The learned and worldy-wise readership of this blog (that’s both of you) will of course need no reminding of the old saw that some politicians make an awful lot of speeches, and others make a lot of awful speeches…
One such sorry specimen crossed my desk yesterday; not the worst offender, I’m sure (that competition is eagerly fought for amongst the caucus of Scottish cabinet ministers), but nevertheless one that concerns an area about which I have some vague knowledge and interest.
Without wishing to infringe too much the territory of the esteemed Croydonian, I do wish to pick over the some parts of the rotting carcass left by the Member for Croydon North, Malcolm Wicks.
From his website biography, he doesn’t appear such a bad fellow (and indeed a further bit of rooting around suggests that he's perhaps one of the more sensible ones), but the junior researcher (please don’t tell me it was a senior civil servant at the DTI) putting this effort together really does show signs of having worked for the party that little bit too long...
Malcolm Wicks Speech to the IP Crime Group 8 February 2007
“Good afternoon, it is a pleasure for me to be attending my first IP Crime Group meeting and speaking to you about how we can overcome intellectual property crime.”
“Overcome” intellectual property crime? Tackle it, perhaps; address the grossest abuses, I would hope, but "overcome"? How on earth does the man think that in this fallen world, the filthy lucre to be made from all manner of knock-off Hollywood DVDs, counterfeit Nikes and downloadable MP3s can ever be vanquished from the face of the Earth?
“If we are to get the full value of our ideas and creativity, the UK must have a robust and effective IP regime”
What you mean is, if Gordon Brown is going to get his hands on 40% of your personal income plus 30% corporation tax (main rate) plus 17.5% VAT then YOU need a “robust and effective IP regime”. We, on the other hand, need a robust and effective change of Government.
“I cannot emphasise strongly enough the need for intelligence to drive forward enforcement action.”
Hmmm, new Labour has a love-hate relationship with “intelligence”, doesn’t it: so seemingly devoid of it themselves so often, so eager to see it where it doesn’t exist elsewhere…
“It is vital that the regional and national structures that the Patent Office is putting in place can develop intelligence…”
Well, sounds like you’ll have ‘em licked in no time…
“Together the OFT, DTI and trading standards authorities have established 12 regional analysts, and this will create a clear structure for developing intelligence and a detailed and accurate assessment of the problems that we have with IP crime throughout the country.”
They’ll be quaking in Romford market, Minister, I can assure you.
The Patent Office have a strong role to play in continuing to facilitate this work, and they and I are committed to continuing to grow the resource at the Patent Office with the flow of intelligence.
Leaving aside the offending "grow the resource" phrase, in the early years of new Labour the good officers of the Patent Office were delighted to welcome onboard many new recruits from Labour’s much-vaunted “New Deal”. Now, whilst I can’t be absolutely certain, I think that you can be fairly sure that that move contributed significantly less to “the flow of intelligence”.
“IP Criminals should know that the UK is not a safe place”
You don’t have to be an IP Criminal to know that.
“The risk of up to 10 years imprisonment and unlimited fines is very real and from this date forward a markedly higher risk.”
Hmmm, remind me how many thousands of prison places are lying empty right at this moment ready and able to accommodate these villains, then…And it’s a good job you didn’t sell off that prison ship a while back, isn’t it..?
“The Gowers review also recommended that the penalties for online infringement should be increased in order to match those for physical piracy. As you will appreciate, this may require primary legislation but we are considering the options.”
Don’t worry, with more criminal justice bills since new Labour came to power than in the previous 50 years combined, I’m sure you’ll find room for a few more before they drag you off…
“Local authorities increasingly recognise that IP Crime damages communities.”
Aaaah!! New Labour’s “communities”. We’ve had it all, now, haven’t we? But no, there’s room for one last gem:
“The Patent Office…are also providing tools for enforcers such as training CDs and the investigators notebook, which has proved to be very popular.”
Brilliant! Sheer genius! With those “investigators notebooks”, they’ll all know the game is up…
"Once back here I got to thinking - 'how do I get out of this?' Perhaps the really haunting spectre is that I would have to turn my back on the lake, and the prospect of the sword." Alan Clark, Diaries - 19th May 1999