Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Hereditary funding

It's an open secret that the Tory campaign in this constituency is centred around one issue only, the repeal of the hunting act, although the candidate carefully follows his own advice to talk about everything but that. It's been perfectly clear for many months however that the campaign is almost entirely funded by hunting supporters.

The Daily Mail reported yesterday that the extent of donations to the party and its candidates from pro-hunting groups may be investigated by the parliamentary watchdogs.

I hope that the watchdogs will go further and look at the much wider issue of people with a vested interest donating large sums to policy makers. It happens on both sides of this debate, as well as on a range of other issues. I've always been uneasy with any suggestion that policy might be determined, or might appear to be determined, not on the merits of the argument, but on the size of the donations made to the policy-makers.

Locally, the Tory campaign received another hunting-related donation in May this year, when Lord Daresbury passed them £2,000. Lord Daresbury is, or was, the Chair of the Masters of Fox Hounds Association.

His peerage is of the hereditary variety. The fourth Baron, as he is, seems to owe his title largely to the fact that his great-grandfather was a Tory MP, whose own hereditary title was upgraded from a mere Baronetcy.

(As an aside, the current Baron used his maiden speech in the House of Lords to oppose the introduction of the smoking ban in pubs and restaurants at a time when he ran a business which just happened to own some 2,000 licensed premises. Interest properly noted in his speech, of course.)

The old saying is that he who pays the piper calls the tune. It's obvious who's paying the piper locally - and therefore who's calling the tune.

1 comment:

julius senn said...

Something all politicians may be missing is that we need to have a process of afforestation for the future of Wales green economyand prosperity, the hunting lobby certainly will feel this to be antagonistic to their bloodthirsty pursuits as bare and barren green fields is more conducive and more the order of the day to them