UK tech-czar's ridiculous, fatuous podcast interview -- hilarious gag interview

Becky sez, "FishNChip blog couldn't work out if this podcast with Sir Bonar Neville-Kingdom, a top British civil servant and the Brown government's technology czar, was a joke or not. It would be funny... if it wasn't so true."
He talks about transformational government - just listen to his two examples (a 4-year old with HIV offered extra rice pudding a recently bereaved widow who is prompted to pay for her TV license - I kid you not).

When challenged about concerns amongst the public about the NIS (National ID Card Scheme), he trots out the IPS' 10 myths rather than responding to what the public actually thinks; claims that the concerns originate from a small number of troublemakers working under the guise of the LSE; claims those with nothing to hide have nothing to fear; promotes the NIS as the gold standard of identity ...

I get the distinct expression that Dave Birch from Consult Hyperion, who is very knowledgeable about identity management, is exasperated during the interview. And I am not surprised. Sir Bonar is so patronising (he talked about his "Blackberry girl" who clearly reads his email for him - you would think a tech czar could master that). I could feel his virtual hand reaching out from my MP3 player and patting me on the head.

Link to podcast, Link to FishNChip blog on the podcast (Thanks, Becky!)


  1. what an absolute f**kwit! Remove this imbecile from his post TODAY.

    Is he high on something? Is this interview a joke from Rory Bremner in which they left out the canned laughter?

    Seriously, if this government things I’m going to allow my four year old daughter to be fingerprinted in order to obtain her school lunch (7:00 into the m4a audio) so a computer system can disclose irrelevant medical her conditions to the school dinner lady??? or it’s appropriate for 74 year old people to be denied free transport if their husband died and they’re overdue on their TV license.???

    How did this guy even get this job? Did anyone elect him or was he appointed?

    The *whole point* of employing people is because that you can’t codify reasonable, appropriate behaviour succintly into a computer, whereas humans can use their judgement and their ability to extrapolate from general principles to the specific case.

    If there’s any argument against an ID card, it’s because it’ll allow brainless aparachiks like this specimen you’ve found to attempt to implement their dumb, immutable, petty systems on the rest of us.

    I’m writing to my substitute MP about this. (my real MP is on `sick leave with full pay’ after being arrested by the police for alledgedly (read: actually) beating his second wife – go, go British Politics!)

    National identity and government funded IT systems in general are vechiles for IT vendors to extract cheap public money from ill-informed cretins in order to develop systems which then can never be deployed because they’re so poorly designed and thought-out.

    [aside: I’m not surprised that the government employs “blackberry girls” to work them so the top civil servants don’t have to… The blackberry is impossibly bad, it’s a testament to how unusable a piece of technology can be made, while still seeming like you ought to be able to get it to do something useful, if only you could figure out how to nagivate the menus.]

  2. The fact that so many people had trouble identifying this as satirical is a damning indictment of how far our current government has dragged us down.

    Since Tony Blair was appointed Peace Envoy to the middle east, we’ll believe anything!

  3. @3 (Danegeld): whether he’s real or fictional, civil servants are of course appointed not elected.

  4. Peter @9, thanks for the link. I’m hoping that someone will start a similar interweb “blog” for US Senator Ted Stevens.

  5. R1CH@#6 – clearly a satire, but just reading the intro above nearly made me cry.

    Maybe it was because of Thatcher’s sledgehammer approach, but it seems that we fought back with more vigour in the ’80s. These days, with New Thatcherism, the attrition is so gradual and so dispiriting, that we mostly seem to be just taking it – and grumbling.

    I wonder if this is what they call @learned helplessness@ ?

  6. “Computers, as you know, were invented by the British civil service…”


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