I was intrigued to hear Jeremy Hunt, the rather telegenic Conservative frontbencher for Culture, Media and Sport, say in the Commons yesterday that the Conservatives would allow a poor Bill to pass, and would amend it after the next General Election.
This isn't the first time that the Conservatives have used this line, and it amazes me that they would accept the introduction of such a flawed piece of legislation. Effectively, they will try to find time to amend it after a General Election that they have won. Given the crisis that they allege this country is in, will a further Digital Economy Bill be a high priority for them? Probably not.
And yet, if they really opposed the legislation,the means to stop it in its tracks existed. Add together the forces of the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats in the Lords, and you have a guaranteed majority (the crossbenchers rarely coalesce around a position one way or the other). Clearly, the stitch-up between Labservatives means that the Conservatives believe that they have a bargaining chip, otherwise we wouldn't have seen the axing of the cider duty, the phone tax and the change in the treatment of holiday lettings.
It's an interesting set of priorities, with furnished holiday lettings more important than the rights of individuals to access the internet. But then, issues of finance are so much more important than issues of freedom...