Gordon Brown has turned to web pioneer Tim Berners-Lee as he struggles to take control of the expenses scandal that has rocked his government for what feels like years already.
Brown and the rest of Parliament is getting ready for its summer holidays so in the midst of scurrying around looking for passports and toothbrushes he has somehow found the time to come up with the idea of publishing all MPs' expense claims online - in the next few days. It is thought that by making MPs more accountable in this way they may stop claiming for things like funeral wreaths and duck habitats.
Doing anything in the 'next few days' doesn't sound like a good idea to us. It has the ring of a rush around it and given the sensitivity of the information involved it really ought to come with the sort of protection that Danielle Lloyd rolls with these days. And that is likely to take a bit more time than the quoted few days.
Unlike the old system, the fact that this one is online will make it open to abuse from both internal and external sources, whether that's admin staff accidentally leaving a USB stick containing expenses details on the train, or attackers trying to hack into the system. And given that the old system couldn't cope with internal abuse we can't help but worry how it will handle a nation full of disgruntled voters and a million sweaty keyboards.
Anyway, like most government backed online initiatives it is bound to run years over schedule, cost billions, and then fall over due to demand on launch - maybe they could use an extra few days to actually make sure that it works.
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