The devil inside

Derek Wyatt, a Labour MP and founder of the All-Party Internet Committee, has some controversial views on how the government should be tackling the internet. Wyatt is advocating a complete government revamp: "A brand new government needs to be created called i.government and Alex Allan needs to be the equivalent of the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Richard Wilson, in a new virtual i.cabinet. The role of i.government is to define government in the 21st century and, in doing so, it would ask every department to cannibalise itself. If we don't embark on this painful journey, politicians will become more and more irrelevant, and fewer and fewer people will bother to vote."

We asked Wyatt how he would tackle two of the key issues facing the Labour government.

How do you make sure that everybody is connected to the internet?

"The Post Office should be at the hub of the new Every post office in every rural area should be the local loop to the internet. Or instead of spending money on the Dome, we should have given every home a free internet machine with 20 hours of free internet access every week for five years."

How do you handle a global phenomenon such as the internet?

"I sense we need a World Internet Forum secretariat to act as a centre for the public services and, indeed, the public. We may even need an Institute for the Internet connected to five or six world-class universities."

It'll come as no surprise to hear that Wyatt is head of the World Internet Forum (

This article first appeared in the 10 July 2000 issue of the New Statesman, Education, education, profit