Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Freedom of Information?

British MP's have rather connivingly excluded themselves from the Freedom of Information Act, under a very slippery piece of manourvering that demonstrates our elected representatives complete disregard for those they are paid to represnet...

Of course Britain is a far less democratic country than we imagine; the mother of democracy is well into her dotage and many of her most enshrined principles are rapidly being encroached.

This latest attempt places MP's personal finances and dealings outside of the Freedom of Information Act, thus securing privacy and freedom for their affairs. Perhaps a right for the ordinary person, but MP's have forefitted their right to be ordinary. Like celebrities they have made a pact with the public and have no right to complain or hide from our inquiries. Indeed, given their great power - and frequent misuse of it - we need more transparency, not less.

Particularly galling is this quote from David Maclean who introduced the ammendment.
""I am showing some of the younger hands how you can get a bill through parliament after long experience as a whip in both getting and blocking bills through parliament."

Alternatively, "I am showing some of the younger hands how you can subvert and ignore a centuries old legislative system through shameless tricks and weak-willed compatriots to institute an unjust and unnecessary piece of procedure that aids only us."

It strikes me that as the Labour Party have embraced private finance and outsourcing they have transformed themselves from elected representatives to an unelected board of directors. By removing themselves from the common fold politicians are transforming themselves into an oligarchy, a self-serving group who look out for each other almost irrespective of party. They are no more representing our interests than a company has to represent the needs of its consumers and so it is our responsibility to wake them up.

If there is to be any hope of safeguarding a culture of openness and transparency, the British political system needs to lift the portcullis and invite us in to see inside it the way an increasing number of brands are doing. But as long as MP's can pass self-serving hypocritical measuers like this, and not be subject the vagaries of the consumer, sorry voter, I guess that's not likely.

No comments: