Cash for Politics
While I''ve not been blogging recently, much of my time has been taken up with producing Cash for Politics, a Radio 4 documentary about party political funding. Presented by Nick Robinson, the programme explores wider issues surrounding the recent scandals, such as why parties find it difficult to raise money without getting into trouble and whether that might change in the future. It was broadcast this morning, but you can listen online via the BBC's 'listen again' facility.
And it does have a freedom of information angle. Some of those we interviewed are concerned that making details of party donations public has caused more problems than it solved. They think that rather than reducing the public perception of sleaze, transparency has fostered it by allowing the media to publish innuendo about large party donors. And some fear that increasing state funding of parties would exacerbate this problem - because more public money would have to be accompanied by greater oversight and scrutiny, more attempts by parties to exploit loophols in the rules, and that in turn would mean more 'scandals', whether real or manufactured.
I plan to return to blogging after the new year.