I happened across the New Zealand government’s website the other day, and a fine piece of HTML it is too. Elegant, clean, and accessible.

I wondered how the UK equivalent matched up. Via a bit of searching, I found it: Directgov. It’s not that bad. I mean, it lacks the understated style of its Kiwi counterpart, but it’s not too bad. It even validates.

But then I found the link policy. Bang! [Head hits table.] Even in 2005, people still don’t get the internet.

Under the disingenuous heading of “Help with linking to Directgov”, our dear misguided civil servants tell us how we can, should, and mustn’t link to their precious site:

If you wish to use text to link to Directgov, you should describe Directgov in this way:

Directgov – widest range of government information and services online

This is all backed up by the implicit threat:

If we contact you to remove your links to Directgov, you must do so immediately

Best of all, though, is their stricture on who may link to the site:

We do not permit a website to link to Directgov if it contains material which is libellous, defamatory, pornographic, obscene, or is in any way a breach of the laws of England and Wales or infringes any third party intellectual property rights.

Well, I don’t think there’s too much that’s obscene on here. I have badmouthed Bush and Blair on several occasions, though; does that count as defamatory? This must do: Directgov: idiots write our link policy.

I can’t wait for them to demand the removal of that!