Sunday, 28 March 2010

The biggest threat to public information and political accountabiliy EVER.

Don't be put off this is not yet more on expenses!

1) Goto your favourite search engine search for "Cameron Expenses"
2) Goto your favourite search enging search for "Brown Expenses"

Now go through each set of results and cross off any that come from a commercial media/news organisation, and any that are blogs repeating the content from commercial media/news organisations.

Look at what you have left - if anything.

This is what the internet searches in the UK will look like to the common man for all news based searches in a few years time if we don't take back control of our own laws and call our politicians to account. It will be an internet void of the information the public need to hold politicians to account. This is an internet that will suit our professional political class down to the ground.

It has taken a decade, but the Freedom of Information act has started paying serious dividends to the public. MPs abuse of expenses was a complete disgrace. But the public being able to find out that it was happening and so stop it is a landmark in British history that should be remembered as well as the Gunpowder Plot (for different reasons, but remembered just as well).

Now the professional political class, starting from the EU and then leaching into the UK via their oily middle man Peter Mandelson with his nasty 'Digital Economy Bill' is setting the scene to destroy the greatest revolution in public access to information that the world has ever seen.

If a new bill for the internet is needed, its central focus should not be how to maximise the expense to the public in favour of big business (as the digital economy bill does). It should be focusing on empowering the people, giving them maximun access to information, and from that standpoint consider how viable, sustainable businesses may operate to serve that ends.

What is the specific threat I mention in the title? It is the decision to charge for online access to the Times newspapers.

They are not nasty or evil for doing this, they are being rational within our current laws.

It is not wrong for anyone to seek reward for labour - that is the very core of what holds our society together - we need workers, customers, suppliers and employers we need others to get the best for all of us. However a model that requiers every member of the public to spend a pound a day per newspaper to have access to information (current and historic) to hold their politicians to account is clearly not in the public interest.

This situation has to be addressed, the people of the UK cannot be hobbled by the lumberous EU and its obscure and awkward rules and processes - we don't need to solve the problem for the whole of Europe, we only need to solve it for the UK and we can do that best, and fastest outside the EU. If the EU want to copy us later, that is fine.

However I suspect that the EU is very, very happy with the way things are going as it drags us back from our new found Freedom of Information dawn into the darkness that is european style politics of secrecy and privacy for those in power.

The UK has often been a world leader and must be again - not in bogus new age technologies that noone actually needs, but in politics - where our mother of parliaments must lead the way again.

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