Damian Collins is getting all hot under the collar about people not thinking he’s quite as important as he thinks he is. For Collins wants to make sure that anyone asked to come and give evidence to a Commons committee must do so – at risk of actual and real punishment if they don’t.
To which the correct response is, of course, bugger off matey.
The Zuckerberg issue is easy to explain:
Another snub came from Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive of Facebook. He was invited three times to appear before an inquiry into the effects of fake news on British democracy, but he refused to testify. At least eight parliaments from across the world demanded Zuckerberg give evidence into the committee’s inquiry into fake news and disinformation.
And how many parliaments have demanded that Zuckerberg show up in front of them? There being those 192 countries around the world. Near all of them have a parliament – however rubber stampy – and it would be entirely possible for an executive to spend their entire life turning up to be scolded at. If, that is, an invitation from every parliament were to be something necessary to be done under pain of a criminal offence.
But as to the bugger off it’s not just the empirics of every tinpot legislature being able to demand days of an individual’s time. It’s what such committees actually do once people do arrive to give evidence.
Anyone think that Meg Hillier, or before her Dame Margaret, Lady Hodge, have been using the PAC for actual investigations into the facts of matters? Or rather, for the public display of their own prejudices? And why should they be allowed to command the time of free individuals to do that?