MP letter re. EDM 49 on Royal/commercial FoI

Well, I'm blogging again, and it seems to me that if I'm going to write a letter to my MP on a national issue, then I may as well wear my heart on my sleeve and make it an open letter. So here's the latest --- in fact the first I've written for a while, due to the replacement of my long-standing traditionalist/institutionalist MP with a hopefully more sympathetic model:

Attn: Owen Thompson MP Midlothian

Wednesday 10 June 2015

Dear Owen Thompson,

I'm writing to ask you to sign Parliamentary Early Day Motion 49, "Freedom of Information Legislation, publicly funded bodies and the royal family."

This EDM calls for two important things: 1) that commercial confidence not be a justification for secrecy on public sector contracts (after all, we all are the paying clients), and 2) that the Royal Family not be given special exemption from the freedom of information rules that govern all other publicly funded bodies (again, we are all paying for them and deserve to know what we get for our money).

The first point is, I hope, self-evident. One the second, I think it is worth noting that the recently published Prince Charles correspondence with ministers has shown how the heir to the throne, regardless of whether you agree with his comments, has abused his position of conventional neutrality on numerous political issues. He pressed ministers to favour his own interests and organisations, and the evidence is that most felt compelled to respond more substantially than they would to an "ordinary" citizen.

Extraordinarily, David Cameron claimed that there was an "important principle about the ability of senior members of the royal family to express their views to government confidentially" -- it's somehow democratically important than unelected aristocrats have special access to legislators despite that being constitutionally taboo?! And rather than respond constructively to the exposure, there is clearly a determination from the Conservative Government simply to hide the abuse from public view. This must be opposed, and indeed the existing exemption of the Royals from FoI requests (in response to the moves to publish Charles' letters) should be repealed. Please sign the EDM that calls for this.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Andy Buckley

And that's that.


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