James Purnell, the new Work & Pension Secretary, has said that Liebour’s reputation hasn’t been tainted by all the recent sleaze and corruption amongst senior members of the party and says that they’re doing “hat is right” in reforming their funding arrangements.
Reform, reform, reform. We all know what reform means – take something that works and balls it up so that it breaks. Yes, the party funding system is being abused but that’s not because the system needs reforming, it’s because Liebour are a bunch of fucking crooks. The rules have already been tightened up by Liebour ministers after Liebour ministers were caught selling peerages. Now some more Liebour ministers have been found to be abusing the party funding system in taking illegal loans and donations and/or not declaring loans and donations and Liebour ministers are going to change the rules again. Does anyone else notice a pattern here?
Liebour have made no secret of the fact that they support state funding of political parties but why should we, the taxpayer, fund a political party known to be corrupt and which has employed a convicted fraudster not once, but three times, to a senior cabinet position only for him to resign after being caught committing fraud? Why, in fact, should the taxpayer fund any political party? If they can’t get the support they need through their membership and through lawful donations then they don’t deserve any money. Most people vote for a party, not because they believe in what the party stands for – most of them probably couldn’t name 3 policies from their manifesto – but because they’ve always voted for that party, because their parents always voted for that party or because they just don’t want the opposition. If they’re not prepared to put their hands in their pockets once a year and pay for membership of that party then why should their vote imply support for the party and earn them taxpayer funding? If parties were made to rely solely on donations and subscriptions from their members then they will get as much money as they deserve. If they do a good job they will attract more members, if they do a bad job they will lose them.
There is no justification for a political party to be tens of millions of pounds in debt or to spend 2 or 3 million on an election campaign. There is no need for consultants and focus groups and hugely expensive trips round the country kissing babies and smiling for cameras. There is no need for a cabinet minister to travel the length of the country to shake hands with a carefully selected group of party members in front of a TV crew to pretend their sitting MP isn’t shitting himself at the news that his majority has dropped to 3 people and a goldfish.
Party politics has turned into a circus, it’s rotten to the core. It’s not about dedicating your life to public service any more, it’s about a three figure salary and expenses and securing a handful of company directorships to tide you over when you get caught with your fingers in the till and have to resign to spend more time with your family until your gold-plated, index-linked, final salary, taxpayer-funded pension starts paying out.
I would happily see party politics banned, the whip banned and MPs go back to forming loose alliances on individual issues. A century ago the Commons was full of independent MPs, now they’re as rare as rocking horse shit and they never get a chance to do anything because government has been bent round the party system. Why must the Speaker belong to a party with the resulting accusations (usually well-founded in the case of Brit-Scot Liebour Speaker, Michael Martin) of partiality? Why must the Prime Minister belong to a party? At the very least, the Speaker should be an independent MP and seperate elections held for the office of Prime Minister.
Party politics has largely turned the electorate off politics altogether. Only a third of the population bother to vote and it’s hardly surprising. Liebour is constantly mired in sleaze and corruption, the Conswervatives are too busy trying to reinvent themselves as the new left and the Lib Dums … not even they know what they’re supposed to stand for. None of the three main parties are worth voting for because there’s very little to seperate them and most MPs will vote however they’re told to vote by their party. The reading of the EU (Amendment) Bill the other night was a perfect example – only about 20 MPs bothered to turn up for the debate on the bill despite only having four hours to read, digest and form an opinion on a bill that was hundreds – if not thousands – of pages long. They didn’t vote according to their conscience or the wishes of their constituents, they voted how they were told by their party.
Imagine for a moment that the Prime Minister was an independent and there was no party whip. How would the EU (Amendment) Bill debate have gone? There would have been more MPs at the debate for a start and the vote wouldn’t have taken place a mere six hours after MPs had been given the consolidated text of the bill. The Liebour MPs who rebelled against their party on the night would have formed an alliance with the Conswervative and Lib Dum MPs who were opposing the bill weeks before and more MPs would have joined them. A referendum would have been secured, I have no doubt of that. But it wasn’t because the whips told them how to vote and all but a few did as they were told and voted against the wishes of their constituents.
There is a very simple principle which has been set aside of late – MPs are elected to represent the interests of their constituents, not their party. Until party politics is banned in Westminster, government will be run by the party for the benefit of the party.
Technorati Tags: Sleaze, Corruption, Party Politics