The Professors passion for "The Science of Deceit" started here...

Employed by the Ministry (in a covert capacity) to help introduce the law ending dishonest politics, you can see his hand all over the posts of past.

Current political circumstances have forced him to reveal himself and as we speak, MPs are signing up to re-introduce The Elected Representatives (Prohibition of Deception) Bill for debate with over 80,000 voters supporting them.

Posts before Jan '08 are purely for the record (with hindsight they make fascinating reading). Posts after May 13th mark the Professor's return.

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Monday, June 01, 2009

MPs Code of Conduct

But for a few cracks, Brown gave a convincing performance on Sunday's Andrew Marr show.

The problem with the few cracks is they pretty much leave significant doubt over everything.

Crack 1) All that's gone before.

Up until this point in time, it's not easy to find a single example of good intentions delivering the goods - especially in the Parliamentary ethics arena (where it's safe to say that all previous initiatives can be dismissed with a simple look at the last three weeks of media) but also in other areas as a result of a singular incompetence to legislate for the real world. For example ;
  1. Suffering the indignity of some twerp nosing round your house for 5 minutes to charge you £400 for a HIPs pack to sell your home. The real world incentive amounts to, "the cheaper the inspector + the more homes he can inspect in a day = more money for estate agents organising the inpsection". A spectacular mis-alignment from the intention of making homes more energy efficient. Doubly insulting if you've been forced to sell your home.
  2. The Government's coal miners compensation scheme. There's rarely been a better example of legislation fleecing the tax-payer. A spectacular example of the government mis-aligning intention with incentive resulting in lawyers with car collections approaching the Sultan of Brunei's.
No doubt the two examples above were down to sheer incompetence as opposed to bad intentions. Cracks 2 and 3 deal with that.

Crack 2) The Freedom of Information Act

Brown's not the first to mention this government's pride in the FOIA. To say they're responsible for its introduction is barely permissable on a factual basis. Yes, they were in power when it came onto the statute books but they've consistently fought it in the courts and tried to ammend it in their favour with more holes than Swiss cheese. We'll be making an FOI request into how much of our money they've actually spent trying to fight our requests for transparency.

Crack 3) A matter for Parliament, not government

Brown can hide behind a eunoch Parliament's inability to hold this government to account as much as he likes but it's hard to deny the government's responsibility for the castration. Blair, Straw and Brown have all talked the talk (see post below) but money pays the rent.

There's little more than his word to make us believe they've the intention or ability to reform. If we're to trust the MPs Code of Conduct delivers more accountability than the existing Ministerial Code of Conduct it won't be on the basis of past performance.

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