By Joe Mellor, Deputy Editor
There were three questions about broadband and mobile phone coverage in rural areas during today’s session, let that sink in for a moment (or while your connection buffers if you’re in the shires). I know it’s important that people in Long Melford can browse the internet/watch pornography at the same speed as us urban dwellers, but surely it’s not the most pressing issue at the moment.
Perhaps I’m wrong, although I’m fairly certain the three thousand migrants clinging onto the backs of lorries in Calais aren’t trying to enter the UK, because our nation is about to breach the digital divide. “Do you remember where you were when Catterick got super-fast broadband?” “Yes, I was in the back of a truck entering Folkestone, I just wanted to be part of that momentous occasion”.
So you can imagine, I was greatly relieved when the PM responded to James Cartlidge, Con, member for South Suffolk to hear that Boxford, Bildeston and Assington Green, notorious “not spots” might be getting new mobile masts. By the time Kevin Hollinrake, Con, pleaded for much-needed investment in superfast broadband for Thirsk and Malton, I could take no more. Why cruel world? Why?
But there was more, my eyes welled up when Rishi Sunak, Con, William Hague’s replacement in Richmond, mentioned their lack of access to high-quality broadband and the PM bravely told him “ his friend’s constituency is on the cutting edge of digital technology”. It was like the end of Shawshank Redemption.
To be fair, the humans who are camped out in Calais, was the first topic discussed between Harman and the PM. Cameron didn’t consider that these people, so desperate to come here, they will hang under a lorry, after spending weeks on a captain-less boat deserves his/her place on these shores. He will do all he can to stop them coming in, and agreement with him seemed fairly universal across the house.
Then once the PM had summed up the real human tragedy, of our inadequate broadband coverage, Andrew Percy, Con, asked why Scottish power has been dodging responsibilities to people across the United Kingdom, the PM couldn’t agree more, but in this instance Mr Percy was discussing the energy company not the rogue SNP.
However, when Angus Roberston, SNP, asked his two questions, in his faux statesman like style, Cameron bit back and said “is it not time that you started talking about the policies that you want to put in place, and the outcomes? The truth is that full fiscal autonomy has become FFS: full fiscal shambles”.
FFS focus on the job in hand and deliver fibre optic broadband to 95% of the UK by 2017.
Sycophantic question of the day
For the second week on the bounce, round of applause please, Richard Harrington, Con, who managed to sneak in the importance of apprenticeships, which just happen to be his brief.
Broadband. On the subject of tech, there were even more new camera angles today, featuring a new sweeping shot, which reminded me vaguely of a film, Matrix Devolutions.