Skip to main content

Brown taken to Secrets Watchdog

The Treasury Macroeconomic Modelling team have finally decided that they won't give me a copy of the assumptions file for the 2005 budget. Hence I am taking Gordon Brown to the Information Commissioner.

Press release is as follows:
John Hemming MP has reported the Chancellor to the Secrets Watchdog for his failure to reveal budget calculations. John Hemming MP, a computer specialist, has hacked in to the Treasury's Economic Modelling Computer System. He has been told, however, that the calculations for the Budget are secret. He has therefore taken the Chancellor to the Secrets Watchdog (Information Commissioner) to get him to reveal his workings.

"When people do maths exams," he said, "they are supposed to provide the workings. The Civil Servants in the Treasury, however, are saying that their calculations are secret. I think they are wrong under the Freedom of Information act. What have they got to hide?"

The Treasury Macroeconomic Model computer system, used by Gordon Brown to create the 2005 Budget has been obtained by John Hemming MP. Mr. Brown makes assumptions about the economy and puts these into the Model as inputs. The model then creates an output: a picture of the British economy that Mr. Brown used to create his 2005 Budget.

Until John Hemming made a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, no one had bothered to analyse the inputs that Gordon Brown fed into his model; commentators on the budget had concentrated on what the Model churned out. These vitally important inputs describe the economic environment that Mr. Brown thinks he is working in. It includes, for instance, his assumptions about oil prices over the course of the year. He may have got this right; but he may also have got this wrong. If Mr. Brown is only slightly out in these assumptions, his whole 2005 Budget falls to pieces.

Gordon Brown has refused to give John Hemming these assumptions, because he thinks that it “would in future inhibit officials/experts in providing sufficiently free and frank advice”. John Hemming says, “I have a mandate from my constituents in Birmingham Yardley to hold this government to account. How am I to do my job if Mr. Brown plays hide-and-seek with his figures?”

Comments

Martin Young said…
"...has hacked in to..."

Pardon? Is that hyperbole or just illegal?
john said…
Oddly enough some Hacking is legal. Hence a "programming exploit" can be entirely legal. It can also be Hyperbole. It was, however, not illegal.
john said…
Oddly enough some Hacking is legal. Hence a "programming exploit" can be entirely legal. It can also be Hyperbole. It was, however, not illegal.

Popular posts from this blog

Homelessness vs Selling Books

Candidates in elections tend to find themselves very busy with lots of things to do.  It is, therefore, necessary to prioritise things to ensure that the important things are dealt with.

To me the issue of homelessness and rough sleeping is an important issue.  Therefore, when Birmingham's Faith Leaders group contacted me to ask me what I would propose and whether I would work with them to make things better I was pleased to respond with my views and indicate that I would work with them after the election.

The Faith Leaders Group (Bishops and other religious leaders in Birmingham) have now sent out their report.

Sadly, according to their report,  I was the only candidate for Yardley to respond.  The group in their report said:

"Particularly disappointing was the lack of response from some of those candidates seeking re-election as MP for their respective constituencies."
It is worth looking at the priorities of my opponent.
Interestingly today she has decided to be at th…

Millionaires and politics

The Labour Party spent most of the last election criticising me for being a successful businessman (aka millionaire). That is business in the private sector employing over 250 people. It is worth looking at the situation for the Labour Candidate now:

For the year 2016-7 Annual Income from Parliament74,962Specifically for her book51,250Other media income etc5,322.82Total declared income131,534.82

Traditionally anyone with an annual income of over £100,000 has been considered to be a millionaire. I did not use my position in parliament to increase my income.


I have been asked for sources for this. This BBC piece looks at how one should define rich. It was written in 2011 so the figures will be slightly out of date. There are perhaps 2 relevant pieces:
"In 1880 a rich person would have had £100,000 in assets or an income of £10,000 a year, he says. About a hundred people a year died leaving £100,000 and by 1910 this was 250 - "a microscopic fraction of the number of death…

The Labour Candidate's Book Promotion Tour and Why It Matters

In the 2015 General Election the Labour Candidate criticised John Hemming for having an external interest and made a pledge that she would be a "Full Time MP for Yardley and my only other job will be mom & carer ...".  Here is a copy of that pledge:


Since that point she has been working on paid Television Programmes and has also written a book. John Hemming has made no secret of the fact that he chairs the board of the company he founded in 1983. This involves one meeting a month. When he was the MP for Yardley he was a full time MP and the Job of being MP for Yardley came first. The Labour candidate has reported 1,274 hours of work other than being an MP in the two years she has been elected and her income in the last year was over £131,000.

Ignoring the question as to how she reconciles that with her "pledge" the question is raised as to what extent her external activity conflicts with the role of Member of Parliament for Yardley. She is supposed to de…