Friday, 27 July 2012

Freedom Of Information: Use It Or Lose It

See, this from Bucko is how to use FOI requests as a means of embarrassing and disquieting our pathologically-lying government.
One of [an idiot MP's] quotes [on minimum alcohol pricing] was taken directly from the home office website:
Alcohol has been so heavily discounted that it is now possible to buy a can of lager for as little as 20p and a two litre bottle of cider for £1.69.
Now I know what alcohol he is referring to and I've no doubt you do too, dear reader, but just to be absolutely certain, I fired off an FOI and asked for a source to prove these figures.

It came back today, and sure enough, four cans of Tesco value lager costs 80p and a two litre bottle of Tesco value cider costs £1.69.

They provided a PDF with screenshots from the Tesco website which can be viewed here.
It's good to have it confirmed that the massive threat they use for their alarmist sound bites is, indeed, the weak piss you would have trouble getting a 5 year old drunk on (that's if they could withstand the gag reflex from the disgustingly yeasty taste).

Quite apart from the fact that the cider mentioned isn't available at that price anymore (making the response reportable in my opinion), even the most thrifty of our population would advocate it more for cooking recipes than for getting bladdered and causing trouble.

To use dishwater like this to hammer the entire population who overwhelmingly shun it - and for which teens would be so shamed that they'd be instantly unfriended by every Facebook connection for being such an embarrassment if they admitted to buying the stuff - is a lie, close as dammit.

Of course, we've known for many a year that all the utter guff spouted at us by the dangerous trolls in Westminster is designed only to feather the nests of their state-funded chums, and to make mentally lightweight MPs look like they have a clue what they're doing.

But FOIs like this document their bare-faced, tawdry and self-serving exclusion of the public from any meaningful debate. In just this one small area, we have ample proof that their oily clique is lying to us with every breath they take.

Extend this to thousands of other policies that they work on in parliament and the civil service on any particular day, and you can estimate that a politician lies to you in some medium or other - on average - probably about once a minute. That's once a minute on every single day that they drag their sorry arses through the parliamentary security system to dedicate their privileged lives to destroying your humble one.

May I remind you that we are forced to pay for this. We have our wages deducted so that politicians can use the cash to lie to us; impose bans and restrictions 'for our own good'; and ignore us as much as they possibly can; all based on fantasy that can sometimes only be uncovered thanks to our beating it out of them with the only stick that we have been left with - the Freedom of Information Act.

It's why the FOIA should be used extensively and at every opportunity, and also why this week's news that Westminster bubble grumbles over the Act have rightly been squashed was a blessed relief. Without it, these hideous career egotistical self-servers have carte blanche to do as they deem fit for you with no right of reply.

I know many of you don't need to be reminded to use the act extensively whenever the opportunity presents itself, as your many regular shares - for which I am always grateful - have produced stunning results at times.

But for others, please, if you're concerned about anything these people do, ask them the question. If you want clarification about what they are saying, request they tell you more. If you're only mildly inquisitive even, order them to reply to you anyway.

It's the only way that they will ever start to think about ceasing the waterfall of outrageous lies they throw your way.


John Holmes said...

"May I remind you that we are forced to pay for this. We have our wages deducted so that politicians can use the cash to lie to us; impose bans and restrictions 'for our own good'......"

The case in favour of aggressive tax-avoidance>

Ivan D said...

And they claim that we are immoral for paying tradesman cash in hand. Why on earth should we not avoid paying taxes at every possible opportunity bearing in mind the lack of value for money the Westminster clique are giving us. The vast majority of us do not want the arrogant, interfering dishonest government that is thrust upon us by all parties. Don't these intellectually challenged leaches understand that they could save a fortune by passing less laws and not funding the useless mouths that constitute the bulk of the NGOs?

ivandenisovich said...

What happened to the edit button. I meant fewer laws.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Agree with all of the above. When Gauke said that, my red mist-o-meter was high, for sure. 

moonrakin said...

I use FoI - but misconduct in responding to FoI results in a couple of swipes with a dead lettuce or a jolly good finger wagging.

As I understand it there was some sympathy in the Justice Committee for increasing the *personal* sanctions for civil / public servants who choose to lie, obfuscate and hide embarrassing information. 

Over 2 years, a £1000 fee and nearly 1000 documents - we had civil servants at The Environment Agency simply ignoring requests for named documents that were requested at the beginning... then lying about the existence of said documents - which were eventually magically found by "internal affairs"... but they succeeded in withholding evidence in a High Court action. The Information Commissioner investigated and produced a damning report.

We had our fee refunded, our FoI guy got his time (handsomely) paid for - but NOBODY has been disciplined and indeed, the Environment Agency are repeating the same arbitrary, irrational, arrogant power crazed bone headed idiocy that provoked us in the first place - orchestrated by the same goons.

FoI needs very sharp teeth indeed.

Nothing to hide = nothing to fear eh? That's the usual line innit?      


Bucko said...

Dick - Thanks :-)

Mark.S said...

Sorry to butt in with a stupid  question. but what is this brand of water that people use to compare?

junican41 said...

The FoI should be extended to any body which receives government (taxpayer) money, especially (fake) charities.

Scud One said...

Hi Dick

Splendid and powerful post. 
At the time, when the last demolition crew were acknowledged to be 'in power' and bought this 'transparency to the public' bill about I thought 'hello...what's all this then?..actually sounds quite good, I therefore must be reading it all wrong.'

Sure enough I'm now convinced that it was / is just a sop. Ensuring that they had the length and breadth of our wondrous MSM 'on side', our dear leaders felt confident that no FOI request of any importance by our intrepid hacks was ever going to be lodged but at the same time, this 'gift to the people' gave the impression that it was 'we' that now had the power to bring the bastards to account.

IMOH it is this sickening symbiotic relationship with the media and government that is the problem. We, the enlightened ones of the magnificent blogosphere are still far too small to bother them. We can FOI them to our hearts content about all manner of shite / lies / corruption and they'll happily (sometimes begrudgingly) answer, knowing that they're replying to an insignificant minority as opposed to the 99% of fools who still think the BBC is a bastion of honesty and integrity.

Still, having said this they have been caught out quite spectacularly on a couple of occasions with FOI then compounding their problems...I'm thinking the old 'expenses' malarky and the 'climategate' emails. Yep, nothing happened though did it. A couple of expendable heads rolled for 'house swappers' and a disgustingly corrupt trio of 'enquiries' were set up to clear themselves of 'cooking the books' in terms of Earth's climate in order to maintain the racket of ripping off Britain's energy customers.

Let us not despair though. With or without FOI I think it is inevitable that the filth hiding within cannot be protected forever. That the criminal fraternity lurking behind jolly nice suits and educated accents will eventually have to crawl out into the spotlight as ever more of us abandon the 'accepted' news channels due to ever rising levels of incredulousness and start perusing the likes of DP!

Ooh that the time! I'm missing the Olympics opening ceremony!!  


Smoking Scot said...

I'm doing research on a completely unrelated topic. That post should emerge next month.

However it does involve Tesco and I'm rapidly moving toward the view that it's not the poor wee innocent grocer bringing vfm to the masses.

More than just a hunch that all is not as it seems with the beer and cider issue.

Next time you visit Tesco, please check and see whose name is on the charity can next to the checkout till. No choice, just the one.... for the moment.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

I think we all know the business (sorry, charity) you're referring to. Looking forward to your research. ;)