Monday, 26 March 2012
Cash For Cameron - Cut The Crap
The real reason the media is full of all this faux surprise and disdain is because the commoditisation of politics means that we have to be fooled into believing that political parties are there to respond to the views of the electorate. But, that was never the basis on which Political parties were formed. They were formed by groups of people who wanted to push a particular point of view, a particular set of ideas about how society should be organised. That being the case, especially in a "First Past The Post", "Winner Takes All" system, like in Britain, that means that the Party who wins has a mandate to pursue that set of ideas it was propounding, and that means on behalf of that section of society whose interests it was appealing to.
No one should be more surprised that the Tories take money from rich people, who then get the ear of the Government, than that the Tories, and their Liberal clones, last week, pushed through a Budget that also favoured the rich, and further attacked ordinary working people. Society is not divided into just two Classes, but it is divided into two great "Class Camps", as Marx put it in the Communist Manifesto. That is the Camp of Capital and the Camp of Labour. The Liberal-Tories represent the former, and Labour should represent the latter. There is nothing wrong, or surprising, then in the rich, and the representatives of Capital, giving money to the Liberal-Tories in return for them pursuing policies in their interests, any more than there is anything wrong with workers, through their union subscriptions, or through individual subscriptions, paying money to Labour for the same reason.
As the saying goes, "You pays your money, and you makes your choice." If you are a worker, and you vote Liberal-Tory, then why on Earth would you expect a Party, set up by the rich, and financed by the rich, to pursue policies in your interest??? The lesson is simple. If you are a worker don't vote for them! What you might expect, however, is that Labour, financed by, and supported by, the Trades Unions, would in the same way act on your behalf. The experience, of course, does not support such a belief. That is not because, rich people like Bernie Ecclestone, also donate money to Labour. It is because the Labour Party was set up by the Trades Unions who themselves, rather than setting themselves in opposition to Capital, saw their role as assisting in its success as the only means by which workers could also prosper.
In the same way that workers do not exercise control over their unions, or Consumer Co-operatives, because they fail to take an active part in their functioning, so they have failed to take an active part, on a mass scale in the functioning of their Party, and with the obvious consequence, as Roberto Michels set out in his Iron Law Of Oligarchy, that the central bureaucracies, of these organisations, assert their own interests. Those interests are closely connected with the need to continue to function within the existing system. Of course, that is not an argument against building Workers' Parties, or Trades Unions, or Worker Owned Co-operatives - or even participating in Consumer Co-operatives - to fail to do so would be Ultra-Left sectarianism. It is an argument for Marxists to insist on building all these organisations from the ground up, as mass organisations, whose focus is away from bargaining within the existing system, and towards the direct action, and self-organisation, and self-government of the working-class, based on direct participatory democracy, that Marx put forward, and which becomes necessary for workers if they are running their own Co-operative enterprise, their own Co-operative Housing, Community etc.
The worst thing that could come out of this would be if it led to the State financing of political parties. Already, the large salaries paid to MP's, by the State, ensures that those drawn into it, are largely careerist politicians, who see the joining of a Party as being like catching a bus. They choose which colour bus to catch based on which they think will get them to where they want to go most easily. If these career politicians no longer had to rely at all on having a Party machine behind them, made up of Party activists, who do have some ideological basis for joining a particular Party, then they could separate themselves completely, in order to operate in a world which was indeed one in which politics had become just another commodity to be sold to voters.
It is not the fact that the Tories take large sums of money from rich people that is shocking here. In large part, many of those rich people are likely to be as disappointed as Trade Union members in their donations to Labour. For the real Capitalists, the owners of the biggest companies like Microsoft, there is no need to pay money to have dinner with Cameron or any other politician. It is more likely to be the other way around, and certainly Governments fall over themselves to hand over money to get these companies to invest in their economies. In the end, it is the interests of these Big capitalists that win out, not the small fry, who feel the need to hand over the odd £1/4 million, in the hope of gaining some personal favour. What is shocking is the fact that the supposedly sophisticated media, of a developed country like Britain, have acted with such surprise at it being revealed.
What is a reason for outrage is not the fact that the Tories have been found out to be taking this money but the fact that, throughout Sunday, David Cameron, and Party Chairman, Michael Fallon, appeared on TV News reports asserting that the comments by the Party Treasurer, were just bluster, and could not have happened. But, today we find out that it HAD happened as Cruddas had said. Money had changed hands, and meetings in Downing Street had taken place, and contrary to what Fallon seemed to be suggesting - though in the interview with Andrew Neill, on the Sunday Politics he was very evasive - these meetings had not been recorded. In fact, this morning, Downing Street are insisting that they will not provide details of these meetings!
This seems remarkably similar to the proceedings, only a couple of weeks ago, when it came out that David Cameron's association with Charlie Brooks had led to him riding the Police horse he had been lent by the Metropolitan Police. At first, Cameron denied any knowledge of the horse, let alone having ridden it. Then a couple of days later he had to admit he had done so. Now we are told that these meetings did not take place, and could not have taken place, then we find out they did, but we will not be told the details of them! That is, above anything, just typical of the political incompetence of the Tories, an incompetence that has been apparent in much of their actions from the time of the Election. The last example of it was over the way they dealt with the "Granny Tax" in the Budget.
If I were a Tory donor, my main concern would be not getting value for money from such a bunch of amateurs.