Sunday, 30 October 2011
No, No, No
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is in charge of party political reform. When he unexpectedly found himself in a position of power within the Coalition government, he was anxious to facilitate reform and asked the Committee on Standards in Public Life, chaired by Sir Christopher Kelly, to re-examine the subject.
A draft report was presented last month but the parties are drafting proposed amendments this weekend.
Amendments to what? A cap of £50,000 on individual donations is proposed along with £3 per vote which would, based on the last election results, see the Tories receiving £32m, Labour £25.8m and the LibDems £20.4m and this could be higher if tax relief is added.
Of course the Libdems are cock-a-hoop about the proposal because they achieved many more votes than expected by promising there would be no students fees. Some promise. Not only will Nick Clegg be happy with this report, he's finally managed to acquire seven new advisors at a cost of £500,000, because he considers the Libdems are under-represented in Whitehall.
Like this fellow blogger I'm completely against this proposal. I would go further though and do away with the party system. As she says we need representatives not parties. Last week's whipping in the EU referendum vote let the people see how party leaders control their members who, once many they enter Westminster, forget their allegiance is to their electorate. If parties are necessary they should be on a basis of left, right or centre, so those of similar opinions can group for specific reasons. Candidates should fund themselves and publish their accounts online on a weekly basis. I have no problem with a candidate managing to raise over £10,000 if there is a £50 donation cap.
Postal votes, which have proved over and over again to be wide open to corruption, should be radically reduced and only provided for those who provide written medical evidence of the inability to attend a poling station.
The three party system has been detrimental to minor party and independent candidates who are unable to raise the massive sums accumulated by the party machines. There have been only 10 elected since 1950. Surely this shows the disproportionate influence of party machines.
I've placed a small Poll on the right hand side should anyone wish to record their opinion on this latest recommendation. My response is in the title.