The battle may be won but the war carries on
It was reported yesterday that Jack Straw will today drop clause 152 of the coroners and justice bill. This clause amends the Data Protection Act to turn it into a government data-trafficking charter.
If true, no doubt this will be presented as a magnanimous realisation that the public and parliament needs further reassurance that “their aim is good“. Really it would be a victory for those of us who have furiously lobbied MPs and peers over the past couple of months about the ministry of justice’s mendacious presentation of profound changes in government power as a bit of administrative tidying up.
Don’t hold your breath, though. Even if part eight of this bill is dropped completely, as rumoured (slyly punishing the Information Commissionerfor dissent on data sharing by losing the improvements to his powers at the same time), information sharing will be back. It is at the core of current administrative fashion, and the cult of transformational government is still very much in charge at the cabinet office.