Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Elected politicians: Always outnumbered. Always outgunned.

The final victory of Sir Humphrey, the permanent government (no matter who you vote for, these bastards always get in) over elected politicians.

The Coup de grĂ¢ce: the risk (and for “risk” read “certainty”) of being accused of being an anti democratic control freak, there can sometimes be good reasons for holding private meetings where a record isn’t taken. The most successful negotiations, between ministers and his civil servants, between departments or between a department and an outside body, can very often start with an informal discussion that, technically, didn’t actually happen.
No more, apparently. Openness and transparency counts more than successful delivery of policy, I suppose. Hooray for the Freedom of Information Act and the Information Tribunal.
It speaks volumes that the only instance that Tom Harris dares to offer is the ludicrous demands to divulge personal details. In the current climate of public debate, it is no longer possible to argue for ministerial discretion without a deafening chorus of anti-democratic idiocy by way of reply.

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