Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Friday, June 07, 2013

Transparency but no records

The halls of Westminster are not swarming with lobbyists. Persuasion gets done in other ways. For instance, the PM, professed fan of greater transparency, is going to a private meeting with many of the world's movers and shakers without aides, without taking notes, and without telling the public who he saw or what was said.

The US president isn't going this year, but plenty of other current and former US big shots will attend.

Conspiracy theorists, by the way practically foam at the mouth when Bilderberg is mentioned.

David Cameron to attend Bilderberg group meeting
David Cameron is to attend the secretive Bilderberg group at the luxury Grove hotel in Watford… in a move that is likely to raise questions about his pledge to lead Britain's most transparent government.

Downing Street said it was acting in an open manner by publicising the prime minister's attendance in advance…

No 10 is to clarify the position because ministers are usually expected to be accompanied by civil service note-takers when they meet business leaders…

The PM's spokesman said: "He will participate in a discussion around domestic and global economic issues. He feels it is an opportunity to discuss economic issues with senior ministers, businesspeople and academics."

Downing Street said that it would not publicise any details of the prime minister's meetings. "It is a private meeting so we are not going to go into any further details," the spokesman said.

"On a wider point the prime minister has always been clear about the importance of transparency which is why this government has taken a number of steps in terms of publishing more data, more information about meetings."…

Cameron and Nick Clegg pledged when they formed the coalition to lead the most transparent government to date. The coalition agreement said: "The government believes that we need to throw open the doors of public bodies, to enable the public to hold politicians and public bodies to account."…
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