Thoughts on politics and life from a liberal perspective

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Jack Straw's hypocrisy on party finances

Jack Straw has done an opinion piece today for The Independent where he rails against the current situation where he claims that the Tories are trying to buy the election:

Mr Cameron ... has ordered his party to fight the most expensive election campaign in British political history. It is an American-style campaign, costing millions, with wealthy suitors each paying £50,000 to join David Cameron's dining club, and British high streets covered with billboards bankrolled ultimately from Belize. Mr Cameron says the Conservatives have changed, but what we are seeing is an attempt by his party to buy the next general election.

Senior politicians often seem think that voters are very dumb. I don't remember him speaking out against all the donations that rolled into the Labour Party's coffers in the second half of the 90s and the first few years of this decade. I, and I suspect many others can recall those days and how Labour lapped up the largesse bestowed upon them and thus, this opinion piece seem very hypocritical to me.

Also, Labour have now been in power for nearly 13 years. If they felt so strongly about this funding issue, why have they not legislated to fix what they now appear to perceive as the problems with it?

For what it is worth, I think we would be much better off if parties got many more small donations from lots of people. It worked for Obama and it is a great way to connect with the electorate. I also think the amount of money spent on silly, negative adverts at election time is way over the top but it was ever thus.

Cabinet ministers cannot credibly write these sort of opinion pieces now. They had their chance to change things and chose not to because it was politically expedient to not do so at the time.

They are now reaping what they have sewn.


Tom Williams said...

Unfortunately, our politicians are seen as scumbags (rightfully so in many cases) by the electorate, so an Obama style campaign is impossible.

Dingdongalistic said...

I don't mean to nitpick excessively, Mark, but I thought you would like to know that it's sown in this context -- sewing refers to thread and needle sort of stuff.

Mark Thompson said...

Ha! I knew that too. Just typing too fast. Still, I can't change it now or no-one will know what you are on about!