On Question Time last night, an audience member suggested a knighthood for the Editor of the Telegraph. The linked article shows that he is not the real hero of this story. The person who should be honoured is campaigning journalist and blogger, Heather Brooke.
It was Heather's initiative and courage which set us on the path to the truth.Being made "Dame Heather" would not be nearly honour enough for her public-spirited work for our democracy. I suggest she be made a life peer. Then at least we would have one member of the legislature we could trust to act in our interests.
Perhaps a mere knighthood would be reward enough for the voluntary efforts of her QC, Hugh Tomlinson, who represented her for free against the massed ranks of taxpayer-funded lawyers assembled by the the Speaker and the Information Commissioner. The Speaker tried to intimidate her into silence by putting her at risk of having to meet his legal fees if she lost in the High Court. She could have been bankrupted, while he ran no such risk as he played with our money. Thanks to her courage and the ingenuity of her lawyers, she was able to take him on and win. Unlike Messrs Cameron, Brown and Clegg, I could read her article today and be proud of my profession. As MPs sickeningly try to cast smear the Telegraph's journalists for "receiving stolen goods", their profession can be proud of Heather too.
As we watch the odious spectacle of MPS defending their "virtue", Heather's words today speak volumes about them (including those who may not themselves have abused the system, but still voted to be exempted from the Freedom of Information Act, so as to protect the ones who did);
"And now MPs are feeling morose. Tough! They've had plenty of opportunities to do the right thing by parliament and by the people. At every juncture they behaved in the worst possible way. They refused legitimate requests, they wasted public money going to the high court, they delayed publication, they tried to exempt themselves from their own law, they succeeded in passing a law to keep secret their addresses from their constituents so as to hide the house flipping scandal ...
She could not be more right. An immediate election should be called and the parties should decide whether to allow dishonest sitting MPs to be judged by the electorate, or to deselect them in order to offer honest candidates. In the meantime, Heather's name should be sung into our island story as the heroine she is. What do you think? Would a petition on the Number 10 website requesting her elevation to the peerage attract enough signatures?