No seriously – I don’t know if this is a joke or not…
As home secretary, I gained a reputation for being “tough”; less concerned with liberty than with public protection. This is a misunderstanding of my position, and my commitment to freeing people from the fear and instability that leads to political alienation and the danger of a lurch to the right.
This is David Blunkett? THE David Blunkett that was Home Secretary? Quite!
He goes on to say:
If, in the name of liberty, we allow individuals to act in a way that damages the wellbeing of the whole, it will inevitably mean the breakdown of mutuality, thereby changing the very nature of our society.
We need principles upon which we can base actions that, in the name of protecting freedom and decency, may otherwise become oppressive, intolerant of difference and self-destructive.
Nice political speak for “we know best so shut up!” Then you have this on the BBC.
Justice Secretary Jack Straw has vetoed the publication of minutes of key Cabinet meetings held in the run-up to the Iraq war in 2003.
He said he would use a clause in the Freedom of Information Act to block the release of details of meetings in which the war’s legality was discussed.
Releasing the papers would do “serious damage” to Cabinet government, he said, and outweighed public interest needs.
The Information Tribunal ruled last month that they should be published.
And this information in The Guardian:
What legal right do we have to force the government to tell us things?
If you’re in Sweden, lots: you’ve had a freedom of information (FoI) law since 1766; in the US since 1966, in Ireland since 1997. In the UK, the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (in Scotland, 2002) came fully into force only in 2005. The law requires 100,000 public authorities, from schools to Whitehall departments, to respond promptly to requests for information and subject to exceptions, to give it up. Information that must be released includes emails, meeting minutes, research and reports. Destroying or altering information that is the subject of an FoI request is an offence.
So, to summarise – The Freedom of Information Act means absolutely nothing if it is going to embarrass the government – and Blunkett says:
The strength of our democracy is that we are able to challenge those who presuppose their knowledge of the threats faced, as sufficient justification for protecting mutual interest at the expense of individual freedom. That is when we should assert ourselves, lest the mistakes of the past allow those in power to abuse their position.
You can see why this government doesn’t know what the arse and elbow are doing!