.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Politics for sale?

Whatever the outcome of Nick Clegg's renewed initiative on the funding of political parties, it is unlikely that enough agreement will be reached between the main protaganists so as to entirely eliminate the suspicion of foul-play.

This is best illustrated by today's Telegraph, which has made itself a bit of a specialist on this issue, when they report on the views of the Parliamentary Standards watchdog that wealthy donors appear to be buying Government policy by securing “preferential” access to ministers and senior politicians.

Nobody should pretend that this is an exclusively Conservative problem. The same concerns were around under Labour. Every party woos top level donors by giving them some sort of access to influential figures at some level or another.

Sir Christopher Kelly is absolutely right to say that the perceived influence of rich businessmen over politicians is undermining public trust in Westminster.

He points out that successive governments have faced scandals over allegations that donors are buying power, from “cash for honours” under Labour to concerns about the influence of City financiers over the Conservatives:

All three main political parties run donors’ clubs, under which wealthy people willing to make minimum donations of, for example, £50,000 can buy access to senior politicians at private dinners and meetings. Sir Christopher says people are right to be suspicious of the motives of anyone who donates more than £100,000 to a party.

“There have been sufficient allegations in the past of people receiving honours, or policies being influenced, for people to think there is no smoke without fire,” he said.

“Whether it [influencing policy by donors] happens or not, the public clearly believe that it happens. There is a risk of it happening and, more importantly, there is a public perception that it does happen. That perception by itself is so important in terms of the confidence and integrity of the way that important decisions are taken that it seems to me it needs to be addressed.”

Sir Christopher said party donations should be capped at £10,000 and state funding increased to remove the taint of corruption.

The question is, can Clegg get sufficient agreement so as to restore some of that trust without creating the other problem of the level public funding being perceived as inappropriate in a time of austerity?
Regaining trust is so much more difficult than losing it. I support a 10k cap but that in itself won't alter people's perceptions. 10k is still beyond the bounds of what most people could ever imagine donating for anything.
Great Timing Peter on the day that.
Multi-millionaire fraudster and Liberal Democrat donor Michael Brown has been arrested in the Dominican R
He donated about £2.4 million to the Lib Dems ahead of the 2005 general election - its largest donation to date.

Which your Party have refused to pay back.

Would.t that be the right action considering what you've just commented on.
Yes, because successive investigations by the Electoral Commission and the Police have found that the party acted properly at all times and did no wrong. Furthermore, nothing was ever offered to Michael Brown in return for his money. The standards commissioner's remarks therefore do not apply either. The link made by yourself and the Telegraph is totally superfluous and irrelevant.
No public money should be given to political parties, period.

Paties should only recieve monies from membership subscriptions, and monies raised by members.

Why should someone who might be a labour supporter pay for the conservatives campaign's?

Candidates should fund their own campaign's.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?