Wednesday 26 February 2014

Where is 38 Degrees now there's work to be done?

I got so cross with the internet campaigners 38 Degrees over the Lobbying Bill, for their half-truths and infuriating ability to concentrate useful political energy on a chimera.

But they were right that the Lobbying Bill was much less than perfect, and particularly in its failure to tackle the funding of political parties.

In fact, it is hard to see how restricting money that goes into electoral campaigning will make any difference when there is the loophole, shouting at the top of its voice.  Any passing billionaire who wants to impose his views on UK elections only has to fund a political party - either his own or someone else's.

This is usually the cue for anyone involved in politics to shake their heads in despair.  Only the Lib Dems, chronically under-funded, have any obvious benefits from restricting donations to political parties.  The others just need the money and tend to keep their heads down.

So, it's hopeless, right?

Well, no, it isn't.  Just for a moment, we have a political opportunity to act.  Labour have thrown all the cards up in the air by changing their relationship with their trade union funders, and in a creative way that has huge possibilities for energising their support base.

It also just so happens that the Conservatives are horrified by the way huge donations are now bypassing them altogether and going to UKIP.

There is an openness in Westminster to tackling the basic problem, the Old Corruption as William Cobbett put it, on a cross-party basis.

Can it be done in the year before the next general election?  What we really need is an enlightened internet campaigning organisation to take up the cause, when they could make a major difference?  They have the support base, invigorated by the Lobbying Bill campaign, who just need pointing in a more creative direction.

Where is 38 Degrees when you actually need them?  Don't tell me they are still out chasing chimeras?

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

No, they're out protecting the Labour Party. They never challenge it now it's in opposition.