Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Why we should support freedom of information

Just look at who opposes it:

"Freedom of Information. Three harmless words. I look at those words as I write them, and feel like shaking my head till it drops off my shoulders. You idiot. You naive, foolish, irresponsible nincompoop. There is really no description of stupidity, no matter how vivid, that is adequate. I quake at the imbecility of it.

Once I appreciated the full enormity of the blunder, I used to say - more than a little unfairly - to any civil servant who would listen: Where was Sir Humphrey when I needed him? We had legislated in the first throes of power. How could you, knowing what you know have allowed us to do such a thing so utterly undermining of sensible government?"

Tony Blair, A Journey.

And that should settle the matter: FOI laws, such as the UK's Freedom of Information Act, allow the lies and dirty dealings of politicians like Blair to be exposed, allowing them to be held to account by the public. Tony Blair, who has no small amount of self-interest in this matter, hates that. But for the rest of us, its the point.

[Hat-tip: Campaign for Freedom of Information]