MPs Back Down As Web Campaign Engulfs Parliament
Further to our story from yesterday which highlighted MPs’ plans to tweak the law so that they wouldn’t have to publicly declare their expenses, Gordon Brown has dramatically announced that the vote, scheduled for tomorrow, has been scrapped.
Over 7,000 people joined a Facebook group highlighting the vote, all within the space of 48 hours. Hundreds of thousands more found out about it from sites like Bitterwallet, Twitter and good old-fashioned word of mouth.
The Prime Minister blamed a U-turn in support by opposition parties for the decision – which may be true although it does sound better than admitting that the online pressure from thousands of members of the public scared the living shit out of them and made them realise that there’s no place for self-serving skulduggery in 2009.
Campaign organiser Tom Steinberg said, “Make no mistake. This is new, and it reflects the fact that the Internet generation expects information to be made available, and they expect to be able to make up their own minds, not be spoon fed the views of others. This campaign was always about more than receipts, it was about changing the direction of travel, away from secrecy and towards openness.”
And as President Obama also said in his inauguration speech, “And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account – to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day – because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.”
Hopefully this is just the beginning of a new way of doing things around here...