Expenses Freedom of Information : Villains and Heroes

We know who the villains of this charade have been; the Speaker, the backbenchers of the parliamentary Labour and Conservative Parties.  Gordon Brown has nothing to be proud of, he constantly failed to push reform forward because he could not carry his backbenchers.  The YouTube debacle was his last minute desperate attempt to be seen as a reformer.  Disastrous.

Stuart BellThe shameful Members Estimate Committee, particularly Sir Stuart Bell, has done everything in its power to frustrate meaningful reform.  Clegg’s LibDems have been better, though they have their embarrassments too (yes, Guido means you Lord Rennard).  Cameron too has bitten the bullet even though he must know there are going to be a heck of a lot of revelations about his party.  The Conservative Chief Whip Patrick McLoughlin’s role has been very suspect and it is fair to say that Cameron’s stated position and the behaviour of his Chief Whip have often appeared incompatible.

Heather BrookeSo much for the villains, who are the heroes in this affair?  One heroine stands out.  Heather Brooke fought for years to get the details of MPs use of the public’s money into the public domain.  She fought the parliamentary authorities long and hard in the courts.  The deviousness of the parliamentary establishment can’t be overstated.  This is her victory.

She was aided and abetted by the press, particularly some of the tabloids, freedom of information campaigners, pressure groups like the Taxpayers’ Alliance and last but not least, bloggers. There is one more hero who should not be forgotten, the person who has blown a digital whistle on this whole charade.  It does not matter if the whistleblower has done it partly for money.  Mercenaries can sometimes fight heroically for freedom.



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Quote of the Day

Former Miliband guru Arnie Graf reveals Labour’s disconnect with the working class:

“On one of my trips to the U.K. in the autumn of 2013, I bumped into one of Ed’s strategists in Portcullis House. He asked me if I was assisting the staff on Ed’s trip that was to take place in a few days to one of the regions. I told him that I did not have knowledge of his planned trip.

He told me that Ed was going to give a talk at the region’s annual fund raising dinner and that prior to the dinner he had invited the media to join him at a local coffee shop to listen to a conversation he planned to have with a minimum wage worker. The point of the conversation was to show how difficult it was for a minimum wage worker to get on in life.

There was only one problem. No one had been able to locate a minimum wage worker for Ed to talk with.”

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