their mouths shut. And yet now when they're expected to use the technology that their council has been talking about they bleat that they're "computer illiterate."

If they're too lazy to take the trouble to use the technology that's supposed to transform this town then they should do the decent thing and get off the council.

There are enough people who are interested in the 21st century to take their places!

IN the first few days of the year when there was no other national news, everyone seemed to be spending their time talking about the Euro – and when or if Britain would join.

The other day I was invited to meet members of the Britain in Europe campaign – those keen to get us to join the single currency as soon as possible.

They were convinced the tide of history was moving in their direction, that the clear opposition to the Euro that has been indicated in opinion polls for years was starting to erode.

There does seem some logic in that claim, but frankly it's a bit difficult to build a case for the Euro simply on the basis of two weeks' experience on the Continent – they've got an awful lot of work to do to convince a Euro-sceptic population to abandon the pound and switch currency.

But I can't help feeling their best weapon will be the summer holidays when people visit the continent, use Euros for the first time and find that they can use the same coins and notes in Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Holland or wherever.

And let's face it economic arguments will count for little in any referendum – it will be political and emotional factors which influence the vote.

WE may only be seven months away from the last general election, but already we're starting to hear about government plans to take us into the next poll – probably in 2005.

If that is when we vote next, we can expect to see some changed faces on the political map of Suffolk.

Will 67-year-old Sir Michael Lord want to stand again? Will 66-year-old John Gummer really want to stand again for a party led by someone for whom he has little time?

I think not. In fact I expect to hear fairly soon from some up-and-coming Tory wannabe MPs casting their eyes to the East of Westminster.

Edward Wild, who maybe gone from Ipswich but is not forgotten in Suffolk, is someone I expect to hear from again.

And I've heard that a couple of the highest-profile company directors you could find in the area are considering a political future.

It will be interesting to see if high-calibre candidates do start paying attention to two of the Tories' safest seats.

If not, then the party really does have a problem.

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