Thursday, 18 June 2009

Remember the name - Heather Brooke

Heather Brooke - that's not a name that resonates with the majority of folk in this country I imagine. But there are reasons why it should. Heather is a journalist and writer living in London whose single minded determination ensured that we would have the chance to find out just how much our MPs are costing us and what specific claims they are making on the public purse. By winning a High Court battle against the House of Commons there is now information in the public domain that would never have materialised otherwise.

What has happened now is the 'official' version of MPs expense claims has been published, but with a huge amount of information blacked out, as to addresses for example. However thanks to someone leaking the information 'The Daily Telegraph' has been churning out 'uncensored' information for many weeks now and, notwithstanding today's publication of expenses for all MPs, I do hope that the DT carry on with their good work.

One point about all this I want to briefly dwell on, and it's a point worth making strongly I feel, is the still enormous power of the individual. In these days of big government, big corporations, of big committees it seems so easy to believe that the individual has no chance to change history. But, thank God, that perception is wrong. A recent example was that of Joanna Lumley who deployed considerable finesse in ensuring Gurkhas could reside in the UK. Without taking anything away from her Joanna did benefit from being someone well known. But Ms Brooke wasn't, and I guess still isn't, a household name. Yet the action of this one persevering woman has changed the way Parliament, or at least the House of Commons, does its business for ever. I believe we should be eternally grateful to Heather Brooke; she has a website "Your Right To Know" here.

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