The Easter Bank Holiday is nearly upon us and I seem to have 'gate fever'. I just can't find the energy or enthusiasm to write much today. Something doesn't feel right about my internet writing experience of late and I think it's because things seem to have changed, and as most of my regular readers will know by now, I don't like change.
The more I think about it, much of the stimulus for this blog has been sparked by the work of others, but it's drying up for a variety of reasons. I'm seriously missing Gadget. Apart from his often deliberately mischievous writing, his blog provided a vibrant platform for comment and discussion on many topical matters in the field of social and criminal justice policy. I find the silence both deafening and disturbing, knowing as we do that it must have been extinguished by order.
I hope Bystander will forgive my saying that his blog is just not quite the same as it was in terms of range, frequency and content prior to heavy pressure being applied by Higher Judicial Authority. Many probation commentators and tweeters have been outrageously scared-off on the orders of Chris Grayling and even good old reliable Ben Gunn seems to be loosing interest in blogging since discovering the seductive delights of twitter.
Even as I'm writing this, I can hear a voice saying that by it's very nature the internet will relentlessly throw up vibrant new talent with interesting things to say and in the process ruthlessly cast aside those that may have had their time. The still relatively-new Guerilla Policy blogsite is a good example of this and it's certainly opened my eyes to interesting stuff being written by lots of people I was blissfully unaware of.
Part of my problem is I'm finding it very hard indeed to reconcile the new wave of 'openess and transparency' being espoused by government with quite blatant bullying of people who dare to tell stories that are 'off message'. The situation is becoming somewhat surreal I feel with the recent announcement of a legal obligation of 'candour' within the NHS. WTF does that mean exactly?!
I remember thinking it was barmy when David Cameron announced in Parliament a few months ago that energy companies were going to be forced to limit the number of confusing tariffs on offer and ensure everyone was on the best tariff for them. How is that going to work in a capitalist market economy where the need for profit dictates that some of the people have to be misled some of the time? Isn't that what advertising and marketing is predicated on under a capitalist system?
What's supposed to happen if this astonishing concept of a 'duty of candour' spreads? Are politicians going to be required to tell the truth? Will the likes of Waitrose have to point out how much cheaper Asda is? Will the hospital consultant have to point out the very poor infection history of their operating theatre? Surely it's all so much cobblers!
Have a good Easter and sign the No10 petition here. It should top 20,000 this weekend.