British sensibility - Macleans.ca
 

British sensibility


 

David Eaves lauds David Cameron’s new commitment to transparent accounting.

After a brief video announcement from Prime Minister David Cameron about the importance of the event, Francis Maude, Minister of the Cabinet Office, and Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, announced that henceforth the spending data for every British ministry on anything over £25,000 (about $40,000) would be available for anyone in the world to download…

For the British Conservative Party, this is a strategic move. Faced with a massive deficit, the government is enlisting the help of all Britons to identify any waste. More importantly, however, they see releasing data as a means by which to control government spending. Indeed, Mr. Maude argues: “When you are forced to account for the money you spend, you spend it more wisely. We believe that publishing this data will lead to better decision-making in government and will ultimately help us save money.”


 

British sensibility

  1. "There are four ways in which you can spend money. You can spend your own money on yourself. When you do that, why then you really watch out what you're doing, and you try to get the most for your money. Then you can spend your own money on somebody else. For example, I buy a birthday present for someone. Well, then I'm not so careful about the content of the present, but I'm very careful about the cost.

    Then, I can spend somebody else's money on myself. And if I spend somebody else's money on myself, then I'm sure going to have a good lunch! Finally, I can spend somebody else's money on somebody else. And if I spend somebody else's money on somebody else, I'm not concerned about how much it is, and I'm not concerned about what I get. And that's government. And that's close to 40% of our national income." Milton Friedman

    I am forty years old and for as long as I can remember pols have been talking about eliminating waste from government spending but it never happens. Friedman explains why.

    So I think it is clever decision on Tories part – transparency is a good thing – but I don't think it will make a bit of difference.

  2. Absolutely fantastic. I'm not likely to be accused of being a conservative, but I like the idea of this kind of transparency and its propensity to reduce waste. Hopefully something similar is adopted here. Not likely under this government, unfortunately. They are very secretive…

  3. Transparency and prudent spending aren't conservative principles, so there's no gap between your support for this idea and your preceived anti-conservednessiosity.

  4. I should say, are not principles limited to a conservative ideology. Everyone of any stripe esposuses the principle.

  5. Would that we did the same.

  6. This is a good idea… although in practice I wonder a) how many people will pore over governmental financial statements, and b) how many people get anything out of poring over those financial statements if they're not financial literate to read them (and I'll probably include myself in the latter category). Mind you, I'm not sure if either of those concerns outweigh the benefits of adding transparency to the system. I'd wager one of the major parties will add this electronic transparency plan to their election campaign platform.

  7. '…if they're not financially literate enough… ' it should read.

    I'm not even literate literate today.

  8. Any Canadian party, Federal or Ontario provincial, would definitely get my attention if they proposed something along these lines. Sure, my heart would be broken when such a proposal is forgotten post-election, but it would be nice to believe there are political parties capable of challenging the status quo, no matter how naive the belief is.

  9. That would be a new dawn for this country.

    Imagine, you are looking at something on a website, you think its wasteful, you fire off an e-mail to Tony Clement, and *boom* its gone!

    Can't hardly wait . . .

  10. ' "During the digital economy strategy consultations, open data was the s'cond-most popular suggestion. Interestingly, it would appear the Liberals are prepared to explore the opportunity. They are the only party with a formal policy on open data that matches the standards recently set by Britain and, increasingly, in the United States.
    Open data will eventually come to Canada. When, however, is unclear. In the meantime it is our colleagues elsewhere that will reap the benefits of savings, improved analysis and better civic engagement. So until Mr. Harper's team changes its mind, Canadians must look abroad to see what a Conservative government that actually believes in transparency could look like" '

    One policy move from the libs that will pay off.