Ritchie will reveal SDLP party donors if elected…

According to the Belfast Telegraph

“From April 1, 2010, the SDLP will voluntarily publish the names of all political donations over the threshold of £5,000,” the Ritchie document pledges. “Currently, political parties in Northern Ireland must only report donations over £5,000 to the Electoral Commission, who must keep the name of donors entirely confidential, given the concern over personal security. I believe that the time has come for the public to know who exactly provides the financial fuel that keeps party political machines in operation.”

  • This smacks of extreme naivete from Margaret. Does a political party revealing the identity of its donor’s score any points with the wider public? I doubt it.

    What it will do is put off some people who otherwise might support a political party. NI parties were kept exempt for a reason. In fact Mark Durkan often led the calls for exemption in NI.

    A wierd intervention from Margaret’s people.

  • Mark McGregor

    Why wait? I have the SDLP £5K+ donors list

  • Marcionite

    Typical of the holier-than-thou SDLP. Kneejerk reaction and following the coattails of similar worthy but electorally zero-impact initiatives in GB which mean nothing to the man/woman in the street.

    In NI, there are good reasons to keep donations quiet. The amount of the sums involved are hardly significant in world terms, its hardly the GOP or Democrats league is it?

    The SDLP look like they’re going to elect the over promoted councillor Ritchie over the bulliant self serving McDonnell (Hobson’s Choice). A party led by insipidness and santimony.

    I remember in the early 90’s that the Omagh branch behaved very very sniffily towards members from council estates. Independant councillor Johnny McLaughlin, a socialist, joined the SDLP but left after a short while. I know the first point in this paragraph is anecdotal but I know it to be true. I would shed no tears for their demise.

    They may have had a vision for powersharing but a party that cares more for the clouds than the paving stones is set for a long hard fall.

  • Well said SDLP. Hopefully all parties in NI will follow this lead, although I think the 5000 limit is too high, perhaps 500 would be a more appropriate level to set it at.

  • brendan

    More 6th form politics from Team Margaret.

  • Rory Carr

    “From April 1, 2010, the SDLP will voluntarily publish the names of all political donations over the threshold of £5,000,” the Ritchie document pledges.

    …and in a sotto voce aside Alisdair McDonnell adds, “That’s if there are any bloody donations to report if you get to be leader.”

  • John O’Connell

    It’s not a bad idea, but I think the party should consult donors first before making this policy.

    We don’t want to lose the donors we already have.

  • granni trixie

    As a member of a political party in NI, I would love this problem!

  • claire

    Brendan
    You should be ashamed of yourself. The prolonged McDonnell/Ritchie contest has been vigorously fought,fairly fought and relatively civilised with little of the inevitable intra-party dirty linen which every party has being washed in public. That is how it should.

    You claim to be an SDLP supporter, there are only a couple of days to go, yet the only intervention you can make is a snide one which gives comfort to our enemies. Grow up.

  • Sean Og

    A completely daft idea from Ms Ritchie. The poor girl hasn’t got a clue if this is her USP.

  • slug

    This is a good idea. It cleans up politics.

  • Sean, I’d be interested to know how you could possibly know if it’s daft? Presumably Ms Ritchie knows the financial and fundraising regime within her party, and has drafted this policy based on that and on what she believes needs to be done moving forward. It’s time some transparency was brought back to politics, it seems she’s taking a lead.

  • By the way, “poor girl”? Nice touch. I think I know who hasn’t got a clue around here.

  • Comrade Stalin

    yet the only intervention you can make is a snide one which gives comfort to our enemies

    The stoops have “enemies” ?

  • claire

    I know Comrade Stalin, who’d have guessed? Not of the enemy of the peace process / securocrat variety mind.

    Sean Og – just for clarity, this isn’t Margaret’s stated USP – the Telegraph picked this item from a 27 page org plan. It brings NI into line with GB and ROI, and as others have said, brings in some much needed transparency. Horrendus I know, but if they will allow women to be involved in politics…Thomas Legg in a skirt?

  • claire

    I know Comrade Stalin, who’d have guessed? Not of the enemy of the peace process / securocrat variety mind.

    Sean Og – just for clarity, this isn’t Margaret’s stated USP – the Telegraph picked this item from a 27 page org plan. It brings NI into line with GB and ROI, and as others have said, brings in some much needed transparency. Horrendus I know, but if they will allow women to be involved in politics…Thomas Legg in a skirt?

  • brendan

    Sorry to have offended you Claire, but I should be ‘ashamed of myself’? For disagreeing with a political policy, and on a political blog too?

    That’s quite a leap you took.

  • Wabbits

    I applaud Margaret Ritchie. This should be done as a matter of course by all parties here and the SDLP are leading on the issue. They should be applauded if and when they take this action. Shining yet more light on how our flawed democracy works.

    I understand the need in the past to keep such business private but, as the Shinners are so fond of telling us all the time, we are in a new dispensation. So if that’s true, what then does anybody have to hide anymore?

    It’s time we had full transparency on this issue as then we (the electorate)can see who is scratching whos back for what reason and to what effect.

    If property developers, for example, are giving money to political parties just to keep them sweet it is hardly the way we want business conducted.

    If I could see who donates to political parties in my constituency I would be better able to understand the motives behind some of the decisions that are made by our politicians at, for example planning meetings. That way I could also decide if I want to vote for them or not.

    At the minute I can’t compare the meerkat.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    But wouldnt it also be a good thing for our flawed democracy if we knew the political backgrounds of journalists and whether they were members of cultural/religious/social organisations .so that we can determine their value as commentators.

    While Journalists are often loudly looking for “transparency” its an issue they dont see a need for.
    How am I supposed to know who is a Mason in the BBC or UTV……go into the newsroom with my trouser leg rolled up.

  • Far from 6th form politics this is a much-needed move for Northern Irish politics if we ever want to move forward. The public, and indeed party members too, have a right to know in case undeclared corporate or individual interests are having undue influence over our political system. Does Stakeholder have any interests to declare Brendan? Why are you so opposed to this?

  • brendan

    No intertests and as usual my contributions are personal, not corporate and don’t necessarily represent the view etc etc…

    I am oppossed for the same reasons I have heard Mark Durkan outline in the past. Unfortunately NI is not yet the type of society where everyone feels entirely comfortable about showing overt support for a specific political party. That’s an unfortunate fact but a fact nevertheless.

    This proposal sounds great but could deter donors. It doesn’t stand up.

  • Sean Og

    Why is it daft?

    1. If I was a businessman living in Newry or Derry considering making a donation to the SDLP I would certainly think twice about if my donation was to be made public. You could expect the local discidents round at your door looking for their share before long.

    2. Cleaning up politics is a good thing but there has to be a level playing field for all parties. By going on this solo run Ms Ritchie risks putting the SDLP at a disadvantage. Therefore I believe it is daft! Daft for the SDLP.