What the 2015 party manifestos have to say about technology

If you haven't voted yet there's still plenty of time! Here's what the seven main parties have to say about technology...


Labour Party

  • All parts of the country to benefit from affordable high-speed broadband
  • Investment in mobile infrastructure to improve rural coverage
  • Drive innovation and build on strengths as a leader in digital tech.
  • Help for startups and freeze business rates for small businesses
  • Use digital technology to reform public services
  • “Strengthen the oversight” of surveillance agencies such as GCHQ and MI5
  • Require every company that works with the MoD to sign a cyber security charter.

Conservative Party

  • Free wifi on trains by 2017
  • Superfast broadband for 95% of us by 2017
  • “Ultrafast broadband’ as soon as practicable
  • Improved mobile infrastructure – 90% voice and sms coverage by 2017
  • Britain to be World leader in 5G development
  • £40m investment into ‘Internet of things’
  • £100m investment into ‘Driverless cars’
  • Creation of institutions such as; Alan Turing Institute for Big Data research; Royce institute for advanced materials;  National centre for aging science and innovation.
  • Financial support for startups and small businesses
  • Boost science and technology apprenticeships
  • “We must always ensure our outstanding intelligence and security agencies have the powers they need to keep us safe. At the same time, we continue to reject any suggestions of sweeping, authoritarian measures that would threaten our hard-won freedoms.”
  •  Equip police with new technologies, including mobile devices and body-worn cameras.
  • Invest in our cyber defence capabilities through police training and more volunteers.

Liberal Democrats

  • Superfast broadband for 99.9% of the UK
  • Build on the success of technology clusters (Tech City, Tech North) to support ‘fast growing businesses’
  • Channel more funding into innovation and technology centers in the UK
  • Boost technology talent through higher education courses and apprenticeships
  • Continue to release government datasets in accessible formats
  • Establish a Single Security Budget to include cyber defence
  • Digital Bill of Rights to protect individual’s online freedom

Plaid Cymru

  • Creation of a Welsh Migration Service to attract skilled internationals.
  • Minimum standard of 30Mbps broadband
  • Improved mobile coverage
  • Schools to teach coding and advanced computer technology development
  • No tuition fees in Wales for Science, Technology and Engineering subjects
  • Promote women’s access to STEM careers
  • Improve IT in healthcare
  • Improve cybersecurity to increase security a prevent cyber-attacks


  • Research institutions and private sector to collaborate
  • Support start-ups
  • Tax relief for video games industry
  • New Creative Content Fund
  • Increased talent pool for tech and creative industries through apprenticeships, free HE courses and post-study visas.
  • Support more rapid rollout of superheats broadband and 4G across Scotland
  • £1.5m to increase wifi provision in public buildings
  • More measures to protect against cyberterrorism but not at the expense of privacy


  • Help for start-ups and small businesses
  • Affordable high-speed broadband for all small businesses
  • Support the open and free flowing of information
  • Oppose ‘secret unaccountable mass surveillance’
  • Introduce a more ‘satisfactory law’ to combat malicious internet trolling.


  • Review the license fee.












Tackling tricky topics – Adult content

Let’s face it, no one wants to talk to their children about adult content. In fact if we were playing cringe-worthy-parent-moments top-trumps, porn beats them all. The trouble is, no matter how good our home internet parental controls are, you only need to walk around the magazine aisle of a supermarket to expose your child to an abundance of sexualized images. It’s something we need to talk about and I’d rather brave my inevitable blushes than let someone else talk to my kids about it first.

Top tips for broaching the subject;

Keep it age appropriate, if your children are very young, you can talk to them about respect for their own body and respect for other people. You can also reassure them that they can talk to you about anything.

Prepare yourself;

Think about what messages you do and don’t want to get across to your child. You certainly don’t want to inspire them to go searching for it but you do want them to know that they can talk to you if they have seen something they are worried or upset about.

Conversation starters;

The human body is amazing and beautiful and comes in lots of different shapes and sizes.

Relationships should be between adults who love and care about each other.

For more information and details of how to set up tough parental controls on computers, phones and devices go to




Preparing kids for unsupervised internet use

More of the content I produced for O2 Telefonica, you can find the published versions and more on the O2 guru bites site but I thought the Babitech and Pontydysgu audiences would appreciate their own versions…

The internet is an amazing place for learning, creating, playing and socializing for the whole family. You wouldn’t let your kids play outside unaccompanied unless you were confident they could cross the road safely and not talk to strangers and the same applies to the internet. We all want online experiences to be positive so here’s a green cross code for unsupervised internet use.

For Parents;

Turn on the parental controls by logging in to your internet provider and opting in to the safety options.

Turn safe search on for Google by going to www.google.com/preferences and clicking “filter explicit results”

Remember to do this on all computers, mobiles and tablets your child has access to.

Reassure children that they can talk to you about anything they are worried about.

Talk to your child about being a responsible digital citizen – they should take care of themselves and take care of other people.

Set a good example by being a responsible digital citizen yourself.

Check out www.cyberstreetwise.com for hints and tips about staying safe online.

For Children;

Don’t give out personal information like your name, address, phone number or email address.

Use an alias to make it harder for people you don’t know to find you.

If you set up a social network account (like facebook) make sure that all your settings are private or only shared with friends.

Use the “view as public” features to check what you are sharing with everyone.

Only post information and photographs online that you would happily share with your grandparents, neighbours and teachers.

Use a search engine to search yourself and check what information you are sharing.

Use www.safesearchkids.com to search the internet safely.

Be responsible for other people’s on-line experience – don’t post things which could upset anyone or hurt their feelings.

Remember that things you put on the internet can stay there for ever, every time you post content you create a digital footprint, other people will use this information to judge who you are.

Remember that if you share a photograph it’s hard to stop other people from re-sharing it.

Don’t give out passwords.

Make your passwords strong by using numbers and a mixture of capital and lower case characters.

Don’t use the same password for every site.

Don’t meet-up with anyone you have met online, talk to a parent or carer if anyone asks to meet you.

If you see or read anything which upsets you, close the page.

Talk to your parents or carers if you are worried about anything at all.

Do be creative, do ask questions, do explore and do have fun!

For more information about staying safe online check out www.kidsmart.org.uk/beingsmart/ and read through the great tips for parents and children on www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/be-a-good-digital-citizen-tips-for-teens-and-parents