Friday, 20 April 2012

Who funds who…

THE row over disclosing donors to Norn Iron’s political parties rose to the heady heights of parody this week.

While Naomi Long pledged to publish the Alliance Party’s donors, Prime Minister David Cameron, said he was willing to publish details of donors to the Conservative Party of Northern Ireland. Both them agreed willingly…

This is a long standing dispute in terms of open democracy. The argument goes: “Of course we’re willing to publish details of donors.” This is then countered by: “If it wasn’t for the security risk”.

Taking a long hard look at things we sort of tried to figure out what the security risk would be. Is it that the dissident movements will scour the lists looking for targets to attack?

This is, of course, a real and present danger for many party funders – the Monster Raving Looney Party are said to be particularly concerned.

However, it is realistic to assume that cowards will seek the softest target who is perhaps not as security conscious as police and army.

But – is this a realistic way to run a country?

Democracy should be based on transparency (something we should all remind MLAs about now and again) and therefore party donations should be made public.

Party donors should not be able to expect influence through donations rather their financial backing should be seen as support for that party’s policies.

And the more open L’il ole Norn Iron is then the less of a foothold the halfwits who take up weapons will have. We’re now away to play John Lennon’s Imagine and throw peace signs and love to our neighbours.

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