Monday, November 20, 2006

FOI fisking

A quick question.

Should judges use Freedom of Information legislation to fisk ministers?

I'm not sure what I think about this yet.


PooterGeek said...


Paulie said...

I ask because measures designed to make civil servants more accountable are often counterproductive.

Surely politicians should be making more political decisions, not fewer? And, if necessary, they should be apologising for the outcomes at election times instead of having to spend their time in office explaining who it was, exactly, that dotted a particular 'i'?

PooterGeek said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
PooterGeek said...

I was replying in general terms.

Information should be provided (within reason) on demand to the general public and to other state officials by civil servants. I used to have to do it when I worked for the Medical Research Council.

The public should be told what is done in their name because they pay for it. Voters should use that information to decide whether or not to re-elect the politicians responsible.

As it happens people tend to ask the same questions again and again so, after you've answered them the first time, it should get easier. That most civil servants wouldn't know a Frequently Asked Questions server if the machine hosting it fell onto their heads from the third floor of their offices is another matter.

A side benefit of such policies is that all sorts of valuable but tacit knowledge that would otherwise be lost to us or go unrecognized accumulates in a usable and archivable form, like The Wedding Photography Blog---soon to be available in a luxury coffee-table edition with goldleaf endpapers, and as a reality docudrama starring Heartbeat's Nick Berry as crime-busting police psychopathologist lawyer wedding photographer Damian Counsell and introducing The Amazing Patch as his psychic dog, Stokes.

Paulie said...

Pooter: Does this mean that I can count you in on my campaign to stop civil servants being allowed to manage their own departmental websites? The campaign to 'hand over the Northern Ireland Office website to Slugger?'

(You will need to scroll down, I'm afraid)

PooterGeek said...

That sounds like an excellent idea. Give me a couple of days to find the hole in it.