For Sale: One political party leader, barely used with hypocrisy included as standard... £5001 O.N.O
Ed Miliband's £5000 donation cap is a stark admission of being corruptible 'for less than the price of a second hand Vauxhall Corsa'
Ed Miliband’s insistence this past week that political parties should only receive up to five thousand pounds in donations per individual is reflective of how out of sync his Labour Party is not just with public opinion, but with political realities also.
His announcement, which conveniently leaves a massive gap for unions to continue funding and influencing political parties via their members affiliation fees, would mandate that no one could hand over more than five thousand pounds to their political party of choice. This is not simply misguided due to insurmountable problem of where parties get their funding from, but also because he is effectively telling the public, “I can be bought for £5,001.00”.
Citing ‘influence’ and hinting at corruption due to ‘big money’ – Miliband puts himself in a rather awkward position. He is laying the gauntlet down not just on behalf of himself or his party, but for all politicians – admitting that they can be bought for less than the cost of a 2007 Vauxhall Corsa. This admission must be further probed.
To insinuate that politicians or parties can be cajoled by such an arbitrary figure ignores crucial political realities such as ideologies, manifestos, grassroots support, parliamentary process, the public sector and more. It’s really quite a stretch. Yet Miliband expects to score points off this siren call in the name of transparency – setting a challenge for the Conservative Party, or rather, laying a trap.
But the public are smarter than that – and smarter than Ed Miliband in most cases. Not only will people immediately recognize the cynical nature of such a proposition, but given the recent debate about taxpayer funded political parties, they’ll also be aware that somewhere down the line – Labour will expect us all to pay for their upkeep.
It is of course untenable to insist that Sir Anthony Bamford or Michael Hintze have equal or more influence over the Conservative Party as the union bosses do over Labour – and yet Miliband’s party continue their march along the road of hypocrisy, scarcely stopping to assess their progress. If they did, the party leadership and influential, ranking members would start to see that they’re nearly too far gone.
And this brings up the questions of why Ed Miliband may have found it politically tempting to launch into a funding tirade just weeks before his ally, cry baby Ken, is due to be delivered a blow at the London Mayoral Elections. Taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture, we see a Conservative Party on the ropes due to recent unpopular measures, U-turns and scandals – but a Labour Party that continue to swing wildly into the thin air, landing no more than scrapes and scuffs on its adversary.
This attack, designed as a killer body blow but which inevitably will result in nought more than a scratch, may prove another pointless, energy-expending exercise for Ed and his team.
Political party funding in the United Kingdom is less than perfect, as is union influence, transparency, political advertising and so on.
The difficulty in highlighting one issue without the other – especially so recently on the back of a whopping defeat to electoral reform campaigners, is that the public will immediately smell a rat. And as we know about every effective democracy, whether for better or for worse, if there’s no public will… there’s no friggin’ way.
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