Saturday, 5 November 2011

Barnet Council - hands off Mr Mustard!

Barnet councillor Daniel Thomas recently made some disparaging comments about blogger Mr Mustard's use of Freedom Of Information requests, to a news website

Mr Mustard has been defending his name against the insinuation that he is wasting council tax payers' money, and asked Cllr Thomas to justify his claims. Here is Mr Mustard's account of progress so far.

Now the Barnet Eye blog has discovered - through a FOI request - that Barnet council complained about Mr Mustard to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO). The ICO has cleared Mr Mustard:
...the information he is using appears to be information which is in the public domain (and, in some cases, was put in the public domain by the people he is writing about). It is clear that he has a low opinion of the Council employees he is blogging about, but he is ultimately entitled to express those opinions without breaching the DPA [Data Protection Act]. Of course, if the published statements constitute libel or harassment then the individual affected is entitled to take action along these lines. The DPA would not be the appropriate piece of legislation to use in these circumstances.
In short, Mr Mustard has been expressing his opinion about matters of public record. Whoever has gone complaining to the ICO - we're not sure who it is - is simply looking for means to restrict his freedom of speech. In fact, in this instance, to get the strong arm of the state to intervene to shut down his blog or at least to neuter it.

That's what Barnet council top brass don't like: scrutiny. The surest way to guarantee that they get more of it is to try to attack Barnet's blogging community! Barnet Council - hands off Mr Mustard! An injury to one is an injury to all!


Mrs Angry said...

yes: hands off our Mr Mustard you big bullies ... and while you are at it, Barnet Council do try and gain some sort of understanding of the the principles of liberty, free speech, and probity in public office. Thank you.

baarnett said...

Mrs A: 'Probity in public office' has a value to the public;

therefore it has an exchange value;

therefore they have sold it off.

Mr Mustard said...

Thank you for your support comrade.