Chalk and cheese; why you cant compare the union link to Ashcroft…
It always amuses me immensely to see Conservatives and various right-wingers bemoan the Labour link with the trade unions. They love to peddle the paranoid line that ‘he who pays the piper….’ suggesting a Labour government is in the pockets of the unions. If only some might say; however, such a view is not bourne out by history which has produced numerous bitter clashes between the two sides.
Secondly, this is always to distract to attention from scrutiny of the donations that the Conservative Party receive from the likes of Lord Ashcroft. Liberal Democrats often equate the two but the fact is that they are not the same thing; for one thing, as organisations unions have a degree of accountability for their actions. This is shown by the fact that members can, if they want, disaffiliate their union from the Labour Party. Who holds Lord Ashcroft accountable? He is accountable to nobody but himself.
The structural links between Labour and the unions are at least transparent so people can judge the amount of influence they have for themselves. Who knows what degree of influence Ashcroft receives in return for his money? Nobody because there is no transparency; we do not know what is said behind closed doors and what promises Cameron makes in return for Ashcroft’s largess.
Furthermore, at least we know what the unions are, what their policies are and where the money comes from; the Conservatives continue to do their best to evade inquiry into his precise tax status. All of this points to a larger question; why is it wrong in a representative democracy that *organisations* that maybe diminished but still collectively combine sizeable numbers of people be denied the right to use their resources to pay towards their own representation or support a party they feel advances this?
The answer is, of course, it isn’t; the union link does not disenfranchise anybody in the way the Ashcroft influence does so the Conservative scaremongering simply doesn’t wash.