3/01/2010

Tories and Labour squabbling like children in the playground - "But he's doing it too !"

When I am dealing with a disagreement between children, when it is clear they are both in the wrong and both behaving in a way that is not acceptable, I let them know that the argument "I'm doing it because he is doing it" or "But he's doing it too", are simply not good enough reasons for doing something.

If it is wrong then it is wrong, whoever is doing it. So whilst I agree with Iain Dale that the Labour Party are showing stunning hypocrisy in criticising Lord Ashcroft's tax status, it is actually no defence for the Tory Party to say that they are doing it because Labour are doing it.

That was the argument many MPs made in making false expenses claims. It didn't wash then and it doesn't wash now.

There is, however, another subtly difference between labour and Tory tax dodgers making donations. The Labour people do not have a hand in the political strategy of the party. They make donations, but do not seek influence within Labour. Compare this to Lord Ashcroft who plays a major role in the Tories target seat strategy. This is a point the Tories choose to ignore when making comparisons.

11 comments:

Alan said...

Completely agree - political parties should not be chasing big donations, either from unions or non-doms.

Like the US there should be a limit (it's a few thousand dollars I think) in any calendar year. Making it tax deductible, like charitable contributions, will encourage a culture of lots of people making small donations. Parties would then be less driven by wealthy individuals

By the way, remind me - did the LibDems ever pay back Michael Brown's fraudulent money?

Norfolk Blogger said...

There is a difference, and this is often overlooked. When he offered the money, the Lib Dems sought adivce from the electoral commission who said it was fine to take the money. They did not knowingly take money from someone known to be avoiding UK tax.

The Lib Dems did everything properly, by the book, to check the money was okay to accept.

Alan said...

The electoral commission have also approved the donations by Labour & Tory non-doms. The "book", as you put it, makes no moral judgements. The non-doms like Paul, Mittal, Cohen and Ashcroft have all paid the tax they are required to under the law (even if that tax status is morally questionable).

There is, however a difference: their money was legally obtained, whereas Michael Brown's was fraudulently obtained. If the money stolen were a bicycle or a car, you would not be allowed to keep it.

My point is twofold - all parties should get off the drug of big individual donations, and move to capped individual donations...

...and you have to tread carefully when the LibDems are not in a great moral position themselves. Attacking the other parties sounds a little like the kind of childish behaviour you were complaining about!

Anonymous said...

Labour and Conservatives accept money from legitimate businessmen who are legally trying to limit the amount of tax they pay - essentially legal theft (a tautology I know).

Lib Dems accept money from convicted criminals - who is worst?

Johnny Norfolk said...

The 3 parties have ALL had donations from Non Doms. why is it only the Tories that are questioned by the BBC in particular.

But what is the problem If some one pays tax to the country where it is earned what wrong with that. If Lord Ascroft is earning in a 3rd world country and paying tax in that country that is how it should be.

Norfolk Blogger said...

The point with Ashcroft is his denial, for nearly ten years, of the truth, and the influence he has on the Tory Party.

s'gruntled Con said...

Ashcroft has caused more problems for us by being so evasive for so long. This is very poor media management by Cameron. No wonder we are struggling inthe polls.

Johnny Norfolk said...

He has broken no laws. Lib and labour should look to themselves befor going off on one.

Norfolk Blogger said...

No response then to your assertion about the tories and the eco town then ?

Anonymous said...

The real question is why it has taken this long, for something that everyone knew, to be reported in the 'free press'

eh?

Johnny Norfolk said...

I was talking about the Tory party not local coucils.Local Tories are free to make up their own minds and that can be at odds with the party line, thats healthy.

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