It’s perhaps a little obvious, to suggest that politics and a desire for power often go hand in hand, yet since the 2015 election the Conservatives have been unsubtle, to say the least, in pursuing the party’s desire to hold onto power no matter what.
There were hints during the long years of the Coalition of what was to come; the Liberal Democrats’ horror at proposed boundary changes for constituencies (proposals which are back and as bad as ever), the Tories’ horror at the mere thought of electoral reform. Now Osborne (for it is said that he is the architect of such plans) has no need to pander to the supposedly steadying hand of his minority partner Nick Clegg, there is no stopping him. The sheer chutzpah of what is happening in Westminster is matched only by the whimper of discord with which the proposals have been met.
This is a power grab so blatant it surely shows the Tories contempt for the British public. It is time to get angry.
This story has been simmering for a while, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you aren’t quite up to speed; the press have been strangely reticent in their reporting of possibly the biggest political scandal of the decade (to such a degree that leading political talking heads Alan Johnson and Michael Portillo appeared to know nothing of the claims whenquestioned by Andrew Neil).
The Party is accusedof breaking election spending rules by failing to declare accommodation costs for activists involved in the now infamous ‘Battle Bus’ campaign, which is thought to have benefited 29 Conservative candidates fighting for marginal seats. The buses are believed to have played a crucial role in helping 22 Conservative candidates win marginal seats (including 14 from the Liberal Democrats in the South West alone).
Channel 4 News, which broke the story as the rest of the media deliberately looked elsewhere, has alleged that the Conservatives failed to declare some £38,000 worth of accommodation costs. CCHQ claim this was a simple administrative error; the costs incorrectly recorded as part of the candidates’ expenses, rather than as part of national campaign spending.
Yet the (normally toothless) Electoral Commission is taking the matter extremely seriously. Eight Police Forces are investigating the claims raised by Channel 4 News.SNP Politician Pete Wishart has written to the Metropolitan Police to request a nationwide investigation into the allegations.