Friday, 22 June 2012

Hush now baby don’t you cry…

JOURNALISTS were today seen openly weeping over their keyboards, news editors punched walls and headline writers were losing sleep – all because the Assembly is considering a secrecy law.

Yep, the Assembly is considering a proposal to make it a duty of MLAs to respect confidentiality, otherwise known as a ‘shut the hell up’ duty.

Prompted by the leaks over NI Water and other reports also ending up on desks of journalists, MLAs could be asked to sign – in blood hopefully – a confidentiality clause. This would mean that the days of journos carousing around newsrooms after seeing the latest leaked document will be over.

No more will MLAs struck by their conscience at seeing another cock-up, hand the dirty files of corruption and mismanagement over to be exposed in the cruel gaze of the general public.

Instead the executive departments will be able to sanitise the reports, redact the key points and protect ministers, party colleagues, civil servants, public servants and others from the spiteful spotlight of public disapproval.

There, is of course, an upside to all this. It might dry up the shock jockeys prompting the great unwashed to ring their radio shows with ignorant rants about them folks up on the hill.

Ministers will able to carry out their business in quiet discussion, while committee meetings will increasingly be in private. MLAs will able to do their deals and their horse trading in the safe knowledge that wrongdoing, mismanagement and poor administration can dealt with on the quiet, before stepping into the public and enjoining in the usual tribal slagging matches.