Saturday, April 16, 2011
On 6th January I sent this FoI enquiry to David Cameron.
David Cameron has been reported as promising that "The Government is doing everything it can to drive growth in the UK economy" and "the Government planned to invest in the "industries of the future" such as aerospace, pharmaceuticals and green energy" so unless Mr Cameron has some actual evidence that prizes are less effective than normal grant giving we are going to have an X-Prize foundation.
I am therefore formally asking you what evidence, if any, you have that, on the balance of probability, a prize system would always be a less efficient way of "doing everything" to promote growth than conventional grant giving. If there is no such evidence the above promise clearly commits you to establishing a genuine X-Prize foundation as quickly as can be done to promote aerospace & pharmaceuticals. I would also advise biotech. The Saltire Prize in Scotland is already working for Green industry.The Freedom of Information Act requires that government answer within 20 days. This means working days so normally 28 real days.
I repeated the request on 11th February, 23rd Feb, 24th Feb, 4th March and 11th March before contacting the Information Commissioner's Office asking them to act. They sent the Cabinet Office a letter on 19th March. 28 days later, 14th April I got the reply.
"We do not have a record of receiving your original request....
Your request has been handled under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. This provides the requestor with an access right to recorded information...
We do not hold recorded information in relation to this request.Not any recorded instance of anybody, ever, considering any such innovation regarding prize giving then? In a civil service that writes memos on everything! At least everything they wouldn't be embarrassed to see later.
Last October Cameron promised a strategy of seeing what was needed to achieve growth and doing it
"Ministers will be developing detailed plans to turn this strategy into action. Everything – from bank lending to skills, green tech to high tech, competition to innovation, international trade to local growth – will be put under the microscope. That forensic, relentless focus on growth is what you will get from this government. What I need in return from you is a commitment to create and innovate; to invest and grow; to develop and break boundaries."So there is no record whatsoever of anybody in government actually engaging, at any time, in any smallest part of the "forensic, relentless focus on growth" Cameron promised. Had there been any genuine investigation it would have had to consider the various options and one of those is certainly offering prizes for achievement rather than grants. For the sake of this argument I will ignore the fact that all the known evidence points to prizes being at least 33 to 100 times more effective than conventional spending. The fact is that whatever the evidence if any genuine search of options had been done it would have had to at least look at this option.
No such consideration has ever been made. None whatsoever. We have that on authority.
Therefore there was no trace of honesty in Cameron's promise. None whatsoever.
Therefore there are no circumstances under which any statement of Cameron's can ever be assumed to be truthful or coming from the mouth of somebody who possesses the smallest possible trace of honesty. None whatsoever.
I will now be doing an FoI to the Cabinet Office to determine what proportion of emails, to the best of their knowledge or if necessary estimation, containing FoI requests go missing. The odds that they have not deliberately broken the law by destroying what they describe as "my request" but was actually my 6 requests will be that figure to the power 6. That will be the odds that the Cabinet Office and Cameron have not deliberately broken the law to prevent people knowing what is going on.
I will also be contacting the Science minister, David "two brains" Willett to find out who decided to give absolutely no consideration to the X-Prize concept I was asked to submit to the Space Centre and what reason was given for doing so. Since it would have involved taking money undeniably overwhelmingly wasted by European bureaucrats one reason could be enthusiasm for "ever closer" European bureaucracy. We will seeif there is another reason.
Looking back on it the sole occasion I know of in which Cameron has kept a promise to do something in a speech he made, from the "cast iron" promise of referendum, through the "made me physically sick" promise to do something about the EU giving prisoners votes to the current immigration one, was his leadership promise to take the Conservatives out of their pro-EU group in Brussels. Even that one was delayed and delayed and had to be dragged out of him by those fooled into voting for him.
Even today a politician who is wholly, completely and totally dishonest is clearly unfit for any role in public life or in any remotely honest party.
Perhaps, in comments, somebody can name a single other such promise he has kept. I will send this to Cameron and some of his cabinet and party so if anybody can....