UPDATE: Looks like we won!
This blog is meant to be local, and concerns itself with things that affect my fellow Blackheathens… But I just thought I should mention this issue, as I believe it has the potential to affect everyone who lives here. Part of the reason that this is such a nice place to live is because, generally speaking, our officials are not bribe-able . MPs took a step in the wrong direction this week – by attempting to block Freedom of Information requests if they involve MPs.
Whenever I’ve mentioned something broken in Blackheath, I’ve always referred to the wonderful fixmystreet.com website. Well, the people who make that website, also make another site, called theyworkforyou.com, designed to allow any voter in the UK to contact their MP. But if you should go to that site today, you will instead find this message:
On the 16th of May 2008 the High Court ruled that MPs’ expenses must be published under the Freedom of Information Act.
This Thursday, MPs are voting to change the law to keep their expenses secret after all, just before publication was due and after spending nearly a million of your pounds and seven months compiling the data.
Your MP may not even know about this proposal (it was sneaked out under the Heathrow runway announcement). Please take a few minutes to alert them to this attack on Parliamentary transparency and ask them to vote against the measure.
The outcome of this vote will be prominently displayed on every MP’s page until after the next General Election.
What can you do?
* Join this Facebook group.
If you live in Blackheath (and even if you don’t), please act now, and tell your MP (mine is Nick Raynsford pictured above), that he or she should not vote to change the law in order to cover-up MP’s expenses. This isn’t a party-political issue, it’s about preserving transparency in the political system.
Photo from a creative-commons licensed photo by flickr user joyoflife, not especially flattering, but it was the only one I could find online without copyright restrictions.
UPDATE: Times article here. Now over 6000 group members on Facebook!