18 March 2005

Where's the Pork?

Fascinating interview with Oona King MP in the Evening Standard.

See her last comment, referring to the threat to her seat from Respect candidate George Galloway:

"He can bluff and bluster as much as he wants," she says. "At the end of the day [if he is voted in] he will never persuade the Treasury to spend an extra ten pence in Tower Hamlets because he has no influence at all. And that worries many local people."
We are familiar with the idea — "pork-barrel politics" as they call it in the States — that the role of an elected representative is to bring government money to their constituency (although a different term would be more suitable to King's 55,000 Bangladeshi constituents).

This goes beyond that. She is implying that a Labour Government would punish the voters of Bethnal Green for not voting Labour.

This is not a particular criticsim of Oona King, who is gaining a reputation for saying things better left unsaid. There are, after all, better reasons for voting against George Galloway than the government's blackmail. The blackmail is the effect of a centralised state controlling 40% of the economy. (In this country, even money spent by local authorities is mainly effectively controlled by Westminster).

We have only one vote for the government of this country. If we use up our vote in an attempt to influence the redistribution of wealth, we have no vote left with which to express our views about war, freedom, security, or the ever-vexed issue of school dress codes. That itself is a reason for separation of economy and state.

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