Gordon Brown's plan to offer free latops and broadband access to 270,000 worst-off families is a pleasing touch of Old Labour in a political world that has become obsessed with spin, soundbites and sophistry.

It will undoubtedly be viewed by some as an expensive giveaway scheme but IT is a field that is perfectly suited to serving meritocratic aims. Blind to colour, impervious to gender, unpersuaded by age, heedless of social skills, class-less and often populated by experts deemed to have failed in other areas of education, technology is the get-out card for many who would struggle to build a decent life in other sectors.

Cynics may foresee a glut of new kit on eBay but I can imagine a generation of kids that will grow up with a PC and connectivity that give them an exit from their current difficulties and, in that sense, Brown's plan is a good, old-fashioned gesture to those least able to help themselves.