The Thick of It


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Hain and party funding

All along my thoughts are that Peter Hain has been a very silly man in letting himself get embroiled in a funding "scandal" at a time when political funding was high on the agenda. Surely this is the time to be super careful? After the whole cash for honours or not fiasco, following years of corruption claims against the Tories, surely a seemingly able politician should have been aware that he needed to be water-tight?

On Sunday Andrew Rawnsley had it right: "the political classes even now don't get it. After all the sleaze eruptions of the Major and the Blair years, you would have thought that any politician with a care for his or her reputation would be careful to the point of paranoia about funding. If only for reasons of self-preservation, they ought to have the rules lasered on to their eyeballs and those of everyone who works for them."

I just don't get why leading politicians don't employ decent lawyers to work with the electoral commission to make sure everything is above board. What is even more absurd is that many of these problems are arising from laws that Labour put in place only recently. So we should know better.

It appears the Tories are still frightened about Michael Ashcroft and would rather not make themselves targets by attacking Labour on funding when there are so many questions about their own banker.

By refusing to look at state funding for political parties and allowing these pointless "scandals" to repeat themselves, leading politicians are damaging faith in politics when it really isn't necessary.

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