The official internet site of the Conservative party has had 10 years of speeches removed at the command of party leaders, including Cameron’s pre-election speech about making politicians more accountable and more information available to the public via the internet.
In what could be perceived as an attempt to help people forget the broken promises of the party, speeches from 2000 to May 2010 have been removed.
Contradicting Cameron’s and Osborne’s speeches of 2006 and 2007 in which they spouted ‘visions’ of “open source politics”, the Conservative party has blocked archiving of the site’s content by sites such as the Internet Archive’s ‘Wayback Machine’ – a service which makes copies of websites from all over the internet – by using a software robot which tells search engines not to index or access pages.
However, the British Library has been archiving the Conservative party’s website since 2004 in-line with its duty to archive all UK based internet content, although access to the archived site will only be available through the British Library’s internal terminals.
Labour MP Sheila Gilmore accused the party of a cynical stunt, and told the Guardian “It will take more than David Cameron pressing delete to make people forget about his broken promises and failure to stand up for anyone beyond a privileged few.”
The Wayback Archive was used by the Guardian last year when it began to investigate the software company set up by the Tory party chair Grant Shapps, who used the name Michael Green in the business. Traces of his family firm, which marketed software that the police said if sold could constitute the offence of fraud, disappeared from the archive a few weeks after the newspaper printed stories about Shapps. A slew of websites disappeared, leaving no trace of Michael Green’s offer to make $20,000 (£12,500) in 20 days “or your money back” or details of phone lines offering expert internet marketing advice for $297 an hour.
As Cameron and his cronies attempt to revitalise their public image in preparation for the general election in 2015 we can only expect more of the same from their deluded minds. Deleting a few pages of speeches will do little to help their cause and will only serve to reinforce what a deceitful and self-serving lot they are.