If Gordon loves Obama so much, let's see him follow his lead on FOI

I’m not into this whole cult of personality surrounding Barak Obama. While I’m pleased he got in, I wish a similar amount of energy and focus went into fixing Britain’s own failing democracy. There are plenty of ways people could get involved in this country to shake up the political system and make it more responsive to the people. Let’s not outsource all our hopes and dreams to America!

Individual effort does make a difference as evidenced by today’s Government u-turn on exempting MPs spending from public scrutiny. MPs are utterly out of touch and their failure to keep pace with the changing demands of their constituents particularly on openness and accountability will lead to their eventual demise.

On the day of the inaugeration of the American president, British politicians couldn’t say enough about how closely allied they were with Obama. Here’s one way they can tangibly show their support. Follow his lead on beefing up the Freedom of Information Act instead of constantly trying to water it down or making it apply to everyone except MPs.

Obama announced today he would make government more transparent by tightening the the disclosure laws on lobbyists (in the UK there are no disclosure laws on lobbyists) and strengthening the freedom of information act.

For a long time now, there’s been too much secrecy in this city,” Obama said.
He said the orders he was issuing Wednesday will not “make government as honest and transparent as it needs to be” nor go as far as he would like.
“But these historic measures do mark the beginning of a new era of openness in our country. I will, I hope, do something to make government trustworthy in the eyes of the American people, in the days and weeks, months and years to come.”

Who is going to make British politics trustworthy in the eyes of the British people? Is there any MP in that rats’ nest with the integrity and leadership to make this happen? Or is the entire system broken?

2 Responses to “If Gordon loves Obama so much, let's see him follow his lead on FOI”

  1. Nick says:

    I hadn’t really put two and two together until I read this post – what are the chances that Our Dear Leader, wanting to align himself with the new President, couldn’t be seen to push an unwanted FOI change through the Commons on the day that Obama announces he is making government more transparent by strengthening their FOI act?

    I’m sure its not the last we’ve seen on this matter.

  2. Ben Bamber says:

    How about we put forward a single issue candidate at the next election or by-election. A candidate standing solely on FOI, who will campaign as long and as hard and as PUBLICALLY as possible to clean up this one specific area? It’s just a question of putting the right person into the right constituency. He / she could even wear white…..

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