The following opinion piece appeared in the Argus on 22nd December, it is an appeal to the political parties in Brighton and Hove to bury their usual tribal behaviour when they are invited to support good causes, so that at least in those settings the idea of a group of what used to be referred to as the Aldermen of the city could show their willingness to put the city and its people before party discipline and priorities.
In the world of charities and good causes all donors need to have innocent motives and it is vital for charities to separate donors from strategic decision making. By contrast it is always disappointing when in the world of politics, parties blatantly allows people with wealth to buy influence with their donations. We know from the list of honours awarded to big donors for the Conservatives, Labour and Lib Dems that most political parties believe that the wealthy deserve to be rewarded and those with very little can be ignored and treated with anonymity. The problem with large donors who want recognition is that their agenda and the intentions of the organisation don’t always fully converge. The risk is that charities and political parties are persuaded to change their priorities in order to ensure that the donors continue to support them. It is rare to see overlap between the work of charities and the work of political parties. However this week many of us have seen the reports on facebook and in other places of politicians supporting charities by collecting money at Supermarkets and in Shopping Centres. When one party stakes out one end of the Street and another dominates the other end of the same Street collecting for the same charity, the commitment to support the charity becomes superficial. The same is true at events such as Pride when all Parties attend, yet they insist on walking in separate parts of the parade. We need to see a radical change in 2017 with Politicians putting party interest in the shade when matters of community wellbeing should be the focus.