Though WhatDoTheyKnow.com, a ‘small digital charity’, may be as it claims, acting ‘as critical friends to institutions of power’, and trying to ‘make change in the world by building things on the web that show how the world could be better’, in its questions of UK government departments or of the corporations. However, there is contrasting evidence that it, through a few covert partisan volunteers, has been operating in the interests of the UK State and British Nationalist parties in Scotland and against those of the SNP and the Scottish Government.
Remember these requests merely add to the enormous number of Holyrood Committee questions posed openly by the British parties in Scotland and used to feed our MSM:
Lib Dems providing seasonal ferret cover at BBC Scotland and STV
The full set of FOI requests made by WhatDoTheyKnow.com, of the Scottish Government, can be seen here:
Readers will note, in only these few recent examples, the potential of these requests for our ‘MSM’ to be able to use the answers in pursuing their agendas.
The First Minister stated on her Twitter feed in August 2018: “In this case, unlike in some previous cases, the investigation into complaints about Alex Salmond has not been conducted by the SNP and no complaints have been received by the party.” What previous cases does she refer to, and how were these complaints brought to her attention?
I note that today the First Minister stated that “the answer to Brexit was for Scotland to become an independent country”. Could you provide details of any economic impact assessments that have been carried out that show how Scotland would be effected by leaving the EU and the UK at the same time . Please note that this is not specific to the EU referendum but also includes analysis carried out for the Scottish Independence Referendum.
The case of DeeAnn Fitzpatrick received widespread media interest in May 2018. Her case drew swift condemnation from social media users and members of the nation’s highest office.The first minister asked the permanent secretary to conduct a full review of the circumstances of the case – including to ensure that there is a positive working culture in Marine Scotland. When will this review of this case be completed and made public?
Walter James Wolffe QC is a senior Scottish lawyer who has served as Lord Advocate since 1st June 2016. He was appointed by the current First Minister. Since his appointment, has Lord Wolffe been consulted by the SNP in a separate capacity other than as Lord Advocate to the Scottish government? If this was indeed the case, please provide full and complete records on when and on what basis these consultations took place.
Scotland’s 32 councils have managed budgets well over the last year but face a difficult time ahead, says the Accounts Commission. One of the most significant issues for councils continues to be resources. In 2017/18, funding from the Scottish Government reduced by 2.3 per cent in real terms. Will you provide full details of the funds from Barnett paid by Westminster, but withheld from councils by the Scottish Government during the period 2017/18.
What measures are put in place and protected in order that all politicians and including the 1st minister remains accountable to the public and who is responsible for keeping this accountability in check.
Please provide a list of all loans made to third parties by the Scottish Government for amounts in excess of £1.5m in the period 1 January 2016 to 17 August 2018. Please exclude loans made to other government agencies.
Perhaps readers can further enlighten us on this topic?
Definitely fishing expeditions being launched here. Perhaps we should do the same to the opposition. After all what’s good for the goose etc.
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You will find zero as they have no opinions of their own
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Can you FOI the opposition parties?
Sounds like Kev the Dug food salesman and graphist extraordinaire
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It is interesting Andrew Macmillans name appears in the FOI requests under Whatdotheyknow.com as this name is also used by a unionist poster in the Herald. Coincidence?
Hi John – I noticed the name ‘Richard Murphy’ amongst the FOI question brigade and I recall the ‘real’ Richard Murphy author of ‘The Joy of Tax’ having to put up an ‘explainer’ that there was a different ‘Richard Murphy ‘ very active on twitter who was taking rather different views than the good Prof. Murphy.
I’m suspecting this isn’t a BritNat device as such – but merely a piece of potentially useful (for all of society) ‘open source’ platform which the SIU green ink crew have colonised. Is it associated with the Westminster scrutiny platform theyworkforyou.com I wonder?
In their blog I noticed this info which I found interesting:
Members of Parliament may also use FOI to survey a large number of public authorities and gather statistics to support campaigns or an issue they’re working on.
We don’t know if members of the Scottish Parliament have more of an appetite for this than the UK one, but a quick search showed several using FOI to good effect. Lothian MSP Kezia Dugdale surveyed residential units to see stats on vulnerable children going missing; Murdo Fraser accessed delay repayments figures from Scotrail; Mark Griffin discovered that council tax exemptions weren’t being utilised; and Monica Lennon uncovered the lack of sanitary product strategies across Scotland’s health boards.
That said, there are several UK MPs past and present who have made use of WhatDoTheyKnow, including the office of Diane Abbott and Dr Phillip Lee. There may well be others who prefer to use a pseudonym.
Funding to date
We should acknowledge the funding which has allowed us to run thus far, and for which we are of course very grateful. A grant from the Joseph Rowntree Trust originally got WhatDoTheyKnow off the ground; Google’s Digital News Initiative supported the development of Alaveteli Professional, and unrestricted support from a number of funders ensured that mySociety has been able to continue paying their developers to work on the project. It’s perhaps worth noting that this support has, to date, always sustained development rather than administration.
We do have a revenue stream through WhatDoTheyKnow Pro, our FOI service for professionals such as journalists, but as yet this is very modest. As the service develops, we hope that this may one day become part of the framework that helps sustain WhatDoTheyKnow, but we’re some way from that at this point in time.
It is perhaps a vehicle that Indy supporting, progressive ideas supporting individuals /organisations should investigate to assist our own info gathering/dispersing efforts?
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