The Prime Minister wined and dined celebrities at the taxpayer’s expense at his country residence, Chequers. Guests included Esther Rantzen, Trevor Brooking, Elton John and Des O'Connor
Although you might also feel a little sorry for him. At least they have all just about earned their celebrity status, at least compared to some "celebrities" these days. But that's a rant for another time.
The tidbit above comes from the Times under article entitled 59 things that would have stayed secret. As I understand it the Government are moving to restrict the already partly restricted, if I read my Private Eye correctly, Freedom of Information act and the information above would fall under the new restrictions. It seems in our "Information Age" information is the last thing the Governments wants us to have, even trivial things:
Humphrey, the Downing Street cat who mysteriously disappeared in 1997, had not been put down but had been sent to "a stable home environment where he can be looked after properly"
Of course, in with trivial are things that make the Government look bad and certain oddities that Blair, or whoever, feels a little embarrassed about:
Tony Blair spent nearly £2,000 of taxpayers' money on cosmetics over six years
You have to believe, though, that having this stuff out in the open is infinitely preferable to having it hidden away under some misguided idea of the public good.
The Freedom of Information Act has been enthusiastically embraced by the public, with 121,000 requests a year, costing £35.5 million. The Government has estimated that the changes will result in a 19 per cent drop in requests.
So the Government saves £7million and some face, but the real cost is, yet again, a small but significant freedom.