Freesteel Blog » Show Us The Better Money

Show Us The Better Money

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008 at 3:26 pm Written by:

Big news!

The Government is beginning to support its unique citizen-grown movement of… making new web-pages of data that they have managed to present so badly that any kid who knows javascript could do better at.

As reported on the BBC (with practically invisible links to the web-page the story is about hidden in the right hand side panel — rather than in the text of the article), Tom Watson, the first government minister to understand what a blog is for, announces a whole £20,000, yes, that’s a

£20,000 prize fund

“to develop the best ideas to the next level”.

Now, I’ve got the sort of track record of winning prizes and influencing people that means my effort is far better spent elsewhere on projects that are already done yet continue to be ignored. Someone who knows he’s cool can use the (can you believe it! Yet another URL domain here — what’s wrong with using the domain for everything, including for that new blog?).

So while I resist the temptation of filling in their entry-form, I can certainly pass comments about the recommended information sources.

The first site is the neighbourhood stats from the Office of National Statistics. Put in your postcode, and see lots of results for various gerrymandered shapes of the districts you are in. This is what I get for where I live:

Explains how I afford it on my small income, doesn’t it?

Apart from that, the website is quite excellent, all things considered. You’re not going to hack something up to better in less than a year. Maybe the team behind it should run a blog documenting the features they are shovelling in, and allow for comments and discussions with them about it. I mean these extra-ordinary communication barriers between the communities (civil servants vs. the public) ought to be broken down. A good place to start is with UI matters relating to these technical web-pages. And that’s my best recommendation for today: the ONS needs to blog about their website features.

Next up: the NHS healthcare data where they keep a lot of information that has had a long history of being absolutely essential for epidemiological studies. Because of the proven high value of this data, the government has already given it all away wholesale along with millions of pounds to Dr Foster Holdings so that some businessmen can get rich by keeping the matter out of public control while obstructing the public interest. Rather like our railway system, isn’t it?

What’s next? The London Gazette (wot’s that?), edubase, the OS, and something about carbon footprint information, which is the most important thing in the world today and in the future — but who cares? Have I told you about my carbon footprint research projects reported here and here?

So Where Is The Money?

Actually, even though the entire country and every single private sector policy decision (such as the no-brainer practice of corporations providing bogus technical advice to the government on how to commission billion pound software projects so that they are guaranteed to fail and create huge profits) is driven by money. This vital fictitious substance doesn’t feature anywhere at all. It’s none of your business. It’s commercially confidential. Because we’re making money out of it, you’re not allowed to know!

In the United States — one of the most insanely corrupt legislatures in the world — the data is not confidential. They put it all on a website.

When the same idea was introduced here by Baroness Noakes, only 20 MPs showed up for the vote. This means it didn’t make quorum. Tom Watson wasn’t there, because he obviously doesn’t think that the government financial expenditures are an important source of data for the public to have access to.

What he did show up to were all seven votes directed towards exempting himself and his fellow MPs from the Freedom of Information Act.

Friends, don’t be distracted. The money is what matters. The pursuit of it by guys who mix socially with the elite, and wannabe up there jet-setting in the stratosphere of the super-rich elite, is at the hollow core of the British state. Greed is as institutionalized as laundering black propaganda from the United States government. And don’t you forget it.

Hang on… I think I’ve got a proposal to Show Them A Better Way. I’ll just put it in and see if it gets on their web-page.


  • 1. aidan replies at 3rd July 2008, 12:31 pm :

    Was at the 2gether event in london today and asked Tom Watson would the Gov release OS data freely to uk citizens. He prevaricated but in coded language said NO not yet – traaded fund and treasury in the way.

  • 2. Julian replies at 7th July 2008, 12:04 pm :

    I got told in person to revise my original submission (which was deleted without comment) called “Civil Service Revolving Door”.

    It’s now rewritten as Civil Service Business Code

    Many of the phrases are lifted directly from the Civil Service code in which the purpose of prevention of corruption is never mentioned, and so is not implemented. That’s because there is no corruption. There’s only ever the unfair suspicion of corruption.

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