The UK Conservative Party's ten-year archive of campaign and policy speeches has been erased from the Internet. Sometime since October, they posted a robots.txt file to block the Internet Archive and other sites from caching copies of the deleted archives. Ironically, Prime Minister Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne ran on a platform of "open source politics." The Internet Archive has started to restore its archive of deleted Tory speeches. Conservative Party HQ won't comment on it, because the "website guy" is out of the office.
Meantime, we've lost such speeches as Cameron's 2006 talk at Google Zeitgeist where he lauded "democratising the world's information" and said the Internet gave us "the power for anyone to hold to account those who in the past might have had a monopoly of power – whether it's government, big business, or the traditional media."
Transparency would make public officials accountable to the people, said Cameron then. He was riding at the front of the wave that would wash us into a new world, and a new age.
Likewise the chancellor, who on delivering his landmark "Open Source Politics" speech at the Royal Society of Arts on 8 March 2007, declared his ambition was "to recast the political settlement for the digital age".
"We need to harness the Internet to help us become more accountable, more transparent and more accessible – and so bridge the gap between government and governed," said Osborne.
"The democratization of access to information… is eroding traditional power and informational imbalances.
"No longer is there an asymmetry of information between the individual and the state, or between the layperson and the expert," said the Chancellor when he was campaigning for election.
Conservatives erase Internet history [Mark Ballard/Computer Weekly]