In yet another chilling demonstration of the burgeoning ‘us and them’ culture that has developed in Westminster over recent years, MPs have voted for their home addresses to be kept secret and not made available in the electoral roll. This isn’t finger-pointing at New Labour, since both parties provided plenty of support for the Bill. Clearly those of our elected representatives who voted in favour of the Bill didn’t quite get the irony of the situation where they now have a unique exemption from the public record that facilitated their rise to power.
This is another disturbing example of Westminster’s perceived superiority to the rest of the population, the creation of an ivory tower for those in power. In the minds of some MPs they’re much too important to have their home addresses made available in the public domain (although one would have to visit a council office to look it up – it’s not like they’re published on the Internet). This approach has already been applied to ContactPoint (aka the Children’s Index, the pederasts’ register etc) where the details of the children of ‘public figures’ will be ‘shielded’ from the attentions of the <strike>great unwashed</strike> 330,000 authorised users.
There’s no question that in certain situations, certain individuals should be entitled to a greater degree of privacy than others – criminal witnesses, abused partners, fostered children are all good examples. But when our MPs confuse their own domestic security with some sort of entitlement to ‘us and them’ privacy, it’s a clear indication that we need to reform our elected representatives’ attitudes. Read the voting record, and keep it in mind as and when the next election comes around.