As I recall, the point of the Freedom of Information Act was to see what decisions government has taken, how they reached those decisions, and what effects those decisions have had. Which, despite my earlier misgivings about the whole thing, have turned out to be mighty useful.
In fact, it’s possible that it’s a little too successful. So much so that neutering is being considered.
Minister Alistair Darling wants tighter restrictions on the Freedom of Information Act, the BBC has learned.
The Trade Secretary is concerned that it does not sufficiently protect advice from officials to ministers.
Er, is the whole point of the thing to ensure that such advice isn’t just hidden behind closed doors for ever? So that people can see what’s happening? So that we have a tiny amount of hope that “Yes, Minister” was a comedy, not a documentary?
Clearly this is not in the best interests of either the ruling party, or the loyal opposition, since lots of both are busy exempting themselves from the more burdensome aspects (you know, the ones about freedom of information).
Which leads nicely onto a lovely piece of NuSpeak:
“We don’t want to restrict [the Act], we want to make it better.”
But better for whom, my dear sir. Better for the 60,775,592 of us who are not MPs, or for the 646 that are? Because I suspect that it’s the latter, and that doesn’t work out very well, percentage wise…