Wednesday, January 21, 2009

An unnecessary endeavour?

Today's withdrawal of the statutory instrument to exempt MPs from the FoI Act is good news (and though some have emailed me to congratulate me on having some influence, I suspect that others had more say).
Ministers have shelved plans to exempt MPs' expenses details from the Freedom of Information Act, after the Tories and Lib Dems said they would fight it.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the government had thought it had cross-party agreement but would now "continue to consult on the matter".

Campaigners said it was a victory for "people power" after a web protest.

However, it has rendered obsolete another little project that I threw up last night: a directory of those who have promised to publish their expenses in full—HonestMPs.org.

I still think that the site might have some use as a central directory, but should I change the emphasis?

Opinions welcome...

UPDATE: well, someone has submitted Malcolm Moss (who actually has published his expenses), so maybe I'll keep it going...

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

You, despite your dedicated campaigning against the corrupt fucking cuntsacks that that hold power in this fucking cesspool we used to call Great had fuck all in exposing this "one law for us, the rest of you plebs another" attitude. What did for it was the BBC and Sky, desperate for a non fucking Obama, you know, local story.

As soon as main stream media picked up of our elected cunts trying to play the system the plan was shelved.

Was it the Tory withdrawl of support? WHAT FUCKING SUPPORT?

EXPOSE THESE FUCKERS AS THE CORRUPT CUNTWARTS THAT THEY ARE.

Gareth said...

Just because they have shelved plans for a coverup doesn't mean they will suddenly become transparent about their expenses.

Security dear boy. No, not names and addresses type stuff. Simply can't have the proles see that they likely claim John Lewis prices for things bought at Tesco.

They will find a way to dodge it.

AMcGuinn said...

I'm tempted to say you should just let the site return 404s

Unfair, possibly, but amusing.

Angry Exile said...

If it's going to link to full expenses details rather than the totals in a handful of categories on theyworkforyou.com I reckon you should keep it going. The bastards may have given up this particular fight but if they think nobody's actually looking they'll act as if they hadn't had to publish after all. I suspect also that there'll be some who try their best to make it as difficult as possible to find their published expenses, so it might be worth noting who's being really open and sticking them up on their own site and who's 'published' them by nailing one copy on a tatty bit of A4 to a telegraph pole by the A303.

Roger Thornhill said...

Not 404's. Have the page then list ALL the MPs but those who do not provide 403's - access forbidden. The sucker punch.

Guthrum said...

Keep it going

Oldrightie said...

Anonymous said........

Was it the Tory withdrawl of support? WHAT FUCKING SUPPORT?

Well it wasn't good old Dave's that's for sure! As for LieBores' view on life,
http://oldrightie.blogspot.com/2009/01/labour-seeks-to-make-economic-woes.html

Unsworth said...

So a few days ago I wrote to my MP, Derek Wyatt, (Labour, very slim majority) complaining and asking him to vote against the Order. Here's what he replied:

"I don't agree with the sentiments of this letter; and by the way I shall put my expenses into the public domain irrespective of the decision on Thursday; the cost of putting over 1 million items into the public domain is prohibitive; we have found an acceptable way of going forward and I think you'll find individual Mps will understand your underlying comment that this is public money and it has to be accountable to the public as we have done for aeons; it is the methodology that was wrong which we are putting right. "

Yep, it was the 'Methodology' which was wrong all along. And the costs are far too high (have we heard that before?). Never mind the blatant rip-offs exemplified by Conway and/or Hain and all too many others. No, just as long as we get the paperwork looking pretty good everything will be just fine. Nothing to see here at all. We'll just leave it to the consciences of individual MPs whether to publish or not....

Just as soon as I hear of him publishing his audited accounts I'll post them. Could be a fair old wait, I think.

Budgie said...

Unsworth ... your MP Derek Wyatt said: "...the cost of putting over 1 million items into the public domain is prohibitive ..."

Ask him if we the public will be able to take that attitude with our tax returns, Vat returns and expenses claims. When he says "No", ask why it should be different for MPs.

These MPs constantly pass laws which load more and more form filling onto the public yet whinge if they have to do some. They are hypocrites, thieves, scum.

Angry Exile said...

Back to square one. Next they'll be promising to make their expenses available as long as everyone promises not to look. Reckon honestmps.org is certainly worthwhile.

thomas said...

I'd keep it going. I expect they'll try to wriggle out of it somehow. I don't think this is over.

Rob said...

According to the BBC, the cost of publishing receipts is put at about £2m. Now, given that this is the government, and they are desperate to not publish, this amount is probably a gross overestimate. Still, £2m is fuck all compared to what they piss away every minute of the day.

£2m well spent, possibly the best £2m this bunch of corrupt bastards will ever be forced to spend.

The idea of socialists having a Damascene conversion to fiscal probity over £2m, after burning £37bn over the banks, is an amusing one.

Vicola said...

I emailed my MP to ask him if he was going to publish his expenses. Surprise, surprise, the useless little shit didn't reply. He never does. So don't put Ivan Lewis on the 'honest' list. Perhaps you could add another list for 'MPs who ignore their constituents correspondence entirely"?

Gareth said...

I think the £2m figure is the alleged cost of publishing old receipts - Those which have already been subjected to FOI requests.(Except for the ones shredded in contravention of the law...)

From this day forth it could be done for bugger all by insisting MPs can only claim for expenses they have published themselves and verified with the authorities by providing invoices. A spreadsheet every quarter is all it would take.

The Remittance Man said...

Keep it and honour those MPs who do make the effort to be open. The other fuckers may have been prevented from burying their secrets (for the moment) but they still aren't being as open and honest as we demand.

Or indeed as they demand of the rest of us.