Friday 18 May 2007

Who watches the watchmen?

The RIP Act, anti terrorist legislation, the Criminal Justice Act, enhanced CRB disclosures, talking CCTV, etc etc - every time an illiberal act is passed, the cry goes out - not justfrom the government, but from the Establishment in general - that if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.

So how come a large number of MPs, from both of the main Establishment parties, are supporting a Private Members Bill which would exempt MPs from the Freedom if Information Act ???

What's more, Gordon Brown - whose coronation as Prime Minister (there will now be no election for the post-Bliar Labour Party leader) is due in June - will not oppose the Bill (BBC News: Brown will not block secrecy bid). So much for his claims to want"to build the trust of the British people in our democracy" (BBC News: Brown makes pitch to lead Britain).

It's not hard to see why (once again) both Labour and "opposition" Tory MPs are backing this pernicious piece of legislation. The Tories started the sleaze ball rolling in the 1990s, and it has continued to snowball under Blair's New Labour government (I wonder how much peerages go for on ebay nowadays ...)

But there is an alternative to the soap-opera that is official "politics". While New Labour hurtles down Coronation street, a group of Eastenders - Respect councillors, the main opposition in Tower Hamlets - are making every effort to make their council accountable to their local constituents. And George Galloway, the Respect MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, is doing likewise nationally.

Hopefully in the coming years, the representation of Respect will increase not just in the East End, but nationally. We have already seen the start of this process, with Respect gaining 2 extra councillors this year.

Then, New Labour and Tory politicians and their mates in the Establisment will have nowhere to hide and plenty to fear!

No comments: