Saturday, January 26, 2008

Odds and sods

For some reason every time there's been a major political resignation lately I've been out and about and unable to comment on it at the time. It's hard to feel sorry for Peter Hain though.

More widely I've generally sought to avoid commenting on party funding issues (other than major cock-ups by party leaders) because the issue is inherently complicated and the system of regulation has, if anything, made matters even worse - look for instance at the confusion over whether donations needed to be declared to both the Electoral Commission and the Parliamentary Regulator. What's not been noticed as much is the way that what is morally right has been superseded by what is legally right and many of the rows have focused on the detail of the rules.

It also reinforces my concern about the way the media report cases. The assumption of "innocent until proven guilty" is often thrust aside, with a new assumption that anyone who donates to individuals or parties is just seeking personal reward and that any recipient with a question mark over them has automatically done something wrong. This is not good for politics at all. I also feel it does little to help the situation when an almost tit for tat process of reporting MPs left, right and centre for various ambiguities are picked up by the media and reported as a sign of mass guilt. Ths is a problem that goes beyond partisan interests and trying to harness it for them is deeply damaging.

Most of the proposed reforms so far focus on the symptoms rather than the cause, whilst the public keep indicating they don't want to finance parties. And why should they? A political party is a voluntary organisation. If it is unable to inspire people to fund it, it won't be able to inspire enough people to vote for it.

On other matters, the race to be the next US President continues in earnest, though I note that Dennis Kucinich has abandoned the race. (The Associated Press: Kucinich Abandons White House Bid) Kucinich was always a very long shot hope getting limited coverage and what coverage I've seen of his race has focused less on his position as one of the most socialist Democrats but instead on his new wife Elizabeth (who I was at university with though I can't recall us ever speaking). But as Kucinich was polling extremely lowly and was shut out of key debates, his withdrawal will do little to accelerate the Democrat race for the nomination. The question remains as to when John Edwards will accept the inevitable and pull out.

The economy is more worrying. For all the talk of rogue traders, I fear we're in for a world recession. That's not a good sign.

1 comment:

Documentary said...

Did he resign?. Or was he pushed by the police.


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