The current Ding Dong about party funding is not only showing how pathetic our political system is but how corrupt many of the practises are. The Tories are funded by a handful of millionaires who pumped £25m into the Conservative party last year alongside all the individual millionaires that donate too – is it a surprise that Hedge Funds had a tax cut in the last budget. But them Labour are no better really. While claiming to be the party of the working man their leadership, policy and candidates are being heavily influenced by the union block vote.
Having said that Millibland’s efforts have to be applauded. The opt in system is the start of the sea change needed to stop the Unions as group being so influential – if we go back to the one member one vote argument that only solved part of the problem. Also the proposal of a £5000 cap on donations per year is sensible too and would create a much more level playing field for all candidates across the parties and perhaps give us a more balanced democracy. The big one for me is something I blogged about just last week in terms of pay – that Politicians should not be making extra money by sitting on boards or being executive directors. In the case of the Tories you only need to scratch the surface of the links between business who make donations and boards politicians are on to see where many of the government contracts go (again it is true of Labour’s years in power).
There was a worldwide survey of corruption and yet again it appears that ahead of the judiciary, police and business, politicians still are the most corrupt group in any society – or at least that is the perception. 51% of people polled believed that Political parties are corrupt or can be corrupted, that is a sad indictment of our political system. And it’s not just the big two either, in fact they are under more scrutiny than many of the smaller or “national” parties so perhaps it gets worse as we move down the power chain.
Cap the amount people, unions, businesses can donate and make it a fairer and more transparent system. We need to stop allowing MPs to take on second jobs and pay then a better wage. The problem is ours to a large extent as we all just sit and shake our heads muttering rather than engaging in the issues and getting out and voting or questioning those in power. Watching PMQs today was a classic example of pre-prepared answers from a Prime Minister who had no intention of answering any of the questions put to him – what’s the point of a half hour where he just dodges the issues and refuses to deal with the answers to questions that need to be answered? And they wonder why people are not engaged in politics and don’t trust them…