Bill Melotti is a Conservative councillor on the Vale of White Horse district council in Oxfordshire.
At this time of endless revelations about MPs' expenditure, one thing that stood out is how we have got here and greater openness that now exists in Government, in part - if not a great deal - thanks to the Freedom of Information Act.
What might have sounded like a airy/Blairy piece of legislation at the time of introduction is now proving to be a powerful tool to hold public bodies to account. Guido on his blog has rightly higlighted the excellent work done by Heather Brooke in this area. And of course it was a Blair era reform.
At the time, it was part of a civil rights agenda being set by the then Labour opposition, which included such things as the Human Right Act, and a (failed) 'Ethical Foreign Policy' and was in stark contrast to the authoritarian approach of the then Conservative Government; Michael Howard's support for ID cards and Ken Clarke using PII Cetificates in the Matrix Churchill case spring to mind. How times have changed.
Indeed this Government, especially of late, has tried to be anything but open. The arrest of Damian Green, the way in which Gordon Brown evades all questions, the total contempt with which Ministers treat Parliament in response to written or oral questions and obfuscation in details of spending. A government confident in its abilities and policies would have no problem defending what it is doing, yet the current one cannot.