Prepare yourselves for the dictatorship.
The Tory attack on Opposition party funding is unprecedented and evil. David Cameron and his cronies, desperate to neuter a Labour Party that is finding its popularity again after decades as a pale-pink shadow of hard-right Conservative policies (if Jeremy Corbyn is hard-left, then David Cameron must be hard-right, right?), have thrown caution to the winds.
Their latest attack on the trade unions that defend UK workers’ rights against the naked aggression of Tory-supporting businesses will remove £6 million from Labour’s annual income, and they are also – unilaterally – cutting public funding received by Opposition parties (the so-called Short money).
Under long-standing convention, issues of party funding are agreed on a cross-party basis. The Tories have scrapped this in their bid to end Parliamentary democracy.
Labour has already considered several measures in response to the plan to cut Short money, including ending ‘pairing’, the process by which, if a minister or backbench Tory MP cannot attend a vote because of urgent business, a foreign trip or illness, Labour whips will designate one of their own MPs to abstain, so the two absent MPs cancel each other out.
And ‘the usual channels’ – the working relationships between the government and the main opposition party that go on behind the scenes – may also be obstructed in response to the same plan.
Labour – and the other parties – should go further.
If the Tories are determined to behave in this totalitarian way, they should receive a totalitarian response.
Not only should Labour suspend all co-operation with the Conservatives over Parliamentary business, including ‘pairing’, it should encourage all the other Opposition parties to do the same.
As a result, it should become impossible for the Conservative Government to pass any legislation at all.
There has been too much namby-pamby appeasement of these Tories. They are a minority-interest party acting against the good of the UK.
The only way to deal with their bullying is to stand up and put an end to it.
An expected £6m fall in Labour’s annual income as a result of legal changes being proposed by the Conservatives will make it impossible for the party to maintain its current structure, staffing or offices, a confidential party document released to the Guardian reveals.
The document calculates the party is expecting to lose as much as £6m in trade union funding as a result of the changes to the political levy being introduced in the trade union bill due to be debated in the House of Lords on Monday. The figure is the first internal party estimate of the impact of the bill on the party’s finances. It is in addition to separate cuts to so-called Short money – public funding received by opposition parties – that were included in the chancellor’s spending review in November.
The paper says the unions provide 20% of the party’s core funding and the consequences of the legal changes will be huge. It reads: “The party could not absorb a loss of £5-6 m and maintain its current structure. With an annual salary cost in excess of over 50% of total costs, it is clear that current staffing levels could not be sustained. In addition to a staffing review, all contracts would need to be challenged to remove any discretionary costs and offices considered for sale or sublet.”
The legal reforms being introduced by the Conservatives have been condemned as the most unfair alterations to political parties’ funding since the second world war. They mark an end to a long-standing convention that issues of party funding are agreed on a cross-party basis.
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