Speculate to elect

untitled (227)Yesterday morning on Radio 4 Bernard Jenkin MP who is Chair of the Public Administration Select Committee and also a Euro Sceptic was interviewed on his views regarding the need for a robust purdah period in the period before the European referendum. His concern was that the Government would use its considerable resources to campaign for us to remain in the EU. Whilst I don’t share Bernards opposition to the EU and I am not even sure that the benefits of Purdah are as great as he suggests, I was intrigued by the way in which the discussion developed. He was then asked about the resources of the Conservative Party being marshalled to support the cause of EU membership. This is apparently a concern for Liam Fox (another Euro Sceptic). Bernard refused to be drawn on this issue because he wanted to emphasise that he was not speaking as a member of his Party but as Chair of the PASC. No doubt he would have also argued that his contribution would have been the same irrespective of which side of the EU argument he sat! Because Bernard was unwilling to be drawn on the issue of Conservative Party funding, the interviewer expanded the question to the wider issue of Political Party funding. This was a concern which Bernard was willing to respond to. He admitted that if the Political Parties adopted a Pro-European approach as part of the referendum debates, their combined spending power would be immense and very persuasive. It is clear that if all of the Political Parties with their powerful backers including many within the media were to use their funds and communication mechanisms to argue for a particular course of action, it would be very difficult to counter this argument. Some of the funders of our various political parties, invest their funds in this way because they are speculating on a positive outcome from an election, which would then be followed by a grateful Government or Council adopting helpful policies, certain honours and in some cases even ensuring that procurement processes are helpful to their supporters. Conversely no one would ever speculate on the election of an Independent candidate. One Independent MP amongst 650 or even 10%-15% within a Parliament or Council could never expect to influence outcomes in the same way that a small party like the Lib Dems, the Greens or UKIP could achieve with far fewer MPs. The combined Political Party resources that so disturb Bernard Jenkin in his desire to see a good outcome from the EU referendum will always work to prevent Independent MPs from competing on a level playing field. We need a complete overhaul of our Parliamentary system and take all but the smallest donations out of the system. If rich people, Businesses and Trade Unions want to make a difference with their money, there are plenty of worthy Charities to choose from, if they want to buy high places for their friends to inhabit, that activity should be illegal, never mind immoral.

About ianchisnall

I am passionate about the need for public policies to be made accessible to everyone, especially those who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am particularly interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as health services and strategic planning.
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