Freethinkeruk’s Weblog

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Archive for the tag “FoI”

Royal Raid Attempt on Poor

No wonder the Royal family want to be exempted from the Freedom of Information Act. Not content with the millions of Pounds that the taxpayers are forced to hand over to them in order to fund their lavish lifestyle, they even attempted to dip their greedy hands into the fund set up to help people on low incomes heat their homes. The report in the Independent shows just how far they will go to line their bulging pockets even further.

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Royal Secrets

Brown had promised us more openness and transparency in the wake of the expenses scandals. What does he do? He caves in to pressure from the Palace and is bringing in a blanket ban on the Freedom of Information Act applying to the unelected Royals stating that secrecy is required to ensure the impartiality of the head of state. What?!!

Statement from the Ministry of Justice:

To ensure the constitutional position and political impartiality of the Monarchy is not undermined, the relevant exemption in the Freedom of Information Act will be made absolute for information relating to communications with the Royal Household that is less than 20 years’ old. After that point – if the relevant Member of the Royal Family is still alive – then the exemption will continue to apply until five years after their death – on an absolute basis for the Sovereign and the Heir to the Throne, and on a qualified basis for other members of the Royal Family.

This is utterly outrageous; if they demand secrecy then they must have something to hide or rather, a lot of ‘somethings’. We are footing the bill so why shouldn’t we have a right to know or at least find out what they are spending our money on? If they are using their undemocratic powers to influence political decisions, or promoting their businesses or using government planes for their private pleasure at our expense we have a right to know.

It is even likely that this FOI ban will become law not by being debated in Parliament but brought into being by powers given to the Prime Minister by the very people who demand this outrage.

If you still have any doubts about whether we should know then how about this from The Guardian in June last year.

“Prince Charles used the royal train to travel from Kemble, near his Gloucestershire home, to Penrith, Cumbria, to visit a pub – part of the “pub is the hub” initiative to revitalise village life – at a cost of £18,916, which may make it the most expensive pub visit ever made. The prince also used the train to get to Edinburgh (£21,460) and during a trip for various engagements in Wales (£43,258).”

Freedom of Information Act

Information regarding the emission of radioactive cooling water from nuclear powered submarines at Faslane in Scotland has just been released.

From this three points spring immediately to mind.

1. If someone or some organisation hadn’t requested the information under the FIA would these leaks have been brought to the public’s notice? I very much doubt it particularly as the first acknowledged leak was in 2004.

2. Rumour has it that the MoD is about to issue a contract for the dismantling of nuclear submarines along with the reactors in Plymouth, against the expressed wishes of the population. Assurances as to safety have of course been made but if radiation can’t be controlled in ‘normal’ servicing what hope is there in breaking down a reactor safely, right in the middle of a large city like Plymouth?

3. The Government seems hell bent on building more nuclear powered electricity power stations, adding more risk to the citizens and if even the comparatively small units on submarines cannot be guarranteed safe eventually there is likely to be a catastrophy. We’ve already had the Windscale disaster which blew radiation over northern England including Manchester. News of which incidentally didn’t creep out until years later.

The Freedom of Information Act could be a two edged sword in that governments may not release information unless specifically asked for it and of course if we don’t suspect something we are not going ask.

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