Well, that didn't take long.

No sooner did I suggest that the political parties should come clean about their plans for IT than the Conservatives do exactly that with their Technology Manifesto. And it's a pretty impressive document too.

It's a bit of a mixed-up beast with lots of references to more transparent government and details about council officials' salaries, stuff that has no real relevance to IT but the parts that actually relate to IT are very good indeed.

The highly-trailed "level-playing field" for open source software is to be welcomed - although it shouldn't be forgotten that the Labour government has also made this pledge - to damn-all effect.

I do wonder how the Conservatives are going to react when the Sir Humphreys (who have been assiduously courted by the large proprietary software companies) try to block any such moves in this area. But for the moment, let's give them the benefit of the doubt, something we certainly can't give the Labour party who have pretty much made clear made clear where their sympathies lie. The manifesto points out that just nine companies have received 60 percent of government IT spend - a shocking indictment of the government's attempts to get value for money.

The proposed boost for R&D is to be welcomed and the commitment to expand student recruitment in science and technology. The manifesto fudges the issue on intellectual property, saying "We recognise the need to tackle digital piracy and make it possible for people to buy and sell digital intellectual property online. However it is vital that any anti-piracy measures promote new business models rather than holding innovation back." Well, yes, I don't think anyone would disagree with that but how to achieve it is the real question.

The party seems to have finally admitted that private investors can't be relied upon to build a broadband infrastructure and says that the BBC licence fee will be used to fund broadband build - understandable given the anti-BBC sentiment amongst the Tory party bigwigs - yet strangely at odds with their desire to create strong British companies, something that the BBC clearly is.

The manifesto says that it hopes that the next Google or Facebook could be British, yet I do fear that as promising as this document is, there's a long way to go before that could happen. There needs to be a sea-change in the City as well and the manifesto doesn't seem to touch that. A lot of British businesses people still cross the Atlantic to get funded as our investment culture is more risk averse than the US's. Banks need to be more willing to invest and people should be allowed to fail without being branded failures.

And the the talk about the importance of research sits rather at odds with universities facing cuts - and the sort of blue-sky research that is going to drive innovation is precisely the sort that is expensive.

But,.all things considered, this is an impressive document. I'm not sure it goes far enough in embracing a technological future but it's a step in the right direction.



Follow Maxwell on Twitter @maxcooter