Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Cash for honours....

Surprise surprise the CPS has abandoned any intention of a prosection (much to the chagrin of the Metropolitan Police who after several high profile cases have gone wrong - Burrell, Who wants to be a Millionnaire - were aching for something that would come somewhere near justifying more than a million quid being spent on such a hopeless case).

The people of London must be fortunate indeed to have so little real crime that they have a couple of millions to spend on various wild goose chases initiated in this case by the SNP, who may well have won the Scottish election as a result.

Of course there is a statistical correlation between being a donor and receiving an honour - this is well known under both parties - a case for reform not criminal sanction. I for one think that people who donate to political parties and other good causes should be eligible for honours (though not positions in Parliament) - provided all is out in the open. And there are numberous bodies that can investigate including the Electoral Commission itself.

(I've previously blogged on the need for an entirely elected Upper Chamber).

Anyway - it is clearly illegal for honours to be sold to the highest bidder, like on ebay and there's a strong case for an elected chamber to remove any such considerations in the case of becoming a member of the Upper Chamber. Similarly there's a case for more state funding of political arties, especially in the field of political education and policy work as well as things like a limit on spending and so on.

But if we don't have state funding we have funding by individuals and I think that to say that you can be given an honour up until the point where you make a donation is ludicrous.

Yes we need reform of party funding as well as of the House of Lords - but these are political issues and arguments and should not be driven by a politicised police force using leaks via the tabloid press and certainly seeking to prejudice the public in a way that would be unacceptable in any other investigation.

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