Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Open Government - RIP

As Home Secretary ten years ago Jack Straw helped bring a strengthened Freedom of Information Act onto the statute books.
As Foreign Secretary five years ago Jack Straw was a key player in the Cabinet discussions that led to Britain declaring war on Iraq, with the resulting thousands of deaths and injuries, to say nothing of the impact on Britain's internal security.
As Justice Secretary today, Jack Straw has used, for the first time, a clause in the Freedom of Information Act that allows him to veto the early release of minutes which would show the nature of the Cabinet discussions that took us reluctantly, and in the face of huge public anger, to war.

But it's ok, because we have an Opposition to bring the government to account. so it was good to hear shadow Justice Secretary Dominic Grieve.........fully support Straw's decision to veto publication of the Cabinet minutes.

MPs and ministers are meant to be the servants of the people. They are not meant to be the secretive despots of old. They hold their jobs at the pleasure of the people. Problem is, the people don't care in sufficient numbers to make the MPs and ministers fully aware of this fact. No wonder a truly pathetic opposition is so willing to endorse an utterly bankrupt government. The pigs and the humans of parliamentary politics really do resemble each other - even more so as, in addition to flaunting their contempt for the electorate, they take it in turns to stand accused of fraud on the taxpayer. Last week Jacqui Smith had to face accusations of her misuse of the second home allowance. This evening, the Tories' Caroline Spelman faces the criticism of the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner for misusing parliamentary allowances to pay her nanny. It's good to see that the government can flush some £1.3tn down the banking toilet, while its minions can seize what's left in the public kitty for their own enrichment.

2 comments:

P said...

"MPs and ministers are meant to be the servants of the people. They are not meant to be the secretive despots of old. They hold their jobs at the pleasure of the people. Problem is, the people don't care in sufficient numbers to make the MPs and ministers fully aware of this fact"

Paucite paucarum diffundere crimen in omnes - Ovid

(Do not lay on the multitude the blame that is due to a few...)

GM said...

Very neat.