Nuts & Bolts #8 – Here Be [Redacted]

N&B#8 - Here Be [Redacted]

I know Tolkien once quipped that one should never laugh at live dragons – and unless you’re a Dovahkiin I’d err on the side of caution and not laugh at a dead one either – but I could not help but be amused by a recent Inside Housing article featuring some of the more outlandish Freedom of Information Act requests received by local authorities. Alongside enquiries into frozen animals in Cambridge and potential asteroid assaults in Worthing, someone has requested to know Wigan Council’s plans in case of dragon attack.

The unknown requester needn’t have worried, of course – Wigan is well known for its league of warriors (who, trade representatives will be horrified to learn, are not part of a union.) If all else fails I’m sure Ray Winstone would help (he gets very, ahem, animated when it comes to dragons.) No-one tell Steve Emerson, though – Bahamut knows what he’d make of this.

We may never know what Wigan Council have planned in case of dragon attack; the request did not receive a full response, which is understandable – terrifying as dragons may be the one terrifying quality they do not possess, as David Whiteland points out, is that of existence.

What is both real and terrifying, however, is the proposed extension of the government’s Right to Buy policy to housing associations. A FOIA request was made for a secret analysis document…erm, documenting the financial modelling of the policy, but the DCLG declined its release. The reason? The analysis ‘relates to a live policy in the sense that its development and impact are still being reviewed’; ministers needed ‘private space’ to evaluate it.

The fact that housing associations – you know, the organisations this policy would impact – would like to review the development and impact of this policy too seems to have been lost on the DCLG…as does the irony (or should that be hypocrisy?) of government proposals to extend the FOIA to housing associations.

Do as I say, not as I do, and all that. At least we can all head to Bristol in case of zombie apocalypse

References

Birmingham is ‘totally Muslim’ city, claims Fox News pundit, The Guardian, Online: http://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/jan/11/fox-news-steven-emerson-birmingham-muslims, Available: May 2015

DCLG bars release of Right to Buy analysis, Inside Housing, Online: http://www.insidehousing.co.uk/policy/politics/central-government/dclg-bars-release-of-right-to-buy-analysis/7009748.article, Available: May 2015

Pickles hints at FOIA extension to housing associations, Inside Housing, Online: http://m.insidehousing.co.uk/pickles-hints-at-foia-extension-to-housing-associations/7009505.article, Available: May 2015

Preparation for the Zombie Apocalypse, What Do They Know?, Online: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/preparation_for_the_zombie_apoca, Available: May 2015

The cost of information, Inside Housing, Online: http://www.insidehousing.co.uk/policy/politics/central-government/the-cost-of-information/7009530.article, Available: May 2015

Art (ahem…) copyright of Neil Jackson, 18/05/2015

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