On Thursday the BBC’s Nick Robinson revealed that Conservative Central Office briefed the Tory press on how to smear the Liberal Democrats. One of the pillars of our democracy is a free and independent press. A press that we all know will scrutinise politicians not be led by politicians. Publicly no politicians wants Britain to become like Berlusconi’s Italy. But this revelation indicates how close we could become.
The good news is that this revelation significantly boosted Liberal Democrat fund raising – records donations through the web.
The bad news. IF the Conservatives were to win outright do we believe the press would truly scrutinise them?
Isn’t the knowing silence over MPs expenses for all those decades by political hacks one of the reasons things got so very bad.
One of my councillor colleagues testified to the London Regional Parliamennts Select Committee regarding the 2011 census. The MPs heard a unified message from Newham, Southwark and Westminster councils about how hard it is to count residents.
Each resident attracts roughly £600 of funding from central government.
Currently central government believes 270,000 residents are residents in Southwark. Southwark currently has 320,000 people registered with GPs. That means roughly £30M of central government grants are not being made to Southwark.
It seems unlikely as planned the 2011 Census will close any of that gap. Worringly it could well open it up further.
Councillors declarations are not yet online which is disappointing as I had expected these to be on the web at the same time. But promised they’re coming soon. If you have any thoughts or comments on any of this please do let me know.