Friday, March 17, 2006

Sleaze - Nothing Changes!

Over the past week the Labour party has been mired in a 'loans for honours' scandal that matches anything that happened under the previous Tory administrations. It would seem that Labour were 'loaned' about £14million prior to the last election as part of its campaign fund. Most, if not all, these 'loans' were done privately, - in some cases, even the party treasurer didn't know about them!

The suspicion is that these benefactors, especially those who loaned in a personal capacity, would be officially honoured in some way as an inducement to give.

A lot of this has had to come out because Dr Chai Patel, head of the Priory Rehab Clinic, had been refused a peerage by the nominations committee. Dr Patel had been one of 3 millionaires who gave large sums to the party prior to the election.

This, I believe, is getting out of hand. Money, and the raising of funds, is now becoming a major issue and influence within the political world and it needs to stop. Even though I resent, like all sensible tax-payers, any increase on the tax bill, I think that political parties should receive funding for elections from the public purse, based on verified membership rolls. Any other fund-raising would be to support infrastructure, and would have to be independently audited.

And, of course, get rid of this antiquated and irrelevant method of public honour we presently have in this country.


jane said...

If you want an example of what model not to follow, look at America. The amount in political campaigns all but dictates who will be elected. I believe all candidates should be given the same amount of funds for campaigning. I think that's the only way to do it fairly. I hope the UK comes up with a solution.

Eddie said...

Hi Mark,
Have you noticed in all the reporting of this situation, not one Labour Party spokesperson has mentioned anything about how or when these "loans" would be repayed.
Perhaps we should follow their example?
Mortgage, what mortgage?

Mark said...

Good point Eddie. Perhaps they are going to follow the American model and just increase their own credit level!

Eddie said...

Just a further thought, Mark,
Would it be fairer to allocate election expenses perhaps on the basis of votes gained at the last election. I'm only thinking that, usually, more people vote for parties than are actually members of them. For instance, I think the Lib Dems would suffer disproportionally if they were financed solely on the basis of the number of members. I.E. I would assume that FAR more people vote Lib Dem than actually belong to the party. No doubt other, smaller still, parties would fare even worse.
Of course to allocate funds on the basis of votes cast would really demand us having some type of proportional representation.
But that's a whole new argument...