23 March 2006

Loans for Peerages: Questions the press won't ask.

If Labour are so sleazy, why did they ban secret donations?

If Blair is so sleazy, why did he delegate power to the scrutiny board that has blocked his appointments?

All the major parties have taken secret loans, Labour have revealed their donors, why won't the other parties reveal theirs?

The Tories were the first to exploit the loophole on secret loans. Could it be that Labour followed them because they needed to keep pace on funding and were frightened of an unfair press that might exploit named donors (however innocent)? Looking at the current biased coverage on loans, can you blame them?

Could it be that the Tory proposals on automatic state funding (only to parties that win 2 seats or more under FPTP) are designed to exclude minor parties and independents?

Could the Tory proposal to reduce the number of seats in the Commons, have anything to do with gerrymandering boundaries to benefit them electorally? (By combining more Tory rural votes with urban votes to create Tory marginals).

Nobody likes automatic state funding of parties, so why not follow the Power Commission's recommendation to leave the decision to the individual by having a tick box on ballot papers for those who want to donate to a local party?

How can the Tory proposal to set the same limit for both individuals and organisations (that may have millions of members) be justified?


  1. Go back and answer the questions in the education thread rather than just posting things to hide it. Or are you just running away again from a lost argument?

  2. Anon: I have posted on the education thread, go and take a look.

    I don't run away from any argument. All the posts and comments remain on here, but you can't expect me to stop posting new stuff as well.

  3. What was given by the other parties in exchange for the secret cash should also be asked.

  4. I would imagine most donations (to all parties) are buying influence. There may be a few who genuinely agree with policy, but even then why should they have more say than anyone else just because they have a lot of money?

    Donations to parties destroy our democracy. The best way to correct this is to give the individual a say in whether parties receive state funding. The tick box on a ballot paper coupled with PR (open list or STV) would mean that parties would be after every vote and encourage parties to be more democratic and give a say back to their members.

  5. I think that's wrong, Neil, because it penalises ordinary people who want to give a bit of money to their party - which makes them feel more involved in community structures - and it doesn't address the fact that influence can be 'got' by all sorts of reasons other than money. What about "the old school tie"? And all those cocktail parties?

    I tried to address these issues in (shameless plug) my post.

    > What was given by the other parties
    > in exchange for the secret cash
    > should also be asked.

    Yes, it should be asked, and investigated - much better to do that than to *assume* our politicians are corrupt.

  6. Yeah, sorry I meant that 'big donations' destroy our democracy and are buying influence, I don't think somebody donating a few hundred or even a few thousand pounds are really a problem, but when it gets to millions...

    Of course there are loads of other dodgy ways of gaining influence as well I am not discounting that, but large sums of money are a pretty corrosive influence we can easily do something about.

    I understand why nobody wants state funding but if it reduces the influence of big business and wealthy individuals and puts its back in the hands of the voter, then it has got to be worth it.

    Of course, how it is done is very important. The Tory proposals just discriminate against small parties and give no say to the individual voter on whether they want to donate money at all. I think it is important that the voter is given this choice on the ballot paper with a tick box.

    I did read your post, sorry I meant to link to it on this subject, forgot to. Good post.

  7. The Tories had nothing on your dirty Government. Blair should resign over this.

  8. What a short little memory you have: perjury (x2), cash for questions, etc. etc.

    Wait until the investigations are done, then we can worry about resignations.

  9. carry bag man24/3/06 3:03 pm

    I think this whole debate obscures the real issues at work here. we need a democratically elelcted second chamber...simple as that... no patronage, no purchasing just a good old democratic vote.and while we are at it put all mps on 2/3rds average weekly wage see how many are really committed to the public duty !!!!

    Rant over...

    when are we going to see the controversial post neil ?? you have been a bit quiet of late !!

  10. > no patronage

    For as long as politics (and indeed many other professions) is populated by human beings, you'll get patronage, whether money is involved or not.

    Manage it, scrutinise it, and try to open up access, don't pretend you can legislate it away.

  11. Carry bag man: Sorry the post is taking longer than I thought. I'm still only a third of the way through it. I need to rework some other stuff and I'm not sure about some of it. I know it's not my usual style to take this much care over a post.

    The reason for the low number of posts is that I've become a bit tired of blogging lately. There is still loads I want to say and loads of rubbish out there that needs contradicting but looking for the right words can be difficult, perhaps taking this too seriously.

    Totally agree about limiting salaries of MPs etc. and electing the House of Lords. A terrible travesty of democracy. I think it is only us and Papua New Guinea who have such a laughable relic from the past.

    B4L: That seems a rather defeatist attitude?

  12. The difference now is that its your sleazy Prime Minister in the shit. There has been no worse a scandal in the last 20 years - you lot are so dirty you even beat the tories. Or does your nasty corrupt party think that selling peerages and then hiding the money is acceptable? Bliar is finished, sooner he goes the more chance you have of holding wards Blackheath ward. do you lot have no morals?

  13. When you have finished venting your abusive spleen anonymous (too cowardly to mention your name!) may I point out that the Tories have not been very forthcoming about their donations recently(more or less telling people that their finances were no one's business. How arrogant!), that the Tories had a rep for sleaziness, such as Archer (who was very popular amongst the grassroots I might add) et al! Not forgetting Dame Shirley Porter and her shameless gerrymandering.Note also that she dare not return to the UK

  14. Anon: "do you lot have no morals?"

    My morals are based in helping the most disadvantaged in society. The Labour party is the closest to achieving this.

    You are making the mistake that people in a political party agree with every policy and defend misdemenours. I don't do that and most of the severest critics I have met of govt policy are members of the Labour party and very proud to be members. You need to look at the whole picture and look at what a Labour govt has achieved - which is actually quite a lot.

    Secret donations have been banned by this govt.

    The scrutiny committee that blocked the Lords appointments was set up by Blair.

    Under a Tory govt, this scandal wouldn't have happened but it is obvious the Tories are worse because they wouldn't have changed the law in the first place. The law has actually worked.

    Anon, can I ask what your morals are? What policies would you like to see?

    You do a lot of criticising but unless you come up with suggestions that are better then I have to conclude you are not being very fair.

    It is easy to criticise anything but unless you suggest something better, it is a dishonest argument.

  15. ha ha ha - you lot are the ones with no morals. my evidence - the most corrupt Prime Minister and political party in years and years. You and your nasty party need to be taken out, which the rest of us are working on.

    You lot wouldn't know if honesty hit you in the face.

  16. Anon: So which party do you support that has not taken secret loans? We all know the Lib Dems have no morals.

    Where are your proposals. I suppose if you never suggest anything you can never be criticised. Karl Marx was good at criticising, but he never came up with any decent alternatives. Every policy can be criticised, but when you offer nothing in return (like the Lib Dems do) then that is the most immoral and dishonest thing of the lot.

  17. The Blue Foxxx29/3/06 3:18 pm

    "Karl Marx was good at criticising, but he never came up with any decent alternatives."

    Great understanding of dialectics Neil!

    (Might get you a half mark in a GCSE paper or something...)

  18. The Blue Foxxx29/3/06 3:20 pm

    "I suppose if you never suggest anything you can never be criticised. Karl Marx was good at criticising, but he never came up with any decent alternatives."

    And as a result was never criticised...

    Truly asinine.

  19. As far as I could tell, nobody had a clue what Marx was on about when he suggested a communist society, dialectic or not.

  20. The Blue Foxxx30/3/06 1:20 pm

    That's kind of the point Neil.

    Dialetics here refers to the creation of new social forms out of the conflicts of the preceding social form (which would then, logically, have its own conflicts...). Marx was no utopian, so the scattered nature of his suggestions of a potential future, more human, 'good life' are consistent with his philosophy as a whole.

    Policy suggestions, in the form you present (the lack of which in his work you seem to be criticising), would necessarily be anathema to such a critical theoretic approach.