Sunday, April 13, 2008

Balls says he cannot guarantee accuracy of his own words?

Should anyone like a good chuckle and laugh I strongly advise taking a look at the "Terms and Conditions" section of Ed 'Blinky' Balls' website. Oh, but before you click the link you should be aware that Ed considers you to be bound by his T&Cs just for looking at the site, seriously, it says.
By accessing and using this Web Site you agree to be bound by the Terms and Conditions set out below. If you do not wish to be bound by these Terms and Conditions you should not access or use the Web Site.
Got that? If you want to look at the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families party political website, but you don't agree to being bound by his terms you can sod off now. Handy that the T&Cs are not the automatic first page you hit and are buried in a link at the bottom of the page isn't it? According to Ed's warranties, you, I, us, the "User" agree
(a) that they will only view the Information for their own private purpose and it will not publish, reproduce, store or retransmit any of the Information contained in the Web Site
Oops, did I just reproduce, store, and retransmit the information contained within in the T&Cs on the website? Naughty me! Apparently I've also agreed
(c) not to use the Information or the Disclosed Information for any unlawful or unauthorised purpose;
Oh damn, I didn't get authorisation to cut and paste that text. Better prepare for the letter from a lawyer I think. Ack! I think I may even be breaching the terms just by linking to him and giving the site a bit of publicity if you rather loosely interpret Clause 3(f)
(f) that it shall not use the Web Site to transmit any material for the purposes of publicity, promotion and/or advertising without the prior written consent of Ed Balls;
Maybe I should email him and ask him if he minds after the fact? He surely won't will he? Mind you, he probably wouldn't reply if this clause is anything to go by.
(i) and acknowledges that Ed Balls has no obligation to provide the Web Site or any Information
You have to love his exclusion of liability clauses though, it seems he has, in effect, covered his backside should he be caught out fibbing on the site. Many will know about his "Brownies" already, but it's quite a feat to give yourself a "get out of jail" card like this when you're an MP and Secretary of State isn't it?
4.1 Ed Balls provides the Web Site and the Information on an "as is" basis and makes no warranty or representation about the availability, completeness, accuracy, satisfactory quality, merchantability and/or fitness of the same for a particular purpose.
Actually, thinking about it, is he actually saying here that the T&Cs themselves are covered by this clause? They do constitute "Information" under the definitions, which means he's saying he wants you to be bound by them but he makes no warranty that they actually mean anything. Now I'm a bit confused!

Don't worry though, because even if Ed Balls, by some great electoral miracle, loses his seat (and no longer needs the website), just by simply looking at it once you are bound for the rest of your life by the T&Cs, even if the website is dead and gone. Honestly, it says so in Clause 5.
Ed Balls shall have the right to terminate this Agreement and/or suspend or terminate the Information, the Disclosed Information and the Web Site immediately and without notice to the User. In the event of termination or suspension the warranties and obligations of the User shall continue to apply beyond the lifetime of this Agreement.
Ed is not a control freak though, he's just trying to protect himself. OK, OK, he probably is a control freak but I'm just trying to be charitable. It is Sunday after all! Now... I wonder if posting a screenshot breaches the T&Cs?

Joking aside though, what we seem to have here is a Secretary of State who likes to bang on about how he is a man of the people, wants to engage, and, as his website shows in the side panel has a "Listening Panel Survey" (whatever that is). And yet, at the same time, he wants to enforce anyone who reads his website to be bound by the most absurd, and I imagine mostly unenforceable, self-contradictory gibberish.

In fact, under the T&Cs, I think that simply by me describing the T&Cs as "self-contradictory gibberish" I am in breach of them as I have both reproduced "Information" from the site, and "impaired" it too by representing it in a different way. Oh yes, and apparently I've agreed to pay his legal fees when he sues me for breach according to Clause 3(j). I'm skint Ed, sorry.

Of course, if he happened to publish something on the website that was embarrassing (the T&Cs excluded from that), and a newspaper picked up on it and reproduced it, is he seriously saying that he will fall back on the T&Cs saying he makes no guarantees about accuracy and then sue the newspaper for breach?

I can understand why you might have T&Cs if you were a business, but if you're a politician and supposedly a representative of the people, what does it say about you if you attempt to bind your electorate from calling you on bullshit when it inevitably comes out of your mouth?

I've just had a quick look at some other Ministers websites, and none of them have such huge legal disclaimers about what you can or cannot do with the information you find on their website. They certainly don't have a clause that restricts someone from even quoting what they've written. Interestingly, even Mrs Ed Balls, Yvette Cooper, doesn't have the control freakery going on.


mitch said...

Ahh ed balls a face I would never get tired of punching.He epitomizes everything that is wrong with MPs and labour ones in particular.He spends his education in private schools moves on to taxpayer funded pointless employment(I wont call it work) and tries to tell the rest of us how to live our lives.

Tony Sharp said...

Like the man himself that website really is a load of old balls. After Gordon Brown, Balls is the best asset the Conservatives have.

Anonymous said...

What a complete w*****r this man is.

Anonymous said...

There is a very odd photograph on his site. What's he up to?

Semaj Mahgih said...

Dizzy, I realize it's not the most profound statement but having waded through all this - Balls is a total prick.

Fred said...

Given the prohibitions on others storing the contents of his website, I would have expected him to be paranoid about search engines, and other automated web crawlers and archivers. But a quick try to view produces this response from eleventeenth Ltd: (deliberate lower case "e"!)

" could not be found.

"We could not find the URI requested - please check the spelling and capitalisation and try again. "

So it just goes to show that even in this, he is completely out of his depth, let alone the affairs of state!

dreamingspire said...

Anonymous asks "What's he up to?". I just hope that they don't let him out (places where people are asked to do that sort of thing are often locked to prevent the "residents" getting out).

Anonymous said...

I have posted the following comment to Ed


I have seen some pomposity in my time, but never anything quite so toe curling as your website "Terms and Conditions". You really know how to make a buffoon of yourself. I will make it a daily task to breach your diktats in one way or another.

Alex said...

That sort of disclaimer makes sense for a comeercial company with deep pockets that doesn't want to get sued ("... but it said X on your website"), but for a politician, that is just plain dotty. Does he really think he can disclaim any statements on his website by saying "I can't be held accountable for that, it says so in the terms and conditions"?

Nuttier than a fruitcake full of nuts.

stuart said...

Weird. Deeply weird.

machiavelli said...

"publish, reproduce, store or retransmit"
Doesn't all that have to happen a number of times before it winds up on our screens?
The man's a twat.

Alan Douglas said...

Give the man a break, he can't help talking um, rubbish.

Alan Douglas

Richard said...

To coin a phrase - "So what"

Sorry, I only say that because I believe it should be repeated at every possible opportunity in connection with Balls.

the site gets better. If you select the link to "Labour's Record" in the "Local Issues" tab you get the following:

"Not Found

The requested URL /maps/october_2004.php was not found on this server."

So even Balls cannot find Labour's record.

Damn. I broke the conditions. That's a real shame.

dominicall said...

Richard - 23:16

Just checked out the Labour's Record link. Great spot and the irony is almost so perfect that I'm beginning to suspect that someone has 0wned the site.

But as Ed himseld might say: "So What!".


yarnesfromhorsham said...

This is the "Not me Guv" concept.
Whenever a Minister expresses a view/action or intended action it is prefixed with the " we/I was/were advised" Essentailly,this is Government speak for, I was advised and if the outcome was not as I would have wished then its not my fault. Sorry I draw my £134k but dont expect me to shoulder the blame.

Anonymous said...

Talking of Balls and websites, sadly someone's removed the joke from Yvette Cooper's Wikipedia page.

Under "Personal Life", the link to husband Ed Balls used to take you here: