Monday, March 27, 2006
Margaret Beckett: You are a Hypocrite
Guido has scored another exclusive with his letter to Margaret Beckett. Visit his site for the full details, but essentially he is asking her to make the donors to her Blind Trust, which she ran in the 1990s, public. He is saying that her failure to do so will raise questions of hypocrisy after her letter to David Cameron asking him to make public the names of the Tory supporters who have lent the Party money. Let me make my position clear on all this. I believe it would be best if the names were indeed made public. I have always thought transparency is best in all aspects of politics, but there is a problem here. If you have entered into what is effectively a commercial agreement with someone and part of that agreement is a confidentiality clause then you have every right to insist that the agreement remains confidential. No laws have been broken. No regulation has been ignored. If not, what you are asking the leader of the Conservative Party to do is to breach a confidence. Understandably David Cameron has not done this, and no amount of pressure should force him to do so. We all know the Labour Party is trying to deflect the fire away from itself onto the Conservatives, but apart from The Guardian and The Times, few in the media seem to be falling for it. I am quite sure that Jonathan Marland (the Tory Party treasurer) will have been trying to persuade the lenders to go public, but they are quite within their rights not to do so. Again, this whole episode moves us an inch closer to state funding. It will soon be totally inevitable because people will just stop donating money or lending it to political parties if this is the kind of flack they can expect. In only nine years New Labour has corrupted the political process to such an extent that anyone who donates money to a political party is accused of wanting something in return. You look at the New Labour peerages and the people who have lent them money and you can see why that is. For them to say the Conservatives are at it too is stretching things too far. The Conservatives have nothing they can give to donors even if they wanted it. They're not in power. They don't have control over the awarding of government contracts. They don't control the honours system. Indeed, part of the reason why Conservative lenders may not want to go public is that they fear this sleaze ridden government might exact revenge and not award their companies contracts if they donate to the Opposition. Yes, that's how low things have got. And there's only one person to blame for this. Our 'white than white' Prime Minister- you remember, the one who tells us he's a pretty straight kinda guy'. The fact that he ever felt the need to say that should have told us all we needed to know. The sooner the Labour Party get rid of him the better.