A thought on the Alliance Party Manifesto

The Alliance Manifesto is certainly the longest of any produced.  In the summary on page five they commit to:

Introduce transparency around political donations

What interests me is, has anyone gotten around to asking Alliance if any part of their manifesto is brought to us courtesy of money changing hands?

Seems a fair question in the circumstances.

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  • While it might have been cheeky to recover the cost of facilitated listening, my main concern would be that the money might have made some organisations hesitant from taking part.

    But then, firms, charities, public bodies and lobby groups pay good money to lobby politicians at their party conferences in a bid to bend listening ears. And parties claim to be listening to the electorate as they wander around streets ringing doorbells. So good on Alliance for opening their doors and offering to listen. Sounds cheaper than the DUP’s annual business dinner!

  • Comrade Stalin

    Maybe the Ulster Unionists might be more successful in elections, and not have to run to the Tories for help with all the red ink on their balance sheet, if they learned how to manage and raise funds properly.

  • Right now there is only one party which has published all donations received over £500.

  • Cynic2

    The equivalent of promising free pots of jam for everyone – the catch is that it’s in crates on the surface of Mars and you have to pick it up in person

  • Mac

    “In the summary on page five they commit to: Introduce transparency around political donations”

    By publishing a list of donations in their manifesto?

  • granni trixie

    Michael and others: you are on the wrong tack here as there is nothing to hide.

    As one who bakes and digs up “unwanted gifts” for Alliance tombolas and jumble sales, let me tell you I would love to know that Alliance had significant financial doners.Also, I know that by mecessity the current Alliance election Campaign is planned to keep within a modest budget – including the numbers of posters and other publicity.

    It would serve you better to ask therefore who can afford mega postering and for instance also ask the UUP about what they did with monies from Tory coffers for their last election. (where they got a hammering, anyway).

  • Comrade Stalin

    granni, indeed, and the standard non-concessionary membership subscription is something like £50-60 if I recall correctly.

    And given that the manifesto is, well, public, there are plenty of opportunities for people to discover clauses that say “free beer for the chief executive of Acme Inc”. A situation which, as you say, is manifestly different from the one where the UUP haven’t even publicly disclosed how much money they got from Ashcroft – or what was promised in return.

  • It seems to me that the Alliance Party is the victim of “where is the catch?” cynicism from political opponents who are actually impressed with their efforts.

  • Mac

    “Michael and others: you are on the wrong tack here as there is nothing to hide.”

    Perhaps publishing donations rather than a commitment to publishing donations would be a better approach then.

    “It seems to me that the Alliance Party is the victim of “where is the catch?” cynicism from political opponents who are actually impressed with their efforts.”

    I’m not a political opponent, Alliance tend to get my second pref votes when I can bothered voting. I do recognise cheap talk when I see it however.
    When the decision rests entirely in your own hands either do it or don’t do it. Don’t wave it in front of the electorate’s nose like the remote possibility of actually living up to the standards you want to set for others is something we should have to give you our vote to get.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Perhaps publishing donations rather than a commitment to publishing donations would be a better approach then.

    You can’t really do these things unilaterally.

    I’m not a political opponent, Alliance tend to get my second pref votes when I can bothered voting. I do recognise cheap talk when I see it however.

    What’s the cheap talk ? It’s not like the letter quoted above had “top secret” written on it. Even then, these events would happen even if there were disclosure requirements in place. Most likely nobody would pay any attention to them, as many of the parties operate several of such events per year.

    All political parties, the ones which are interested in being financially self-sufficient that is, operate sessions similar to this. As Alan pointed out above, the DUP are well known for their business breakfasts. Companies and corporations also pay to sponsor events within party conferences.

    I think it is legitimate to ask the question about whether or not party manifestos are subject to undue influence by private concerns. But I mean, £30 ? It’s chicken feed.

  • Mac

    “What’s the cheap talk ?”

    I explained what it was above.
    Either publish your donations because you believe it’s the right thing to do or don’t.
    If you keep them secret, don’t be suprised when people scoff at the idea of ‘committing to be transparent’ in a manifesto.

    I’m not interested in £30 donations, perhaps your party (I’m assuming you’re an Alliance member of some sort given how quick you were in with the whatabout) should take a leaf out of the green’s book and publish donations over £500.

    What can I say, I don’t vote for commitments to do things that a party believes it should already be doing. It’s a big turn off.

  • Comrade Stalin said “You can’t really do these things unilaterally.”

    But the Green Party has. Didn’t you click on my link above?

    We actually had to get permission to publish our donations, so biased the other way is the current system.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I explained what it was above.
    Either publish your donations because you believe it’s the right thing to do or don’t.

    And I explained that it’s not as simple as that. Otherwise it would have been done. You need legislation and you have to have all the parties on a level playing field.

    But you are right – people will judge it on its merits. I’d chalk this up along side double jobbing – if you ask people on the whole, they’ll say it’s bad, but they’ll still go out and vote for the parties who practice it.

    Dave:

    But the Green Party has. Didn’t you click on my link above?

    No harm to you Dave, but it’s easy to do things like that when you aren’t a serious player for any more than a single assembly seat and a couple of council seats.

  • Mac

    “And I explained that it’s not as simple as that. Otherwise it would have been done. You need legislation and you have to have all the parties on a level playing field.”

    I’ll show you mine if you show me yours? Behind the bike shed politics.

    If a party that you condescendingly exclude from your list of ‘serious players’ can manage it, why can’t the AP? Wouldn’t 5 and 6% of the total council and assembly seats be big time enough to be able to approach donors who gave over £500 in a year and ask for their permission?