Sunday, November 29, 2009

Lib Dem Voice: Schadenfreude as Cons Busted For Currying Favour

  • Busted? Well not exactly. That's just LOL applying a sensational headline. To some playful Lib Dem mischief. The LDV boys report that the Cons attacking the very marginal (with a retirement at least, this time the Labour incumbent is restanding) Stourbridge have been providing "treats" or hospitality for certain voters.

    Food was provided by the Con candidate for a group of pensioners in her own home we're told, at a notional budget of £10 per head, and there was also hospitality we hear for the local Muslim community. HERE.

    The Tory is Margot James, a Vice Chair of the Party nationally for "women", and the person wondering whether the petits fours, beer and sandwiches, buffet lunches are cool or uncool is the Labour incumbent Lynda Waltho MP.

    With the request being that given this reported hospitality the Electoral Commission simply clarify what is meant in electoral law by "treating".

    You'll have seen Blackadder's Rotten Borough episode? You'll understand that just as rich men bought commissions in the military and pupilages and country parishes, so back in the day there were prospective MPs who bought a candidacy and then purveyed pies and beer and even pressed money on prospective supporters. Back in the day.

    When I took my athlete Tarus out campaigning in Gorton a year or so back he explained how "treating" was the norm in Kenya to this day. Treating and beating. Beating and treating. Very strange he thought to be considering the politics rather than the beers and of course the kith and kinship. And the beating. And latterly killing.

    But we don't do "treating" here any more. Do we?

    If the Electoral Commission respond to Lynda we'll have clarified buttering up. Do you remember when "clarified butter" was a stalwart of the oh so modern Galloping Gourmet's TV kitchen and olive oil scarcely a twinkle in their eye? Enough of that.

    LOL think there are a huge number of areas in which the Electoral commission should clarify and regulate more than at present. We've blogged about that before.

    And we will do again. It's quite extraordinary for example that a politician can extract a donation from anyone, irrespective of how large it is compared to their wealth; how healthy, wealthy and wise they are if you like; whether they've taken independent advice or not; and without a cooling off period to boot.

    That's one area of electoral practice we'd like to see sorted out.

    But meanwhile we are also very amused at the Lib Dems standing by pretending butter wouldn't melt in their mouths. It would so! Here's our comment at LDV:

    Meanwhile in Rochdale Paul Rowen MP and Rochdale Lib Dems continue to get favourable coverage and their opponents unfavourable or non existent coverage from a local publisher .. who happens to have a substantial contract from PR Paul financed by the taxpayer through PR's PCA.
    And he has an approving chorus from some video makers, and their peacenik friends, who have apparently received well paid commissions (though unseen AFAIK by constituents) also from taxpayers' money.
    And let's not start on the Tax Payers Alliance accusation that Rochdale is the only local authority whose use of community cohesion / anti terror funds is not an open book. Which adds fuel to local complaints - valid or not, who knows - of partisan awards to Lib Dem pals.
    I don't think any of these Rochdale cases where influence is earnt by spending cash would count as "treating" however. The candidates in these alleged cases are not using their own money!


    Anonymous said...

    Never mind treating. It's pork barrel politics you should be looking at in Rochdale.

    The Lib Dems do it every year

    Anonymous said...

    Didn't Private Eye report on Zulf Ali putting discount vouchers for his jean shop on his Lib Dem leaflets?

    Didn't he get his backside slapped for breaking Cyril Smith's 11th commandment...

    don't get caught.

    Anonymous said...

    Hmm, and who did Zulf Ali get his shop off I wonder?

    Was it a property developer known for making big donations to the Lib Dems?

    Was it rent free?

    Rochdale Rapper said...

    one or two businessmen in Rochdale have more power than the rest of the electorate put together.

    All it takes to get the politicians to bend to the will of these businessmen is not a voting slip but a chequebook.

    In rotten Rochdale, the pen is mightier than the ballot box.

    The sick thing is that the money "invested" pays handsome dividends.

    Chris Paul said...

    Leaving all that East Lancs cynicism aside bros and sists do you think Lib Dem Voice have a point about someone providing vittals for a few pensioners being bang out of order?

    Anonymous said...

    there is no such thing as a free lunch