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.

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