Despite the obvious success of the Freedom of Information Act, certain elements of society have from day one attempted to avoid the consequences of the legislation. The main protagonists have been those who govern us – notably MP’s within the secure confines of the House of Commons.
However, this week the Information Commissioner and an Information Tribunal all delivered respective blows which may see the end of our representative’s sustained policy of not letting us to know what they get up to. Richard Thomas, the Information Commissioner, ordered the release of government documents which were compiled on the run up to the Iran War. In a separate case, MP’s have been forced to be more open about all elements of their expenses claims. These new rules would have meant that cases such as Michael Martins open cheque book system would have been public knowledge far quicker.
Slowly but surely the doors to open government are being opened. This week’s news is not the final step, but we are getting close to the point when MP’s etc, will no longer be able to hide behind their self perceived ideas of privilege. I think that the case of Mr Martin will prove very soon to be one of many.
What then for Gordon Browns self styled prudence with our money?