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

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