May 2018
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Royal Family granted new right of secrecy

Why to we put up with special treatment for this family living off the state – can’t we cap their housing benefit as well?

I read in the independent that it seems the Windsor Royal Family is to be granted absolute protection from public scrutiny in a legal reform designed to draw a veil of secrecy over the affairs of the Queen, Prince Charles the Halfwit and assorted other royals who provide no discernable form of public benefit. Letters, emails and documents relating to the monarch, her heir and the second in line to the throne will no longer be disclosed even if they are in the public interest. This is a retrograde step as the Royal’s in the UK performs some sort of formal function at the public’s expense and in these hard times of cut backs could have done with some greater scrutiny not less.

These changes to the Freedom of Information Act will reverse advances which had briefly shone a light on the royal finances – including an attempt by the Queen to use a state poverty fund to heat Buckingham Palace. And also threaten to force the disclosure of the Prince of Wales’s prolific correspondence with ministers to reverse democratic decisions for example.

The Coalition Government buried the plan for ‘added protection’ for the Royal Family in the small print of plans called ‘opening up public bodies to public scrutiny’ – which is a bit of an oxymoron in my view.
The Queen, Charles and other hangers on should be open to as much (or even more) review they are still unfortunately part of our constitutional settlement so deserve as much scrutiny as the rest. Only this week we had the unedifying spectacle of a former member of parliament jailed for fiddling expenses for what would be for some of the globetrotting royal’s small change. So come on Daily Telegraph let’s open up the Royal’s for some forensic scrutiny.

Royal Family granted new right of secrecy – Home News, UK – The Independent.

Teenager fined £150 for feet on seats

I don’t know if I am the only one who thinks this (you are ed.) but I was surprised when I read in the newspaper the other day that a teenager was miffed because she was pulled up for putting her feet on the seat on a train as ‘it was only for a minute’ (whatever). I do think perhaps that it is a little harsh to pull her before the beak and potentially fine her £150 – it is a hard knock for a teenager. But I find myself somewhat happy that someone has been pulled up for breaking the rules and rather than the inspector falling for a sorry etc line and letting her off. Sometimes you have to make the point and make an example. This same situation happened to me – I asked a girl ‘resting’ her feet on the seat next to me on the train after a busy lunchtime shoplifting I expect – to move them so there was no danger of me getting my rather nice suit dirty – responded to my polite request (I bet) with a string of abuse and with the retort ‘these shoes are nearly new and not dirty anyway’. The problem with making the seat dirty for other people didn’t cross her mind. Now I may be alone on this (you still are ed.) but I think sometimes you have to make it clear your disapproval because when there is no cost to a person there is no motivation to correct maverick behaviour and the acceptance of a ‘it was only a minute’ excuse is an excuse for inaction and a sanction of the behaviour itself.