Conservative Party delete record of past speeches from internet

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It is the sort of thing all political parties and political leaders must dream of doing, but none ever had the brazen cheek to attempt before David Cameron’s Conservatives. With backtracking, U turns, broken promises, and outright breaches of trust in their wake, what politician wouldn’t want the entire record of anything they’d said erased from the annals of history.

Computer Weekly has reported that the Conservative Party have attempted to do exactly that. Not only have they taken the step of removing the ‘archive’ section of their website, but they have gone further, posting a robot blocker on their website, which disallowed search engines and the Internet Archive from keeping a record of the Conservative Party web archive. This is the sort of behaviour one expects from secret services and criminals, not political parties engaged in the democratic process.

They appear to be trying to erase any record of the ‘modernising years’ where contradiction was even more of a stock in trade than usual, although the British Library has pointed out that it already has archived copies of the years in question.

In a quite dazzling irony, many of the deleted speeches included promises to enhance freedom of information. "You have begun the process of democratising the world's information," Cameron told the Google Zeitgeist Europe conference in 2006. "By making more information available to more people, you are giving them more power."

"It's clear to me that political leaders will have to learn to let go," Cameron told Google a year later, in another removed speech. "Let go of the information that we have guarded so jealously."

"We need to harness the internet to help us become more accountable, more transparent and more accessible – and so bridge the gap between government and governed," said George Osborne in 2007.

A Conservative spokesman instantly resorted to doublespeak, drivelling that "We're making sure our website keeps the Conservative party at the forefront of political campaigning.These changes allow people to quickly and easily access the most important information we provide – how we are clearing up Labour's economic mess, taking the difficult decisions and standing up for hardworking people."

Course guv. And of course the underlying irony is that if they hadn’t bothered removing them, this extremely damaging story wouldn’t be doing the rounds. People expect politicians to break promises, but this is a whole new level of sinister.

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