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The British Government's decision to throw £30 million on getting everybody online is of course laudable in its way. The idea is to save a lot of money - and as the last European country still in recession goodness knows we could do with it - by taking Government services online, and to do that you need to make sure everyone is pretty much digitally enfranchised.

So far, so good. Except that when I go to a public library anywhere in the UK - and every town and most villages have one - you know what I see? Computers. Rows of them. With free public access to the Internet.

In other words, technically everybody is already digitally enfranchised. The difficulty is in getting them to acknowledge that, and indeed get them behaving as if a computer is natural to them. And this is where the fun really starts because the people who are really cut off aren't just cut off from computing, they're often distanced from ordinary education, reading, any background that's going to tell them there's a computer for their use in the library in the first place.

It's ferociously difficult and a much bigger question than throwing some money at computing centres which, to many intents and purposes, are already there. But it's the one that needs addressing.

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Last Post by MktgRob
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It may go deeper than just literacy. How many people won't walk two meters to cross the road safely at a crossing? Or go round the corner to park their car when they can park on the lines outside the school?

But very good pointer to part of the equation, none the less

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The universal malfunction of politicians. Throw money at a perceived problem to look like you care but don't invest the time to perform due diligence to ensure that the money is directed the right way. Where I live on Long Island, NY, our town government has spent an inordinate amount of money to provide free wireless access in public parks. Of course, without free electrical outlets to plug in the laptops that have crappy battery life and without considering that the people who need free access probably do not have the money for portable devices to take to the park, I do not see the point. Good taxpayer money spent with good intentions but no intelligence!

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