Sunday, March 25, 2012
"this is not the way we raise money in the conservative party. it shouldn't have happened. "it's quite right that peter cruddas has resigned. i will make sure there is a proper party inquiry to make sure this can't happen again." so said david cameron. of course what he meant was: he shouldn't have been caught on tape offering access to senior politicians and it is only right that someone that stupid should resign. our internal investigation will make sure we can't make this mistake again. and let's be serious it costs a lot more than £200-250k to get to chat to georgie and me. with this revelation the sunday times has done a number of things. it has made the case for a free press. it has restored a certain amount of credibility to journalism, it may have even gone some way to demonstrating that news international isn't evil incarnate and in bed with the conservatives. now either the investigators got very very lucky or mr. cruddas and the party have had previous form at this. i don't doubt that labour and the liberal demoncrats both have their own funding skeletons. as money is fast becoming as important to political parties in the uk as it is in the usa perhaps it is now time to fully address the situation. there was a time when i would have argued that all that needed to be done was to pass a few laws that mandated that broadcasters and such like had to 'donate' time and space to the political parties in equal measure during an election campaign. i think that time has come and gone. so now i would say let them get their money from wherever they want to and let them offet anything in return for the cash - however the political parties would have to be 'open book organisations' so that the electorate (and more importantly the press) could go over their books to see where the money had come from and what was being offered in the return. sure the conservative party would raise much more money than labour or the liberal democrats, but knowing where the money has come from (and what it potentially means to voters) would have a negative effect on voters and make then think long and hard before they put their crosses next to a conservative name on the ballot paper. i could be wrong - but as this is the tactic used by the right-wing press and the conservative party whenever they cite labour's reliance on funds from the trade unions then i am sure it would work if it were applied to the wealthy giving to the tories. meanwhile the current con/dem government sees yet another 'scandal' at least sleaze under the major and brown governments was at the end of a long period in power. the current lot have just decided to make it an ongoing permanent feature of government.