Transparency is not a privilege or a gift bequeathed to a grateful citizenry by a benign government. It is a fundamental right of a free people to be able to see and scrutinise the decisions made on their behalf. That message has failed to get through to the government of Boris Johnson, which seems hellbent on making it harder. This is not only a disgrace, but a mistake.
We report today on a unit within the Cabinet Office. Known as the freedom of information “clearing house”, it is believed to run a watchlist, or perhaps a blacklist, of journalists from publications, including this one, to identify freedom of information requests which may be deemed sensitive and then advise departments as to how best frustrate them.