Corbyn’s Digital Manifesto Critics Don’t Know Enough Tech to Pull It Apart

There seems not a day goes by where Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t fuck something up, according to the mainstream media anyway. If you lived without outside influence of the internet or alternative media, you’d think this man was a real-life incarnation of Frank Spencer; constantly fumbling and blundering his way around London, desperately trying to stop the cat doing a ‘whoopsie’ on the carpet.

But since his launch of Digital Manifesto the criticism seems to be so un-educated and unprecedented that whatever Corbyn has his name attached to, automatically becomes the ramblings of a madman. As a professional web developer and engineer, I’ve been working with digital products for over 10 years; and the criticism of Corbyn’s Digital Manifesto by ‘culture’ and ‘political’ journalists has been hilarious, frankly. The utter misunderstanding and incorrect assumptions, this must be what it’s like to be Bill Nye and have some evangelic Christian tell you ‘climate change’ isn’t real.

His critics don’t know enough tech to pull him apart. Not that you have to be an industry professional to have an opinion but with so many people born in the post-internet generation, the automatic assumption they know everything there is to know about it shines through in these ignorant comments. The range is vast (I could rant for hours how ridiculous they are) reaching from calling Open Source licensing ‘a security concern’ to to, believe it or not, insulting him for writing ‘on-line’ rather than online’. These semantic mishaps can only further his mad communist plan it seems.

Where in truth, the whole thing is quite a innovative approach to an ever changing digital landscape. Open Source technologies are worked on every single day. If you’ve used Facebook, Google or Twitter products; you’ve used open source. Linux, an open source operating system, powers your Android phone, most internet routers, pretty much every web server going (shout out to Linus as it’s 25 years since the guy wrote the kernel!). Millions of people work on these products, entirely voluntary, to make better things for everyone. That’s what Open Source is. It allows anyone to pitch in their ideas to improve a product. It’s a pretty standard in tech companies, large and small; and Corbyns idea to make all public software open is a brilliant idea and one that will be welcomed by everyone in the tech industry. Futhermore increasing our network capacity is paramount, for instance, a Finnish company today broke the 4G record clocking an astounding 1.9GB/sec. We pay almost 50% more for broadband than EU countries and often get a much, much slower connection. We’re being left behind at an alarming rate when it comes to universal broadband speeds. Along with the clamp down on the abuse of civil rights across the internet as well as introducing a digital democratic process, which will no doubt allowing disenfranchised people to enter the political arena; it all makes pretty good reading to a techy like me. It’s what we in the industry have talked about for ages. For too long, we’ve been so far ahead of the government. Fighting Tory plans to ban WhatsApp, increase GCHQ breaches of privacy and control what we can and can’t watch online. But Corbyn seems to offer a truly educated approach to our digital lives.

I don’t expect for the tech industry to suddenly come out and get behind Corbyn, he’s got too much bad publicity. But you’d be hard pressed to find any techy worth their salt disagreeing with this. Although what is the most irritating part of this release is that; we have a culture now that takes the web for granted. When Tim Berners Lee created the WWW all those years ago, he envisioned a free, open-sourced place where communication and innovation is fast and creative. Corbyn is helping government guide us to that dream. Yet, the biggest consumers of the benefits of the web will mock him for semantic mishaps and techniques they don’t even know exist, yet they contribute absolute 0 to the world they sponge from so much. Maybe it’s time to look at what we have with the web and take it seriously; and Corbyn is far ahead of most of us in that respect.