A one-sided demand for transparency?

Guy Fawkes - the last man to enter Parliament with honest intentions.

Old Anarchist joke: Guy Fawkes - the last man to enter Parliament with honest intentions.

Two weeks ago, Internet campaigners made a decisive intervention on what was, as far as the media were concerned, a big story.

Perhaps the most prominent single political blogger in the UK – Guido Fawkes – was followed by perhaps the leading alliance of hacktivists MySociety in demanding that MPs desist from exempting themselves from the full disclosure rules in the Freedom of Information Act.

One rule for them?

As far as I can see, this is an oddly directed campaign. There is one strong argument in it’s favour:

  • If Parliament imposes Freedom of Information rules on other areas of government and failed to make the case for Parliamentary Privileges at the time of the original drafting, it looks foolish to try and wriggle out of the obligations respectively – and it damages Parliament’s reputation to do so.

The other arguments are, I think, a good deal weaker.

An effective way to ‘clean up Parliament?’

Will it stem corruption? I don’t think so. Most of the recent scandals have been to do with the choice of staff who have been employed and what they do. Disclosing receipts won’t deal with that. Continue reading


‘Point-of-view shifting’ media

accesscity_logoHere’s social media being used for a social purpose: AccessCity. It allows us to look at journeys around London from the point of view of someone with access issues. These can include disabilities or reasonable expectations that are unmet. One would reasonably expect to get around London with relative ease if you are pushing a baby-buggy for instance?

It allows people to see things from the point of view of others. This is a way of providing evidence in a simple honest way, and can perhaps have a good deal more influence than any formal campaigning on a particular issue because it can’t by hyperbolised or spun in some way. Spin this kind of message and it will show.

(hat-tip: Dominic)