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Why George Osborne Is Wrong - the Case for Less Transparency

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I was reminded this week of the joke about the Bishop who is caught sunbathing nude and reacts by putting his towel over his head rather than over his private parts. On being challenged on why he has done this, he replies "people normally recognise me by my face".

The experience that brought this to mind was an early morning walk with the Pickwick pooch, Dudley before Mrs Pickwick and I left for the day and Dudley had the run of the house for his regular campaign of shock and awe. After covering the usual distance, Dudley assumed the position to make his regular deposit on my neighbour's green and pleasant land. I waited, relieved that the darkness covered the extent of Dudley's travails.

And as I waited, I caught sight of the naked mid-section of the neighbour framed in the bathroom window with the top part of the body cut off by the blind and the bottom part cut off by the sink. The existence of the frame and the fact that I did not have my glasses on rendered it impossible to identify the sex of the person in the frame.

Dudley had to apply more than his normal concentration that day to produce his daily emission owing to him having consumed more fibre than normal (viz. a sock) causing me to evaluate the sight in greater detail. I felt it unlikely that I could be cautioned for loitering given my blindness and the fact that Dudley was clearly well advanced in his task. And as I considered the scene, the sex was no clearer to me. I felt it was female given the length of time it was spending in front of the bathroom basin, the male of the species being less fussy with a greater propensity for spillage.

Having collected Dudley's work and congratulated him on his work whilst he pushed leaves at me in a random fashion in a misguided attempt to cover his tracks, I ventured closer to the window before discretion got the better of me closely followed by the acknowledgement that I was still blind.

Elsewhere in my village, there is a woman who can often be found going about her business naked in the front rooms of her ground floor flat. The common element of this story is of course Dudley who has a favoured patch of grass in front of her kitchen, from which he catches up on all of the comings and goings of those who have gone before.

This is a regular occurrence in Cameron's Britain if the places I have lived are anything to go by.

In the pleasant Surrey town where Mrs Pickwick and I used to live, such sights were frequent. I cycled from my house to the station to join the daily trek to office desk and back for two years. During the winter months, the sight of my neighbours having their morning oblutions was such a regular occurrence that I longed for a discount curtain shop to open up in the town to enable a greater degree of non-disclosure to be made.

From my careful examination of the subjects in question, I came to the conclusion that frosted glass is not enough. In a bathroom full of halogen lamps, the subject merely turns into a less appealing version of Dita Von Teese.

There was danger in this as well. On one particularly early morning, I ventured out of my back gate on my bike to get the first train of the day. As I accelerated, the front light of one of the neighbouring houses went on and I saw the wife of the town's decorator walk nonchalantly across the room without a stitch of clothing on. This sight temporarily paralysed me forcing me to cycle into the back of a builder's van. Regrettably, a passer-by witnessed my accident and announced playfully "I saw that van come out in front of you".

I could never look at the decorator's wife again from that day forward.

Which brings me back to George Osborne. He announced in his 2012 Autumn statement that "We're turning Britain into the most open and transparent and country on earth". This has put a shiver down my spine because within the leafy shires of Britain, there is already a considerable disclosure movement.

And I can tell you, it is morally repugnant, particularly what that woman in number 12 gets up to.