Meeting on the ledge

(or why I don't get out much…..)

Freedom of information

I was most amused to hear yesterday evening that the House of Commons has decided that it should be exempt from the Freedom of Information law that they voted must apply to everyone else. Inevitably the media has responded with suggestions that the MPs believe what is good for everyone else isn’t good enough for them, and that they are above normal justice. Linked to the regular above-inflation pay rises they vote themselves this doesn’t fit with the ideas of open transparent government that most Parties espouse whenever there is a general election.

I wonder however whether there’s also an element of shame here: they are aware that things are not done properly at present and that a swift adoption of the law would inevitably lead to serious issues? Certainly an exposure of transgressions of the law would bring proceedings in both Houses to a halt and probably bring down the government, so maybe that is what they are protecting themselves from? It took the rest of the country some years to adapt to FOI (indeed, it still is adapting) and the Civil Service is notorious for moving slowly, so maybe Parliament just needs a bit longer than the rest of us and if the pressure is kept up it will eventually change? Time will tell.

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May 19, 2007 - Posted by | General

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