David Blackburn

Transparency: the government’s self-protection aid

Transparency: the government’s self-protection aid
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Monday is eagle day for the overhaul of government machinery. Ben Brogan explains how the publication of 20 departmental business plans will enable the public to chart the progress of government reform – inaugurating a revolution is transparency, that meme of the moment.

I’ve always wondered why the Tories are so keen on touting ‘transparency’. One answer, it seems, is to expose those ministers and departments who are dragging their feet. This instrument of New Politics doubles as a self-protection mechanism, which is especially useful with those dastardly Lib Dems and the odd pugilistic right winger scurrying about. Brogan writes:

‘The plans will spell out the timetables for implementing every stage of the reforms promised this summer. Ministers who fail to deliver the timetable will first have to account to Oliver Letwin, and ultimately – if things really fall apart – to David Cameron. They will have to write public letters explaining why plans have fallen behind (in the same way the Governor of the Bank of England has to write to the Chancellor if he mises the inflation target).’