Wednesday, 31 October 2007


Looking for a change today, I stumped for The Independent as today’s source of news. For a daily news sheet that firmly places itself with the “green” team, it certainly uses a lot of paper to get its views across.

Having got over the photo of Alex James from Blur ((a popular beat combo from my youth) looking like an extra out of Emmerdale, it was the news of the acrimonious negotiations over political funding which drew my attention.

Cross party talks have collapsed with Labour chief negotiator Jack Straw laying the blame firmly at the door of the Conservatives. With Tory demands for a cap on union funding, Straw asserts that the opposition was unwilling to accept similar restraints on its individual donors.

Negotiations have been grinding on for 5 months with no agreement. With its roots in the cash for honours scandal, the discussions have been revealed as a complete waste of time. Designed to quell public concerns, both Labour and Conservative Party’s never had a stomach for agreement; they just hoped by playing lip service to public concerns the issue would eventually go away.

With MP’s expenses reaching obscene levels, a racket further enhanced by their ability to set their own pay awards, it is time that all aspects of MP’s remuneration, together with election expenditure levels, were taken out of party control and passed on to an acknowledged independent body. With its members drawn from all walks of life, this body could set caps on expenses, wage increases and election expenditure budgets. If the political will exists, such a body could in place before the end of the decade.

Perhaps we have more chance of turkeys voting for Xmas!

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