Friday, February 20, 2009


If They’ve Nothing To Hide, They’ve Got Nothing To Fear

The arrogant, self-important, holier-than-thou, über-bossy bullying Labour Government famously has no sense of irony (the last two words may be superfluous there), but today’s news brings joy for taxpayers, friends of freedom and ironists alike. Labour’s position is very clear: only criminals and terrorists have anything to fear from their humongously expensive ID cards and databases holding every scrap of personal information on every citizen (all the better for thieves, blackmailers and newspapers to get hold of it); but only criminals and terrorists could possibly have any interest in exposing what the Labour Government is up to in our name. And they see no contradiction in that.

The Labour Government’s fervour in poking into, preaching at and misplacing our every personal detail is only matched by their religious fervour in preventing any of us finding out how badly they’re doing it. They’ve entirely forgotten that the Government is employed by the people, rather than the other way round. And so the Labour Government mounted stitch-up after stitch-up to try to stop anyone being able to find what MPs’ expenses were, while coincidentally the Cabinet member with responsibility for bossing the police about and inventing stupid new crimes was thieving from the taxpayer; they still refuse to hold an independent enquiry into the Iraq War; they put pressure on the courts to cover up torture evidence; they block court cases altogether to cover up bribery over BAE; they refuse to tell us how much money they’ve wasted on horrendous messes of private sector contracts because of “commercial confidentiality”; trying to change the law so they can bar the public from coroners’ inquests, sack independent coroners and bribe their appointed placepeople to make sure they give the ‘right’ result; they make it a serious crime to photograph a police officer so no-one can supply evidence of the effects of the Labour Government’s appalling new laws…

Today, however, exposes the most hilariously ironic of all the Labour Government’s irony-bypass operations – despite threatening every member of the public (starting with ‘foreigners’ and, er, Mancunians) with prosecution and bankrupting fines if we don’t regularly disclose every detail of our lives to their insanely huge ID cards database, they’ve been fighting for four years to prevent any member of the public seeing the two independent reviews the Labour Government themselves commissioned… Into how the ID cards scheme was working.

The Information Tribunal has at last ruled today that the Labour Government’s attempts to say Freedom of Information doesn’t apply to them are wrong, and that the results of both reviews into the ID cards process must be published within 28 days. So, to have spent so much taxpayers’ money on four years of lawyers’ fees to try and stop us finding all this out, how bad will the decision-making process have been? How many practical errors have been uncovered? How much money has been wasted? And how many Labour Government Ministers will be revealed to have lied to Parliament about how well, and how cheaply, it’s all been going? Meg Hillier, for one, must be eyeing her smoking undergarments apprehensively.

Don’t hold your breath, though. These reviews were carried out way back in 2003 and 2004, so the vast bulk of the billions upon billions of pounds wasted and the amazing extent of the Labour Government’s ineptitude will barely have been scratched. And if you think this ruling means that we can see the results of any other in-depth examinations of the Labour Government’s in-depth examinations of our lives, again, I wouldn’t get your hopes up. A Labour Government spokesrobot announced after the ruling:
“It has made clear that its decision refers only to this specific request and does not set any precedent. We are currently assessing the detail of the Information Tribunal's decision and will respond in full in due course.”
But, surely, if they’ve done nothing wrong, they’ve got nothing to fear? The rest of us can only conclude that the Labour Government’s got plenty of wrongdoing to hide from its employers – all of us – or that they were lying when they repeated that mantra to stop us objecting to their prying and bossing. The answer is ‘probably both’.

Let’s just say no to ID cards now.

Update: despite me being the Dad’s Army fan in the household, my beloved reminds me that one of the nation’s favourite comedy moments features the awesome Philip Madoc issuing a demand for personal information – which is definitely regarded as not very British. There is, however, a very British precedent for the pompous buffoon in charge to be careless with our personal details.

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"Vot is YOUR name?"

Don't tell him, Daddy Alex!

"Daddy Alex! You name vill ALSO be on ze list!"
Great stuff - good to see you back shouting at the nasty people.
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