domingo, 14 de julio de 2013

Union shake-up will cost Labour money but I'll take the gamble to give politics ... - The Sun

THIS week I took decisions which a lot of people said were a gamble.

Maybe they're right. The measures I announced on changing Labour's links to the unions will make financing our party more difficult.

They will cost us money and we will be competing with the Conservatives, whose wealthy donors have much deeper pockets.

But if it's a gamble, that's because I'm taking a bet on YOU.

I believe we can begin to turn this country round if we work together and better involve working people in what we do.

The Labour Party was founded over a century ago to change a system that was dangerously skewed towards the interests of a powerful and wealthy few.

But for many people, politics in this country feels broken once again.

Too many families like yours feel that no one listens, no one cares and no one can make a difference.

We need to start opening up politics so we can make it work for you again.

If we're going to change Britain we have to find a way of hearing the voice of working people — nurses, builders, bus drivers, shop workers, engineers and people in every walk of life — louder and clearer in the Labour Party.

That's why I've said members of trades unions should now make a more active choice if they want to be linked as individuals to our party.

And when they do so, they should be given a real say in how we make change happen in communities and across the country.

But the change we need in our politics doesn't end there.

You don't get invited round for cosy "kitchen suppers" to discuss policy changes with David Cameron in Downing Street.

But wealthy donors paying hundreds of thousands of pounds to the Tories do — and this Government is making decisions in their interests. Your family don't get tax breaks — you just get asked to pay more and more. But the tiny few who can afford to make big political donations of five, six and seven figure sums, do.

David Cameron has just handed out a tax cut averaging £100,000 a year to the best-paid people in Britain.

Your children don't have a powerful lobbying firm, networking away and using all its connections to fight for their future. But the tobacco and alcohol companies do.

One of the best-known lobbyists, Lynton Crosby, is now working as David Cameron's chief strategist in Downing Street.

He was at the heart of power in No 10 when the PM abandoned plans to make cigarette packaging less attractive to young people — a big decision which benefited big tobacco companies.

And yesterday we discovered that Crosby's lobbying firm has been working for the biggest cigarette firm in the world since November.

This is beginning to stink as bad as an old ashtray.

There are a lot of decent people who give money to political parties for the right reasons or campaign fairly for causes they believe in. But we all know that the system needs to change, so we get the big money out and start shedding some light on the lobbyists.

The Tories either want to stick to the current rules, in which rich people and unions can give as much as they can afford, or cap those donations at £50,000 a year.

Such a limit would allow someone to give them £250,000 — or a married couple to give £500,000 — over the course of a five-year Parliament.

David Cameron says any donation of less than £50,000 is "insignificant".

But how many people could even consider giving a political party such a sum in one year?

It might be small change to him but £50,000 is twice the average annual wage. That's why I've said that, as part of a comprehensive reform of funding, we should agree new rules that would ban any individual, company, organisation or trade union from giving a political party more than £5,000 a year.

We need to take the big money out of politics once and for all.

And we should have lower limits on spending by political parties too, reducing the need to raise large sums from big donors.

We should cap spending both nationally and in every constituency across the lifetime of a Parliament, so people get elected through the force of their arguments, not the size of their wallets.

At a time when families are facing the biggest squeeze on living standards in a generation, we need to make sure that Parliament shows it understands what working people are going through.

This week I said it was wrong for MPs to get a ten per cent pay rise when ordinary workers are getting none.

It would only feed people's suspicion that there is one rule for those at the top and another rule for everyone else.

But Labour will go further still in sorting out our political system.

Most people would regard being an MP as a full-time job.

We are supposed to stand up for tens of thousands of people in our constituencies and help them tackle some of their problems.

But the current rules allow MPs to have second, third or even fourth jobs.

MPs on both sides operate within the rules — but the question is whether the rules are right?

I say they need to change.

After the next election, Labour MPs won't have second jobs where they are paid to be directors or consultants to companies. And we should limit the extra amount they can earn from any other employment. This is what they do in other countries, including America.

The reputation of our political system is at a low ebb.

But I am determined that Labour, the party of the people, stands up for what is right. That is why I acted to sort out the real problems we saw in Falkirk, and we have handed over our evidence to the police.

And it's why I now want to lead deeper reform in the way we conduct politics in this country.

We need to get the voice of working people heard again, cut the influence of big money and prove to the public that MPs are working FOR THEM.

There are so many things that we need to sort out in Britain. An economy that is not working for working people. Falling living standards year after year.

Electricity companies and train firms that are ripping you off. The crisis in our NHS A&E departments under this Government.

But if we are to turn our country around, we have to clean up our politics and ensure it works for you.

It's time to get the big money out of politics and let the people back in.

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