Former Labour Party Prime Minister Mike Moore calls for the repeal of the Electoral Finance Act – some extracts:
Dissent is the lifeblood and oxygen of progressive politics. It always has been.
We social democrats trace our history of dissent back through the centuries as we wrung concessions out of the powerful and privileged.
Years after I was elected to Parliament, I read an interview with my mother who told the story of delivering leaflets supporting the workers at night with me in a pram covered with illegal leaflets. As a boy, I delivered ‘No Maoris, No Tour’ leaflets. More recently we saw splendid dissent during the anti-Vietnam War, anti-nuclear and the anti-apartheid struggle. One current minister was ejected physically from the parliamentary gallery for protesting against the extension of the powers of the Security Intelligence Service.
This short history of democratic Labour and dissent is to remind people of Labour’s traditions. Why and how we stand on the shoulders of others in our historic commitment to human rights; freedom at home and abroad.
Why then this historic blunder of the Electoral Finance Act, which contradicts this fine tradition?
Is it all a cock-up or a conspiracy that we have enacted such a repressive, unworkable, flawed law to cover election year activists?
Why should you have to register with the state if you want to oppose or support a political party, or promote public policy? Lawyers have suggested that cartoonists who seek to persuade readers could be covered, even theatre.
Even MPs who voted for the legislation can’t work out how to spend their own electorate allowances.
People are going to test this law, perhaps get a terminally-ill person in a hospice to be an agent. A heroic defence was suggested, that is the law of common sense. Unique in world jurisprudence – tell that to the judge or electoral commissioner who closed down an anti-Government webpage. The blogger wouldn’t give his address because he lived at home and might upset mom. Is this silly or sinister? Both.
My plea to the party I love is to just repeal the act. Accept it’s wrong in substance and principle before it hurts us further and does the exact opposite of what’s intended by encouraging big money to circumvent this law. J’Accuse.
I expect the usual suspects will attack Mike Moore, rather than listen to his message.No tag for this post.