Dave’s dodgy dinner dates

I can’t really take credit for the title of this one, i think i must have heard it on the news or from a report on the Commons this week, but i thought it was good so I’ve stolen it.

So this whole thing is kind of about money. Money and power. Money and power and influence. And politics. Its easy to see why it attracted the attention of the media and rightly so, however i think one of the more interesting things to think about is party funding. Clearly dinners with the PM, that aren’t minuted or attended by civil servants, for party donors from the private is not right or proper and at least when pressured (they shouldnt have had to be pressured) they released the information, but its largely to down to money.

Cameron needs to court wealthy donors in the same way as Labour needs to court the unions – they need some money to run their political operations and shenanigans. However, i believe that this reliance on large companies or groups or individuals for cash not only leads to the potential for stories like those we have seen recently but also removes the political process and politicians further from us normal people.

If there were to be a cap on donations to political parties, say maybe 20k, then the parties would have to go out, fundraise, meet people, encourage them to join the party, pay their subs – all of that. It might start to mean the end of lazy politics. Imagine that .. Politicians actually getting engaged with their constituents and communities.

So how to administer the donations? Again, I cant claim credit for this idea because i heard it on the radio this week. Set up an independent ombudsman/body with representatives from a range of ages and backgrounds, across the country. This body would receive donations from a blind trust at set points in a month and then pass on the donations to the individual parties. This would mean that no party would know who had given money and that way no-one could be accused of currying favour or influence.

I would like to think (because i’m slightly optimistic) that this will change and this will make a difference. But let’s be honest .. I don’t think it will and it probably won’t. Oh and lets just wait and see the politicians blame the lobbyists for this one.


interesting times pt 2

Work interrupted my earlier ramblings about my slow slide into being a right winger (potentially). I don’t think I am a right winger yet at all but I have been agreeing with individual policies and there a number of impressive politicians who also happen to Members of the conservative party – inconvenient.

Ken Clarke really impressed me talking about prisons and prison reform today at Conference. I think that prisoners should work and they should get some money. That money should either go towards their own upkeep or it should go back to either their victoms of into community projects.

However I know that agreeing with one policy does not a Tory make and I think they have made some huge mistakes in various announcements, not least the 44k / child benefits mess as I said in a previous post.

Just a few more thoughts on a topic I’m sure I’ll return to.

Also am aware that no-one is reading this at the moment – need to work out how to really get this going and start the linking and developing the blog thang.

Also – need to start thinking about what this blog is going to be on or about.

Interesting times.

interesting times

being a bit of a polticial anorack i’ve been keeping up with the various broadcasts and tweets from the political conference season and whilst i do count myself on the left of the centre i find myself liking what alot of the Tories have been saying and disliking (or at least finding considerably dull / uninspiring) the things coming out of the Labour and Lib Dem conferences.

i am very surprised at myself. lets first say that i completely agree with the media and the lefty criticism of Cameron’s 44k decision – it is a mess, its just backwards upside down and back to front. i firmly believe that people who earn more should not get child benefit – a family on a joint family income of 88k are well off – they can do without automatic benefits clearly. it is ludicrous to change the rules to penalise either single parent families or those families where one parent has chosen to stay at home and look after the kids – this really is Cameron’s 10p tax mess.

that being said i have liked some of the things that some tories have been saying (Boris had a fantastic conference speech – absolutely hilarious) and i think ken clarke is an excellent politician – i do think that people in prison should work, they should input practically into the economy and into communities. on paying them, well if they are being paid the minimum wage which they can collect when they leave prison – sounds good.

also been listening to theresa may who suggested that members of the public should be able to compel police forces to take action if they feel hard done by or if they feel that the police havent done enough – well done her. she’s managed to organise vigilantism – brillant. please note: i am furiously pressing my sarcasm button on my keyboard.

i’ve always thought i was a bit of a lefty – probably still am on a number of issues, social education etc, but am listening to a number of different view points in more detail now – we’ll see what happens.

really should stop writing given that i am in work!