Thursday’s editorial had a good suggestion:
The purposes of the bill – to provide more transparency and accountability in the democratic process, prevent the undue influence of wealth and promote public participation in parliamentary democracy – are admirable, but the legislation is a dog’s breakfast.
The Government should concede defeat, pull the bill and establish an independent body to overhaul not only the electoral finance laws but the parliamentary spending rules that were the subject of Auditor-General Kevin Brady’s damning inquiry last year.
Such a body would almost certainly conclude that the fairest and simplest solution is to make the system more transparent. Voters are not stupid. If they know where the money is coming from, they know the purposes for which it is being spent.
An independent body would also almost certainly conclude that MPs should not be able to use public funds to subsidise their campaigns, something the recently passed Appropriation (Continuation of Interim Meaning of Funding for Parliamentary Purposes) Act gives them the ability to do.
Contrary to Labour and its allies, most people do not believe the appropriate response to Mr Brady’s inquiry was to make legal, practices that were previously illegal. Rather, it was for MPs to comply with the law as it stood.
The last line is especially true. Most people who break the law, then have to comply with it in future. Labour however not only retrospectively changes the law to wipe out their previously illegal behaviour, but also changes it for the next election so they can repeat their illegal acts, legally.