Documents are the lifeblood of historians: they provide the bricks to build our understanding of the past. Making government records publicly available is an essential part of any democracy. However, the means by which researchers gain access to many documents, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), is being systematically undermined. The government claims that it is costly to administer and limits the work of ministerial departments. The Freedom of Information Commission, appointed last year by the government to review the FOIA’s workings, recently rejected a proposal to charge for requests. Nevertheless, the implementation of the act leaves a lot to be desired.
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'And there in the evening the bride and the gamekeeper
Wait with their faces averted, wait
For the signal to shift and the lamp to glow red
And a train to arrive, but not yet and not yet.'
'It Says Here', from Sean O'Brien's upcoming collection.
Everyone must have been queueing up to review the new Craig Brown Beatles book, which is obviously brilliant – but kudos to @Lit_Review and @DrDominicGreen for conspiring to bring us this bravura reviewing performance (free to read)