I don’t think that it’d be much of a surprise if I came right out and said that I don’t think politicians should be allowed to hide all the ways they swindle money from us. In fact, I’m fairly sure that I’ve said just that in the past.
If, in other words, they have acted in a way totally contrary to the idea that citizens should have a right to privacy, why the fuck should they be allowed one? I think that’s a perfectly reasonable thing to ask…
So I think that most (both?) of my readers could guess how I’d feel about this behaviour.
Ministers proposed [exempting MPs from the Freedom of Information Act] after Commons authorities lost a legal battle with journalists over access to information about MPs’ taxpayer-funded second homes. It will put MPs in a special category as the only public servants not required to disclose their expenses and has been supported by backbenchers on both sides of the House.
Ministers have been urging this because apparently it puts the lives of MPs at risk if too much is known about where they live. And, if this were the case, then that might be a valid point. However, this exemption would cover their spending (at our expense) on flat screen televisions and luxury furniture, and none of that counts as ‘security’, except in as far as it may prevent an angry mob arriving at each of the homes in question and politely asking for our elected representatives to stop pissing so much of our money up against the wall, thankyouverymuch.
So I’ve politely written to my elected representative (through this little tool) to inform them of:
- the dastardly way in which this is being put to Parliament – it was announced shortly after the Heathrow runway decision, in the transparent expectation that it would be sneaked through before any fuss could be made about it;
- the fact that there is (some) opposition within Parliament;
- the fact that anyone voting for this amendment will find that it’s noted in big letters on their page on one of the more popular parliamentary voting record sites;
- the fact that voting against this amendment is clearly the right thing to do.
I figure that maybe one or two of my readers might feel that there’s something to points 1 – 4 above, and thus might want to write to their own representative. G’wan, you know it’s the right thing to do…
And, of course, the whole “we don’t want crazy lunatics to know where we live” angle is completely disingenuous as MPs addresses were *already* explicitly and deliberatebly exempted from FOI last year:
And claiming it’s too much work is rather a slap in the face to all the companies and self-employed people who have been told by years that unless they not only keep all receipts, and proper detail of them, but can stand over every one of them when questioned, HMRC will not allow them to be treated as valid expenses.
No, this is blatantly and shamelessly related to them just not wanting to actually reveal how many spurious expenses they’ve racked up whilst thinking no-one was looking.