Conservative Diary

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Cameron's 'see-through government' agenda should scare every bureaucrat

C-Home-can-of-wormsI blogged about David Cameron's transparency agenda as recently as Tuesday but the Tory leader revisited the topic on Wednesday night in a video-linked talk to the Technology Entertainment Design (TED) conference in California.

In his talk the Conservative leader promised to publish every government contract worth over £25,000 in full. The disclosure would include all performance indicators, break clauses and penalty measures.

George Osborne commented:

“The Conservative Party will call time on Labour’s era of wasteful spending, which has seen billions of pounds wasted on poorly negotiated and ineffective contracts. Our commitment to publish government contracts in full is the most radical transparency announcement ever made by a British political party – and will enable the public to hold ministers and civil servants to account like never before. This policy will help us to cut government spending, root out waste and empower the public – and bring in a new age of transparency and accountability.”

Transparency is the biggest ally of small government conservatism. As the can of government is opened up, voters won't like what they see. The promise of being able to 'Google government' won't move many votes but it is a massive opportunity for businesses to inspect government contracts and offer taxpayers a better deal.

The Transparency agenda is central to the 'Post-Bureaucratic Age'; an idea being explored in a major conference hosted by Stephan Shakespeare on 22nd February.

Tim Montgomerie

PS Guido has come up with a better name for the transparency agenda; see-through government. I've created a blog category for see-through government so we can keep track of this enormous idea.

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