If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear.**
But it appears that the vast majority of MSPs from every party in the Scots parliament have plenty to hide – and lots to fear – from freedom of information.
Because – with a handful of exceptions from the Labour party and the SNP (including a Scot-Govt minister) – masses of MSPs have refused to voluntarily release their recent diary appointments and meetings carried out in the line of their public service.
They correctly claim that they are not subject to the Freedom of Information legislation which requires disclosure of legitimate public information in the public interest from ‘public bodies’
But this still leaves them free to disclose their diary engagements (on a six-monthly-passed basis) – as happens with members of the European Parliament – on a voluntary basis in accord with the guiding principles of ethical behaviour in Scottish public life, such as transparency and accountability.
This is clearly evidenced by this extract Lobbying Log from Tory MEP Malcolm Wickes, who voluntarily publishes details of names, dates, and types of organisations he has held meetings with as part of his public life.
And every person/ organisation who turns up to meet in person with an MSP in Holyrood has to be identified, recorded and notified in advanced to the parliamentary clerk.
So there is in fact a register of visitors who have been received by Holyrood MSPs in parliament.
Scottish Energy News has now required the chief clerk to provide (public) information from this (public) register of visitors under the requirements of the Freedom of Information legislation.
Scottish Energy News – which is banned from entry to the Scottish Parliament which persists in refusing to recognise SEN as a bona fide media company and permit entrance to this public building – has made this request in context of this undemocratic Scottish Parliament ban. See also: –
Incidentally, regular publication of such ‘Holyrood lobbying logs’ from MSP diaries would undermine the entire raison d’etre of the recently passed legislation to create another quango to register commercial lobbyists and to record and disclose similar data of such meetings.
Under the statutory deadline, this information is due to be disclosed by 7 December 2016.
NB: Scottish Energy News welcomes expressions of interest from other media who may be interested in co-publishing The Secret Holyrood Diaries
** The origin of this aphorism is unclear but the saying has been attributed to Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda minister, who was later tried for war crimes before committing suicide.