Monday, March 20, 2006

Peeragegate

I'm struggling to get worked up about peeragegate, or whatever imaginative name they're giving the loans for peerages 'scandal'.

It's ... no, too late. I have now actually given up the unequal struggle until such time as someone can explain to me what is the material difference between a rich bloke buying influence/favours from the government and, say, the voters of Longbridge (of Rover plant fame) getting a pre-election bung of my money to vote the 'right' way (you may recall ministers being afraid that the necessary 'correct' votes would not be forthcoming this time last year if Rover was allowed to go bust).

Let me put it even more starkly: what is the material difference between a rich bloke buying influence/favours from the government and, say, Dean and Michaela Scrote, lifelong welfare-staters demanding higher state pensions or better state housing in return for, er, voting the right way?

The only difference I can see is that the rich bloke uses his own money to get what he wants from the government. The other examples I have given do not.

The rich bloke says to ministers, 'Here is some of my money, please give me something which it is in your power to bestow'.

The voters of Longbridge/Dean and Michaela say to ministers, 'Here is our vote; you see that bloke over there, the wealthier-looking one? In return for our vote, please give us some of his money'.

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