Backwards in coming forwards

New Blogger Lucy Jordan writes…

Interesting that the least transparent government office is the most central one. Private Eye reports this week that the Information Commissioner has served the Cabinet Office with a formal notice after refusing to supply him with information to resolve a FOI request from Private Eye for eight months. That’s eight times the legal time allowed.

Despite the reprehensible reticence of the cabinet, we should be thankful that the Information Commissioner at least has the power to issue this notice, even if his requests have had little effect thus far. As Heather’s previous post stated, this Thursday (January 22nd) will see MPs and peers exempt themselves from having to publish details of their expenses. Can it be a coincidence that the move comes only weeks before MPs were due to be forced to disclose more than 1.2 million receipts covering claims for the last three years?

Apart from anything else, it’s a proposal which only serves to reiterate that the majority of MPs are deeply out of touch with their public. The move would, after all, see MPs and peers as the only paid public officials who will not have to disclose the full details of their expenses and allowances.

One MP told the Guardian last night: “MPs’ expenses should not be an entertainment show for the public.” But that’s just the point. We don’t feel ‘entertained’ by the revelation that £1,920 of our public money went on plants and a pergola for Margaret Beckett’s Derbyshire constituency home. Nor are we particularly tickled by Barbara Follett claiming £1,600 for cleaning the windows of her London home. We are simply dumbstruck and appalled at the cavalier and almost arbitrary (£1920 for potted plants? Why the devil not!) way in which those who run the country choose to waste money.

One Response to “Backwards in coming forwards”

  1. George G says:

    Hear hear

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