Some news stories are genuinely startling. This morning’s revelation that Jack Dromey, the Labour Party’s own treasurer, did not know that his party had borrowed millions of pounds is one such story. The fact that Mr Dromey has made his anger public is confirmation of the growing rebellion within the Labour movement against Blair and his style of leadership.
Nigel Evans MP, who following his pursuit of Tessa Jowell appears to have emerged as the leading Tory sleazebuster, provided the BBC with a prize quote:
"Even Enron would be amazed at hearing the sort of accounting practices that are going on within the Labour Party. I have never known anything like it. It is quite staggering."
The Tory silence on this issue is not staggering but it is frustrating. Backbenchers Nigel Evans and Quentin Davies should not have to carry all the political water on this issue. The nature of party funding and the trading of peerages for cash stinks to high heaven. The Conservative Party should take a stand on this issue. It should say that hidden loans are unacceptable and that no party should receive more than £100,000 from any individual in any one year. Both of those two measures would put flesh on David Cameron’s pledge to stand up to big business. It would also force all of Britain’s political parties to democratise their funding base. This doesn’t have to happen tomorrow. It could happen after a two to four year period in which the political parties could – with the help of the internet – develop a wider funding base. See this post for more background on ConservativeHome’s political funding campaign.