At last the slowly-grinding gears of the UK’s stunted Freedom Of Information Act (which isn’t a patch on the American one) means we can find out how much our MPs are costing us. The report – in, I warn you, PDF format – is here.
PDF? Why not in Excel spreadsheets, or at least have those as an alternative (or even offer CSV or tab-separated format), since it’s obvious that every journalist and interested constituent is going to want to find out how much their MP is charging for transport and so on? (A sidenote: the car rate of 57p per mile is actually slightly *below* what the AA reckons it costs to run a car, which it puts at 58p per mile upwards.)
But no, PDFs it is, which has meant a fair amount of pain for those trying to work out how to squirt the PDF contents into a spreadsheet, sum the expenses per MP (an oddly missing total, that) and also regex the names from lastname, firstname into firstname lastname (party). Quite a challenge for the average hack more used to asking “Are you going to resign, Minister?”
Still, at least the PDFs weren’t copy-protected. Though given the outcry this is all sure to generate you wonder if next time…