UK broadband ISP Entanet has published an open letter to newly-appointed Prime Minister Theresa May urging her to replace current Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy, Ed Vaizey MP, with someone who has the ability to understand the communications industry from a technical perspective. May is currently in the process of allocating ministerial briefs following her Cabinet reshuffle.
In the letter, attributed to Entanet’s Head of Service, Neil Watson, the company states that, in its view, Vaizey has not been effective resulting from a lack of experience, and notes that even his own website describes him as being more oriented towards the arts than technology.
It goes on to suggest that Baroness Joanna Shields might be a suitable choice for the post. “Her experience of technology – which includes everything from streaming video and audio, network storage, online marketing, social media and latterly championing the social responsibilities of the Internet as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Internet Safety and Security – suggests to us that she has the abilities necessary to continue to pioneer digital technology within the United Kingdom,” writes Watson.
According to Watson, it is important to have a Minister in place who has the ability to understand the communications industry from a technical perspective – including its benefits, boundaries, limitations and how communications technologies can be applied singularly or in consort to give the United Kingdom the best opportunity to create a digital landscape and supporting economy of international renown.
Vaizey may have been disappointed not to be promoted to the Secretary of State role in the Department of Culture, Media and Sport following the sacking of John Whittingdale, the portfolio going instead to Home Office Minister Karen Bradley. Vaizey has served under four Secretaries of State at the DCMS in addition to Whittingdale: Jeremy Hunt, Maria Miller, and Sajid Javid, as well as Vince Cable and Javid at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
Vaizey was appointed Minister of State at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, with responsibility for digital industries on 15 July 2014.
He was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries in May 2010. He was Shadow Minister for the Arts from 2006 to 2010.
Bradley has no previous involvement in the sector.