Domain names for UK governments and parliaments

When I was looking at their e-petitioning site, I noticed that the Welsh assembly has chosen to position itself outside the .uk hierarchy at http://www.assemblywales.org – it struck me as strange that there no suitable place in the ‘.uk’ hierarchy. So thought I’d do a check on what’s done in the other countries in the UK (accepting the fact that everyone pretends that England doesn’t exist):

Country Parliament Government ‘Office’
UK www.parliament.uk direct.gov.uk
pm.gov.uk etc
England There is no explicitly English area
Scotland scottish.parliament.uk www.scotland.gov.uk www.scotlandoffice.gov.uk
Wales assemblywales.org
www.cynulliadcymru.org
also via wales.gov.uk
wales.gov.uk/?lang=en
wales.gov.uk/?lang=cy
www.walesoffice.gov.uk
Northern
Ireland
www.niassembly.gov.uk www.northernireland.gov.uk www.nio.gov.uk

It looks an inconsistent mess: why use ‘scotland’ and ‘scottish’ in different domain names? why is the ‘www.’ prefix required for some sites, and not others?

It also has left the assemblies (in NI and Wales) with the option of including themselves in the .gov.uk hierarchy (as for NI), or excluding themselves entirely (as the Welsh Assembly has done), since they would not be able to be part of the apparently jealously guarded ‘parliament.uk’ domain.

To pick a phrase from the Ideal Government blog: wouldn’t it be better if the OGC (or whoever looks after these things) bit the bullet and created domains such as scotland.uk, wales.uk, ni.uk and (even) england.uk to hold all devolved activities – governments and parliaments/assemblies – and even councils: why not edinburgh.scotland.uk?

The nationalists in Scotland and NI have already had to get over ‘.uk’ part, so I don’t see a problem there. The problem isn’t with the centre’s unwillingness to let go, surely?

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About Peter Cruickshank

Lecturer in the School of Computing and a member of the Centre for Social Informatics at Edinburgh Napier University, Scotland. Interested in information systems, learning, politics, society, security and where they intersect. My attempts at rounding out my character include food, cinema, running, history and, together with my lovely wife, bringing up a cat and a couple of kids.
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2 Responses to Domain names for UK governments and parliaments

  1. Keith Greer says:

    I just wanted to say this is a great idea. However, thinking about Northern Ireland I thought a http://www.domain.ni.uk for English sites, http://www.domain.te.uk, for Irish (Tuaisceart Éireann) languages sites and http://www.domain.na.uk for Ulster-Scots (Norlin Airlann) language sites.

    The same would apply for Wales http://www.domain.wa.uk for English and http://www.domain.cy.uk for Welsh.

    On your point about Nationalists – recently, in Northern Ireland, the Sinn Féin Minister of Education issued a departmental memo stating that any email correspondence should be sent to her “@deni.eu” address rather than “@deni.gov.uk”!

    (PS I know this post is really, really old)

  2. Peter says:

    Hi Keith – they sound like good ideas, and any comment is appreciated… 🙂

    As an extra complication to this, I’ve heard that the Scottish Government is working towards a .sco top level domain – something like Catalonia’s already existing .cat. – another way of sidestepping the .uk domain… politics gets everywhere!

    I suppose in the end, despite all the illogic, it’s not something I’m going to let myself get worked up about.

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