Monday, November 05, 2007

Party Funding...

So, lets just get this straight. Lord Ashcroft's spending on marginal constituencies is an affront to democracy, since it is a rich man buying votes. Accordingly, action will be taken to stop Lord Ashcroft from doing so. No action will, of course, be taken on Trade Union targeted funding, even though research has shown that the Trade Unions gave far more money in directly targeted donations than Lord Ashcroft - or indeed all Tory donors.
But an analysis by The Times revealed that while Lord Ashcroft gave almost £850,000 during the last Parliament to Tory seats, unions collectively gave £1.58 million directly to constituencies. Other wealthy Tory businessmen gave a further £470,000, meaning the Tories’ marginal seats received £1.38 million, broadly comparable with the unions’ constituency donations.
Further weakening the Labour Party argument is the story, broken in the Mail on Sunday, that Labour MPs, in this case Ruth Kelly, are using the new 'communication allowance' as a method of transmitting party political statements. This was explicitly denied when the Tories cited it as a defence for their increased targeted spending in marginal seats. If the Labour Party do indeed act to stop Lord Ashcroft from spending his money as he sees fit, while at the same time giving carte blanche to Trade Unions and to incumbent MPs to abuse their tax-funded allowances, it will look like a massive abuse of office.

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