Saturday, July 21, 2012
SNP Government criticised for deliberately withholding public information, what happened to open and transparent government Alex Salmond?
One of the ways you can judge the strength of a government is how open and transparent it is to the people.
“If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear” is an old adage.
The SNP Government seems to be falling apart, inward looking and on the back foot now.
The information watchdog Rosemary Agnew has expressed her “disappointment” at the Scottish Government withholding public information.
This is a sign of a government in trouble, ooking jaded and tired.
SNP Ministers have withheld 18 Health and Social Care Directorate internal audit reports from publication.
This is despite “strongly worded advice” from the Information Watchdog to reconsider.
This is bad government and also bad strategy.
The underlining reason will be seen by many as a government in crisis that is rapidly becoming ‘heartless and hopeless’.
Agnew criticised ministers for attempting to adopt a “class-based blanket approach” to non-disclosure, which contradicted her own advice, that of the courts, and even the government’s own internal guidance.
The people have a right to know and many will see secrecy as a tool to cover up incompetence and lack of a work ethic to tackle the real issues facing Scotland.
In an intervention that is highly embarrassing it has been concluded that most of the information was appropriate for release.
Te news of the SNP Government adopting secrecy is great news for Labour and a massive boost, they described the ruling as a “significant intervention” which “should embarrass SNP ministers”.
A spokeswoman for the commissioner said:
“The commissioner’s decision expresses disappointment that the ministers continued to seek to exempt the information in its entirety throughout her investigation, despite a 2007 Court of Session ruling which considered and rejected a similar blanket approach.”
Ministers were given advance notice of the likely outcome of her deliberations if they continued to pursue general arguments against disclosure, and were given “strongly worded advice to reconsider their position”.
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said:
“We are aware of the Commissioner’s decision and are complying with her findings.”
Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said:
“This SNP government has an unhealthy addiction to secrecy.”
Withholding information is wrong, it is a clear sign of a government in decline that has lost its way, Alex Salmond talks a lot about a fair, open and transparent society, seems that doesn’t apply to the majority of people, just those in the SNP middle class clique.
Trust is a key factor in independence; the SNP Government is losing the trust of the public.
The clock is ticking down to defeat in the independence referendum, and the work to ensure that defeat is in part the way that Alex Salmond is allowing the Scottish Government to operate.
This government is going to end up the same way as Gordon Brown's, disaster after disaster and all self made to a spectacular implosion.
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University