Local parties need to be vigilant

I’ve no idea how many of the Conservative gains at the last general election were as a direct result of the so-called “Ashcroft money”. But I do know that no party should be allowed to buy themselves a majority by funnelling vast quantities of cash into marginal seats.

Predictably, of course, the Tories disagree, as can be seen from their hysterical reaction to Jack Straw’s announcement last week of a curb on local spending by parties between elections.

The key to enforcing this lies with local party activists. I’ve often been privy to discussions among Labour activists who were convinced that our opponents had broken some electoral law or other, and each time the conversation would end with everyone expecting someone else to take the complaint forward to an official level. Nothing ever happened. This time, especially if we’re to reintroduce the so-called “trigger” (at which point a candidate’s general election spending is deemed to have begun – theoretically months or even years before the national campaign proper is launched), local parties will have to be vigilant to make sure the new rules aren’t flouted.

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4 Comments

Filed under Conservative Party, Labour, Parliament, Politics

4 responses to “Local parties need to be vigilant

  1. Triffid

    Excellent point Tom.

    I look forward to reading your proposals on how to control the money from unions or is that “hysterical” as well ?

  2. Auntie Flo'

    I think this is a great idea – as long as it cuts both ways and is admistrated fairly. Incumbent MPs and candidates of all opposition parties should therefore receive equal column allocations in the local and national press, equal time on TV and equal time allocations at public meetings.

    I personally I would cut all large scale political funding and have political parties

  3. Auntie Flo'

    I think I owe you an apology, Tom, one of my cats jumped on my keyboard and may have sent a mashed up, half finished response to this posting. If so, please ignore it!

  4. Auntie Flo'

    Think this is a great idea – as long as it cuts both ways and is administrated fairly. Incumbent MPs and candidates of all opposition parties should therefore receive equal column allocations in the local and national press, equal time on TV and equal time allocations at public meetings. I see no obstacles to the government legislating to ensure this happens.

    There should be no public funding of parties, why should the public pay to propel parties and candidates on the route to political privilege?

    All large scale political funding, including union and business funding, should be illegal in my view, as such funding is solely designed to buy corrupt influence. That corruption encourages other corrupt practices inside the political bubble too.

    Candidates and parties should be statutorily empowered to raise small, prescribed maximum amounts of political funding from individual supporters.

    In other words, each candidate should have to earn their place in parliament by dint of prior life experience, track record of community work, sheer, sustained hard graft and their presence/character/suitability for the role.

    Don’t believe that this would deter candidates, the rewards of the job are so huge that there is a large surplus of these. What it might do is to help to deter bad apples.

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