The Conservative conference, the Independent Network’s ‘Bell Principles’ and Tynedale Green Party support.

It is said that a man is known by the company he keeps. With that in mind, it is noteworthy that applications for the tickets for lobbyist’s admission at the Conservative Party Conference were reported by Channel 4 to be fifty per cent over-subscribed.
A Tory candidate is reported in The Times to have been given a four figure inducement to secure an introduction to a shadow minister – the money is said to have been donated to charity. Numerous other Conservative candidates work directly or indirectly for PR firms and lobbying organisations and profess to have no hesitation in doing so.
Again, from The Times, referring to the relationship of Cameron (a PR man himself) with a wide variety of people with a close commercial interest in influencing a government, a party figure, no less, is quoted as saying ‘[Its] all a bit too cosy.’ You bet it is.
Is it just me or is there the stench of corruption filling the air even before the election?
Did you notice that in his main speech Cameron did not mention the words banking, banker, bonus, carbon or inheritance tax at all? The environment was glossed over with one single short phrase and unemployment likewise.
It pays to check what was not said because therein lies much of interest.
By contrast, The Independent Network has drafted some standards for members to follow. They are derived from a document supplied by Martin Bell at the recent meeting.
The Independent MPs will abide by the Seven Principles of Public Life set out by Lord Nolan in 1995: integrity, selflessness, accountability, honesty, openness, objectivity and leadership:

1. Integrity: the Independent MP will make the practice of honest politics their highest priority. They will be answerable not to any party or pressure group, but only to their constituents and their consciences.
2. Selflessness: The Independent MP will speak out against and resist abuses of power and patronage by the Executive, and work to restore the reputation of the House of Commons as the free Parliament of a free people. The Independent MPs will serve by trying to be a humble part of the nation’s conscience, and will not be of, or identify with, the political class, nor will they seek their own advancement.
3. Accountability: The Independent MP knows that power tends to corrupt, and so will meet regularly with a group of experienced Mentors, whose names will be announced before the election, whose role will be to keep the MP’s feet on the ground and give constructive criticism and support in moral dilemmas.
4. Honesty: the MP will always give straightforward and truthful answers and avoid half-truths. Where there are issues of confidentiality or the public interest, the MP will refuse to comment rather than feed the public perception of politicians being shifty and evasive.
5. Openness: The MP’s potential conflicts of interest will be clearly displayed on the MP’s website. Expenses will be modest, and receipts and expenses will be transparent and displayed on the website.
6. Objectivity: when controversial votes are to be taken, the Independent MP will publish on their website the arguments for and against, invite comments, and set out for their constituents the way the MP intends to vote and why. The Independent MPs will not engage in ‘Punch and Judy’ politics, and will treat political opponents at all times with respect and courtesy.
7. Leadership: An Independent MP should be able to demonstrate significant real world experience and leadership outside politics before seeking election to the House of Commons. The Independent MP will see one of their main roles as meeting regularly with and listening to the elected Ward representatives of all parties in their constituency, and leading these elected community leaders to achieve the best possible outcomes for their shared electors. The MP will communicate weekly by email with all the elected Ward Members in the constituency, and post as much information as possible on the website for all constituents to read.

Independent MPs will choose one of their number annually as their Parliamentary Leader, but will have no whip. They will operate as a Group, but not as a Party. They will work together to try and ensure that the Independent MPs have the same entitlement as party MPs to membership of the House of Commons select committees.
Any comments on this draft will be received with interest.
I am delighted to report that the Tynedale Green Party have chosen not to stand against me in the forthcoming election as they have satisfied themselves that my declared position on environmental and other matters is sufficiently close to their own.
Furthermore, they have very kindly consented to endorse my candidacy.
I would like to formally express my sincere thanks to them and look forward to meeting them in the near future.

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