Consider, for example, the of diplomatic cables. My guess is that our own FCO would be far readier to stand up for Britain if it didn’t have the option of secrecy. Successive generations of diplomats have pursued deeper European integration, more or less regardless of the wishes of their elected bosses. At Brussels summits, the talk is often of how to ensure that the next EU treaty will not trigger any referendums. Would officials talk this way if they were subject to Freedom of Information rules? Perhaps, for all rules can be circumvented. But they would find it that much harder.

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