Wednesday, 21 January 2009

But Gord Will Back Down

Success. Well done all.

The decision to revoke an earlier decision to publish MPs expenses which the Government then backtracked on is now back on track. Gordon Brown surprised many when backed down during PMQs saying he would no longer be seeking to give MPs such an exemption under Freedom of Information.

The activities Unlock Democracy, and my society launched mobilising social networks within hours were key in getting people involved and applying pressure. Things like the Twitter hashtag #MPexpenses, Facebook Groups and other means certainly got the word out quickly and many people seemed to be contacting their MPs to sign Jo Swinson's Early Day Motion, or to vote or speak against this proposal. Apparently many MPs were inundated with letters as the people spoke.

Maybe we truly are heading to an Internet age where if we do not carry out referendae on every piece of legislation the people can at least express their views in issues which detract from the fundamentals of freedom and trust. The public can and must keep holding their parliament to account, after all MPs are only at Westminster by the grace of the electorate.

(On a personal note I just wasted my lunch period starting to write a piece up about this before checking my Tweets, for one I'm glad to spike some copy.)

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