The Register has followed up Guido’s story yesterday about the government’s less than transparent new transparency website. They have delved a little deeper and found that when they downloaded the raw data of a department selected at random , this is what appeared in Excel:
Useful. Invariably, downloading the data merely gives you the limited information in the colourful boxes above in table form. But only for each sub-category of each department at any one time. So if you wanted a comprehensive spreadsheet of all the data across the whole government, across one department even, you would have to spend hours doing it yourself. In fairness to the Cabinet Office this is a beta version so they do the opportunity to iron out these faults. If they do GIST does have the potential to be a useful tool. And after all, all the best people in tech do go and work for the government…
UPDATE: A co-conspirator points out the maths is dodgy too:
GIST is the government’s new spending website, the beta version of which is up today. On the surface it all looks very sharp and transparent, showing you how much each government department has spent in each quarter and allowing you to click through to more detailed information. There is one thing they clearly don’t want taxpayers to find out about however.
For some reason there is no big, colourful box for the government’s debt interest payments. This year’s debt interest payment is £47.1 billion. Per quarter, that would be the fifth largest square on the table above. All we get are vague non-explanations such as “reducing the structural deficit in a fair and responsible way: £26 million”. Which means absolutely nothing. Hashtag transparency…
Nottingham Uni student James Donald has crunched the numbers and found that the younger an MP and the smaller their majority, the more likely they are to use Twitter. Unsurprisingly, younger MPs tend to tweet the most. Micky Fabricant being the exception that proves the rule…
MPs with majorities under 10% are relatively prolific users, with those in safe seats much less likely to bother:
Makes you wonder whether they are doing themselves more harm than good…
Labour have taken their quest to get an answer from Cameron on Lynton Crosby to social media, getting hundreds of tweeters to ask the PM the same question again and again. Where might they have learned that little trick? Back in 2011 Guido used exactly the same technique to hijack an #AskEd twitter Q & A session, bombarding Miliband with enquiries about his dinner with lobbyist Roland Rudd. Then there was the #HodgeTheDodge hashtag, which hundreds of co-conspirators used to tell Margaret Hodge to answer Guido’s questions about her tax hypocrisy last year.
Guido has plenty more ideas to help Ed win, just get in touch…
The Tories will go away from the last PMQs of term happier than the reds. The Labour frontbench looked like they had all shared a delicious cup-a-sick for elevenses by the end of the bout. For good measure the Tories have launched an American style attack on Ed over the job figures. Loving the bold, impact “Wrong, Ed” headlines…
UPDATE: Labour hit back with… a giant piece of cardboard.
Pic via ITV.
The CPS have released their guidelines on what you can and cannot say on Twitter before getting a knock on the door from the cops. On the banned list are:
- Communications which may constitute credible threats of violence to the person or damage to property.
- Communications which specifically target an individual or individuals and which may constitute harassment or stalking within the meaning of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.
- Communications which may amount to a breach of a court order. This can include offences under the Contempt of Court Act 1981, section 5 of the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 1992, breaches of a restraining order or breaches of bail. Cases where there has been an offence alleged to have been committed under the Contempt of Court Act 1981 or section 5 of the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 1992 should be referred to the Attorney General and via the Principal Legal Advisor’s team where necessary.
- Communications which do not fall into any of the categories above and fall to be considered separately (see below): i.e. those which may be considered grossly offensive, indecent, obscene or false.
Against that background, prosecutors should only proceed with cases under section 1 of the Malicious Communications Act 1988 and section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 where they are satisfied there is sufficient evidence that the communication in question is more than:
Offensive, shocking or disturbing; or
Satirical, iconoclastic or rude comment; or
The expression of unpopular or unfashionable opinion about serious or trivial matters, or banter or humour, even if distasteful to some or painful to those subjected to it.
See the guidelines in full here. Prosecution face…