29 September 2010

Why openness in government?

If there is one thing Cameron and Co. must have thought about a lot in opposition - there being little evidence that they thought about anything else in any depth - it will have been how to handle the avalanche of leaks with which the state bureaucracy would certainly try to undermine a new Conservative administration.

Witness today's leak of a private letter from Defence Secretary Fox to Prime Minister Cameron in the Telegraph.

Bingo! said some bright young thing. Let's make a virtue of necessity and preach openness. After all, secrecy overwhelmingly favours the bureaucratic oligarchy that actually runs the country, because it permits officials to use judicious leaks to pick off ministers who threaten to change the status quo.

The press? Can't find its arse with both hands on matters of policy. Pre-empt leaks from Whitehall and the journopukes will have to concentrate entirely on bicycle seat sniffing, which is what they do best anyway.

The electorate? Even the bare majority that is functionally literate doesn't care enough to understand how the country is run. Take away the thrill of "revelations" and they will slip into the comfort zone of reading/viewing people who reassure them that what they already believe is correct and that there is no need to think.

It's called "hiding in plain sight" - nine times out of ten if you go about your business openly and with an air of confidence, nobody pays any attention. I cannot see any other way the Coalition government can avoid being leaked to death by the labourite majority infesting the state sector.

Nor, evidently, does Cameron - witness his words to Benedict Brogan on today's leak.

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