I'm sorry to disappoint Chris Paul but I haven't given up blogging.
It's just been a busy week - a night off to see Babyshambles at Wembley Arena on Tuesday, Alan Davidson's funeral on Friday, and in between being Agent for the Springfield Ward by-election.
Like one of my least favourite Lib Dems Meral Ece I have been out canvassing in Springfield. Unlike her I haven't picked up any comments about recent national events having an impact on people's voting intentions. We've now found 1300 Labour "promises" - with over 2 weeks to go - and I think about 10 Lib Dems. This hasn't stopped the Lib Dem Focus newsletter proclaiming "it's a two horse race" between them and the Tories - this in a ward where in 2006 the Tories got 836 votes, Labour got 534 and the Lib Dems just 198, behind the Greens on 264. The "two horse race" is between the Lib Dems and Communist Monty Goldman to come 4th rather than 5th.
On the national stuff I don't buy the idea that one man making donations through third parties somehow shows the whole system of political funding is wrong. It shouldn't have happened and I doubt it will again but I'm not impressed by people with their own agendas - usually about breaking the union link - trying to draw wider lessons from an extremely quirky scenario. The Labour Party needs to tighten up its own procedures to ensure that donations are transparent, but the actual law as it stands in the PPERA only needs one change - the regulation of spending on campaigning between elections, which because of a civil service drafting error was left out of the Act, allowing rich donors or candidates to "buy" marginal seats with saturation spending in the "long" campaign.
I wrote the above before reading what Gordon Brown said to the NPF today. I haven't deleted it because on this specific aspect of this issue I happen to disagree with him. I'm against a cap on individual donations. As long as people are transparent about donating we should have a system that encourages people and groups of people such as trade unions to give money to political parties - not put limits on it in a way that somehow suggests donating is wrong or corrupting.
As we're on the subject of election law, the bit above about Springfield is:
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