Friday, January 23, 2009

It's just an @ sign with two words surely?

Back in October I posted about how Gordon Brown had scrapped the use of email as a way to contact him. OK, fair enough, he probably wouldn't read it personally, but even the White House has a means of email contact, so for Brown to not bother is pretty poor show.

Strangely, whilst scrapping the email address, Downing Street has been busy working on, amongst other things, YouTube videos, and it even has time to post on Twitter and yestedray, in relation to the email address issue Downing Street said the following to tiredoflondon.

Yes, that's right, they said that the Prime Minister having an email address was "under development" and that they "want it to look good".

REALITY CHECK: It's a bloody email address! It's a word followed by an @ and then your domain. It's been around since the 70s. Blair was accessible after a campaign run by Tim Ireland, so why can't they just create a form that send to the same bloody mailbox. It's a basic web form, it what way must it "look good"?

As for being "under development", the Downing Street website is just running a Wordpress installation. It basic bloody PHP and sending mail in it is a noddy thing to do. Not to mention there are modules for Wordpress anyway! Maybe Tim ireland can set-up this address on his old domain and embarass the Downing Street web team into action? It's not like it will take long.


Paul Pinfield said...

Yes, come on Tim. There are things I would like to tell Snotty about...

Bust banks
His inability to take responsibility for anything
etc etc etc.

T England said...

Draper can't leave you alone Dizzy can he ?
Dizzy needs a rethink
I see he puts a dummies book in the post but this has books that would suit him :o)

Jonathan Cook said...


Sounds like this e-mail address could well turn into a full blown 'Labour IT project'!

A nice open tender process where 3,000 applicants are whittled down to just 50 in the first round.

The key technical challenge being to provide the PM with an e-mail address in Welsh as well.

Only a cynic would say that this Welsh variant should also be

I'll notify Computer Weekly now so that they can start writing an article about the project along the usual lines:

- Cost millions
- Still doesn't work
- May only come into use by 2015

P.S. I see there is another bit of Labour 'Beta' engineering out there:

Jonny Mac said...

Yet another neutral/positive reference to Tim 'Manic' Ireland. You're getting soft in your old age, Dizzy

dizzy said...

I know. Scary huh? However, on this actual issue he did have a point and since Brown took over it has gone back to square one.

Houdini said...

Give them a chance Dizzy, maybe it is a beta email address?

Hold on, that's it! That's the problem with the economy! Browns policies to save us are BETA, so what do we expect?

Anonymous said...

The email facility stopped when they changed the web site last summer.
I keep asking Downing Street on Twitter when it will be up and running, but always get the same answer as "tiredoflondon" did yesterday.
Don't think Gordon has time for emails.

Robert said...

Jesus Labour and computers not a good idea, £2.5 billion spent looking for an email address to Gordon Brown, Labour bring in an American company to work this out.

Anonymous said...

Dizzy, how about

Tim said...

There was a stage during the Blair campaign that really got their attention; encouraging the use of email-to-fax services

Having the Downing Street fax machine running hot for a bit should produce results, and I already have control of a series of top results relating to Gordon Brown and a wish to email him.

I tried to point this out to Derek Draper and chums, and DD saw fit to take the piss (and use moderation to gain advantage in a conversation).

So, yes, you should watch for action shortly.

Tim said...

Actually, in the spirit of showing Draper's political masters what his attitude is costing them...

(prepare yourselves)

... would you care to collaborate on the project, Phil?

You cover tech, I'll cover coverage.

It would be particularly nice if (a) it's a one-click solution I can host at the relevant post, and (b) you would work out a way to tag each user-generated fax with a suitable message about our Mr Draper, and why all these faxes are arriving all of a sudden.

dizzy said...

Will pm (excuse the pun) you

Conand said...

Want it to look good and work well?

I think the following ticks those boxes:

Let's break it down and see how the various elements make it an attractive Email address:

1: PM

This says to the user that they've reached the head honcho. It also gives the Email address a certain gravitas, but thats icing on the cake as you'll see when we anaylse 2.

2: DavidCameron

Now we're really cooking with gas! It massively helps if the name of Her Britannic Majesty's PrimeMinister is that of somebody who is actually popular with her subjects.

4: MP

The inclusion of the fact that the PrimeMinister is also a humble MP goes right to the heart of 'Real Britishness Now'. It shows a respect for our constitutional arrangements, and a humility that has been lacking in the incumbents 1997-2009.


This domain has been slightly damaged as a brand. It is regularly seen below the torso of the Chancellor of the Exchequer while he listens to the discredited PM make those deja vu inducing announcements of failed bank bail-outs.
However it should be retained as a symbol of continuity and our faith in democracy.
An elected PrimeMinister will revive this tarnished brand and the user will know that the work of rebuilding Britain will have begun.

Anonymous said...

One can only imagine the meetings these clowns have about such matters.

If I were PM I would read random emails direct from the public in my spare time, such is the size of the disconnect with the office and the public it should be an official responsibility.

We all know as it is obvious to see Gordon isn't comfortable doing meet and greet and normal, so this would be a small price to ask.
A few dozen unfiltered, raw emails picked at random.

Somehow I suspect though it would be like the Youtube fiasco, more stage managed than a state funeral in North Korea. Orchestrated by that greasy haired man.

Unsworth said...

Complete bollocks comment from 'Downing Street', of course.

There's only one way of contacting Brown these days, and that's a ouija board....

Yep, he's on an altogether different astral plane.

DiscoveredJoys said...

Strangely enough I was talking to a friend who had written to Gordon Brown about the curious way in which a potential site for gypsies had been identified.

My friend got a (piss off prole) letter saying words to the effect that Gordon Brown had so many people writing to him that he could not read and reply to every letter, and that the letter had been forwarded to the appropriate department for a reply.

I doubt whether emails would make it through the firewall or spam filters.

MrDavies said...

You are all being unfair. They've got to get the I.T. working for the ID cards first, then they can do the really important stuff.

I would recommend:

or is that too obvious?

Anonymous said...

It's not that easy. If you need to reply to people you need a web form, a filtering system, the mother of all CRM systems and a room full of people to answer the mails, on top of the letters.

Anyone can create an email address. To create a system that is meaningful, and good value for money, is far harder. And no G8 government has done it successfully yet.

dizzy said...

Hahahaha what complete bollocks. A pizza box with sendmail, pop and spamassasin on it could be set up in matter of hours to handle all the mail.

The issue of course is not "reply" the issue is the ability to send in the first place. Mother of all CRMs my arse

MrDavies said...

Labourstooge (Anon 26-Jan-09 21:49) said: "Anyone can create an email address"

Not so easy for a Labour government, it seems.

To be fair, they are probably too busy burning Sterling.

Anonymous said...

This isn't a Labour Party question, it's a civil service question. Any system will need to work for any party coming into power.

If the requirement is for a simple email address, then yes, it's easy. But corresspondance to No10 will need to be tracked, logged and acted upon where necessary.

The White House tried an email "black hole" in the 90s and it didn't work.

dizzy said...

Logged and tracked? Wow, sendmail and pop servers don;t do that! :rolleyes:

Tim said...

"Any system will need to work for any party coming into power."

And the old system was so bad that it needed to be canned, and the development process started afresh without any bridging strategy?

Wow. No wonder the only defences of Downing Street we're hearing are anonymous.