Home

Not "fucked", but "normal"

12 April 2005
In the openDemocracy blog oD Today, Anthony Barnett (founder of Charter 88 and openDemocracy) argues that that British political system is totally fucked.

But in at least one respect, the application of blunt rules regardless of sense by Britain’s civil service, it is very much business as usual.

Yesterday, openDemocracy received a draft of an introduction to the forthcoming climate debate by Professor Sir David King, the UK government’s chief scientific advisor.

The introduction is a model of clarity and good sense – ideal for the launch of the debate on 21 April

But, within hours of receiving the article, we are told that in no circumstances may we publish the piece until after the UK general election, on 5 May.

Civil servants, it seems, are supposed to go into “publishing purdah” in the run up to a general election in order to avoid any accusations of bias in the system.

The irony is that Sir David’s article is totally non controversial in the British political context. UK political parties - from the Conservatives to Plaid Cymru - are falling over each other to say they take the challenge of climate change even more seriously than the others.

Caspar Henderson

Who's getting rich from COVID-19?

Boris Johnson's government stands accused of 'COVID cronyism', after handing out staggering sums of money to controversial private firms to fight COVID-19. Often the terms of these deals are kept secret, with no value-for-money checks or penalties for repeated failures which cost lives. And many major contracts have gone directly to key Tory donors and allies – without competition.

As COVID rates across the country surge, how can we hold our leaders accountable? Meet the lawyers, journalists and politicians leading the charge in our free live discussion on Thursday 1 October at 5pm UK time.

Hear from:

Dawn Butler Labour MP for Brent Central and member of the House of Commons Committee on Science and Technology

Peter Geoghegan Investigations editor, openDemocracy, and author of 'Democracy for Sale: Dark Money and Dirty Politics'

Jolyon Maugham Barrister and founder of the Good Law Project.

Peter Smith Procurement expert and author of 'Bad Buying: How Organisations Waste Billions through Failures, Frauds and F*ck-ups'

Chair: Mary Fitzgerald Editor-in-chief of openDemocracy

Had enough of ‘alternative facts’? openDemocracy is different Join the conversation: get our weekly email

Comments

We encourage anyone to comment, please consult the oD commenting guidelines if you have any questions.
Audio available Bookmark Check Language Close Comments Download Facebook Link Email Newsletter Newsletter Play Print Share Twitter Youtube Search Instagram WhatsApp yourData