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

Tuesday, September 01, 2020

Tory threat to the regulation of our democracy

Having blogged on Sunday with reference to Peter Geoghegan’s book, Democracy for Sale, I was only partly surprised to see the headline in today's Guardian claiming that the Tory's have ambitions to scrap the Electoral Commission.

I am no fan of the Electoral Commission. In my experience they are weak, incompetent and not fit for purpose. But that is an argument to reform and strengthen them not scrap them all together.

Peter Geoghegan talks about the manipulation of our democracy by right wing thinktanks and social media, and makes the case to reform regulation to restore a level playing field. Many Tories however, would like to maintain this status quo and do not want a rejuvenated Electoral Commission to get in their way.

As the paper says, the commission regulates political donations, spending and other areas, and has the power to undertake its own investigations, and fine parties and officials for breaches of the rules, although more serious matters are passed to police. The government’s advisory body the Committee on Standards in Public Life is currently holding a review of electoral regulation:

In a submission to the process, the Conservatives said the commission should not be given new powers of prosecution, saying this would bring “too many conflicts of interest”.

Writing in the Telegraph, [Conservative Co-Chair, Amanda] Milling argued that the body should accept more outside scrutiny or be disbanded: “If the Electoral Commission fails to make these changes and do the job it was set up to do then the only option would be to abolish it.”

The commission is viewed with suspicion by some Conservative MPs who believe it has unfairly targeted pro-Brexit groups, such as with its decision to fine the campaigner Darren Grimes £20,000 for electoral spending offences in the 2016 referendum. This was overturned by a court appeal.

This is far from a concrete proposal at present but one can see the way things are going. As Labour’s shadow Cabinet Office minister, says: “Removing the Electoral Commission is just one part of a concerted strategy by the Tories to remove scrutiny and proper accountability,” she said. “Without the Electoral Commission, no one could prevent the Tories from introducing policies that fundamentally make it harder for people to vote, such as mandatory Voter ID."

And of course it will stop in its tracks any attempt to investigate links between the Tories and Russion Oligarchs. No wonder it is an attractive option to many Tories.
Yes. Strenghen ,reinforce and reform the EC
'Too many conflicts of interest' Correct MPs should not be sponsored or accept money fro other areas. They should have ONE JOB representing their constituents and not be 'influenced'by outside sources
Grimes .From the Free Press so not confidential- (He ) heavily associated with right wing millionaires, billionaires who have a declared interest in the dismantling of the state,deregulation and slashing tax rates.
(And others) Fresh diverse faces carrying the message of old white millionaires, puppets dancing to the tune of power.
Anyone for the IEA (plus others) being made to show who funds them!?
Post a Comment

<< Home

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