If reading about the activities of the royal family is one of your favorite pass-times, then this new bit of legislation might change all of that forever. A controversial bit of legislation has now been passed that draws a veil of secrecy over the entire royal family making emails, letters, and all messages regarding them entirely private. The timing of this legislation has raised many hackles and more than a few eyebrows.
“Absolute protection” is being given to the Royal Family to ensure that their affairs, quotes, and all information about them becomes entirely private. No longer can the Freedom of Information Act elicit any response in regards to money, personal messages, and political maneuvers that once would have been a matter of public record. This latest move toward secrecy is only the latest in a series of sweeping changes that is being mimicked all over the world. But why the secrecy? And why now?
The fact that the messages are to be kept secret even if they are a matter of direct public interest is certainly not lost on a public that once enjoyed unparalleled disclosure of the Royal Family’s affairs. And while parallels to George Orwell’s 1984 is always questionable to a certain degree, the use of doublespeak has been thoroughly noted in this piece of legislation which was listed as “opening up public bodies to public scrutiny” but in fact did quite the opposite. A bill described using the words, “Opening up public bodies to public scrutiny” should in theory allow for the proliferation of pertinent information about public figures in the British government to allow for a more informed public. But in fact this piece of legislation did quite the opposite, instead giving the Royal Family complete control over what information the public was allowed to see.
However, proponents of the bill suggest that it is in fact beneficial to the people because it allows the royal family to exercise its independence. The very purpose of a constitutional Monarchy, says experts such as Professor Vernon Bogdanor, research professor at King’s College London when he was interviewed by the Independent, is to allow the monarch to have relative political independence. And that independence is only assured if they can act with a level of anonymity.
But others are calling the move a savage return to ideologies that the United Kingdom evolved past long ago. They suggest that this is a time when trust should be built between the public and those in charge.
Of course the UK isn’t the only nation currently fighting for government transparency. When people are turning to sites like Wikileaks to reveal information about the world around them and the world’s major news media are being blasted by critics for not challenging status quo opinion, it’s clear the world wants voices outside of the mainstream that allow them to make their own decisions. The question is, will they be able to find it?