07 December 2009

Transparency And A Better Democracy

The Today Programme on BBC and the Buxton Advertiser aren't usually mentioned in the same sentence. But a letter sent to the Advertiser arrived in our inbox this morning, and this was immediately after the Today programme covered exactly the same subject.

The final portion of the letter:

"Sadly, Mr [Ken] Hope and Cllr Bingham are missing the bigger picture in a welter of tedious party political twaddle. Do they really want our politics paid for and dominated by super-rich non-UK taxpayers or by those who refuse to say where they live for tax purposes? All our three main parties are guilty of condoning this.

I have already publically condemned the Lib Dems’ former donor Michael Brown, but Cllr Bingham is loath to do the same with the Tories’ biggest donor, Lord Ashcroft.

Ashcroft has been extensively investigated by a national newspaper, a national magazine and some on-line bloggers. These reports make worrying reading. Yet Lord Ashcroft – famed for his law suits – has apparently issued no writs.

The Prime Minister of Ashcroft’s adopted home of Belize, Dean Barrow, has also savaged the peer this week and has implied that our military base in Belize is at risk if Ashcroft gets a job in any Tory Government.

I am sure Cllr Bingham would like the issue of party funding and ‘non-dom’ supporters to go away – but it just won’t. It also made headlines last week in the Tories’ most influential mouthpiece, The Daily Telegraph. There is fury at all levels in the party that their ‘green guru’ Zac Goldsmith, prospective parliamentary candidate for Richmond, failed to declare his non-domicile tax status when accepting nomination.

I believe the super-rich who have their wealth tucked away in dodgy tax havens have no place in UK politics. I’m sure they couldn’t care less about the plight of hill farmers in the High Peak, the old and disabled in Buxton and Chapel or the young unemployed in Whaley Bridge and New Mills. I suspect their real motivation is power and influence. These issues concern me passionately as I have lived most of my life in High Peak.

We need a thorough clean-up of UK politics and party funding must be at the top of the agenda. We must rid ourselves of these political parasites and produce a much better democracy than we have now."
Produce a much better democracy than we have now?   While the Ashcroft secret tax haven carry-on continues this very simple goal will continue to be frustrated.

For the sake of our country, the Conservatives have got to do better than this.

The author of the letter is Alistair Macdonald of Whaley Bridge.
The photo is of the living Lord Ashcroft, in front of a picture of the deceased Winston Churchill.