Thursday, June 18, 2009

Martha Lane-Fox - digital exclusion tzar!

Where did this one come from? She’s the new “champion for Digital Inclusion”

Now just look at this picture for a few seconds. Does this look like someone who is familiar with exclusion? I can just hear those civil servants, ponder, “We need someone who understands the problems of the underclass, poverty and exclusion. Someone who gets the whole sink-estate, drugs, wrecked lives thing. Barrow Boy Sugar’s been snapped up by Mandelson. How about that well-heeled, posh bird who built a website a few years ago? Yeah, her, the private school, Oxford educated one with the double-barrelled name". Absolutely perfect.

To be fair she has kept in touch with the inclusion agenda, and poor people, as she’s set up an ‘interior design’ company ‘mydeco’ and is on the board of Marks & Sparks.


Andy Tedd said...

She can't be blamed for her parents or where they sent her to school Donald, but otherwise fair comment.

Rina Tripathi said...

Brilliant! If not for her experience, pondered the wise civil servants, for her hotness quotient the poor and the excluded shall flock like bees to honey. Well specially when they are drugged. Sound logic and an excellent choice, we must learn to think like these esteemed wise people.

helenmilner said...

Having met Martha Lane Fox and talked to her about her new role as digital inclusion champion, I think she's going to do a really good job. She has set up her own foundation ( where she gives out small grants of her own money charities supporting people working on the front line in healthcare, education and prison.

I spent a couple of hours with Martha in a UK online centre in London, and she was much more interested in the people using the centre and their motivations rather than the VIPs who had gathered.

She might be a posh bird with a good education, but let's see what she can achieve. I think she'll open lots of doors and focus our attention on doing a few significant things. Let's see.

Seb Schmoller said...

The proof of Lane-Fox's involvement as Champion for the Digital Inclusion Task Force will be "in the eating". But I think her supporting Clive Stafford Smith to defend Guantanamo inmates and those on death row is admirable, and that using the proceeds of selling a stake in LastMinute.Com (?) and/or inherited wealth in these kinds of ways is for the general good. Lane-Fox has at least been putting her money and her time where her mouth is.

Donald Clark said...

Come on guys. Let's not fall into assessments based on the facts that rich person throw charitable crumbs around or showing interest on an organised 'tour'.

What recruitment process went on here? None - it's a coterie of people self-selecting their friends.

What does she actually know about poverty and exclusion? Well, as an aristocratic, filthy rich, privately educated person, my guess is, not much.

The educational establishment is full of people who send their kids to private school and look down upon poor people. I've met dozens of pontificating officials who clearly have no experience (or insights) into the people they're supposed to be helping/serving.

These D-list 'celebrity' appointments are just window dressing, they're not helping. What ever happened to the idea of a meritocracy?

Seb Schmoller said...

I'm no fan of the "tzar" approach (except perhaps in the NHS, where generally the tzars appointed are seen by their peers as knowing what they are talking about); and I agree with you on your selection process point. For me a key question is "does MLF understand the Internet?", and I'm going to wait to see what if anything is now achieved in the wake of Digital Britain report. On that, given DB's apparent defensiveness of "old media" and telco interests, I am not holding my breath.

Rina said...

Being a woman myself, I think it was not right to comment on looks. With false promises everywhere it has become increasingly difficult to see who is genuine and who is fake. At least in UK you think about these things of procedures and selections, it is admirable that some checks exist. In India a lot of public money exchanges hands on very flimsy causes where the people who promote these causes are not at all qualified to do so. There is a certain politician who is busy building tasteless statues and parks in the name of creating awareness about the 'dalits' that will translate as the downtrodden or the former untouchables in the Indian caste system. Cr ores of rupees are going down the drain just as the poor are more and more marginalized. It is not an absolute fact that the rich would always be self-seeking and self-promoting people, but times are such that a lot of honesty and openness is needed now to bring some semblance of sanity in the whole system.She is beautiful and and beautiful people are not fake.