|The Donations Award|
The questionable relationship between big donations (and donors) to political parties might in some circumstances be considered to be par for the course (to use a golfing term). Significant donors to the larger Westminster village based (and focused) political parties often tend to get rewarded with gongs, baubles and trinkets. Between 2006 to 2012 those donors giving £50,000 or more to Westminster based political parties were around 6,000 times more likely to receive a peerage than the ordinary person on the street. It has been 80 years since Maundy Gregory became the first (and only) individual to be prosecuted for selling honours and the relationship between cash (and kind) donations and honours remains as strong as ever. The House of Lords Appointments Commission which (nominally) oversees the award of honours is in truth pretty powerless and mostly accepts party leaders’ choices in all but the most exceptional of circumstances. Selling honours is illegal yet more than a few years ago a parliamentary committee came to the conclusion that any successful prosecution would be unlikely unless the culprits were caught in the act so to speak, so the law remains unchanged, so basically the Westminster based political parties have a free-for-all. The honours system as long as it remains under the control of Westminster will remain flawed and abused with little prospect of any meaningful reform. What this on-going abuse of the honors system by the Westminster based political parties means in practice is that the award of honors to hardworking individuals who have worked tirelessly for our communities, to society and to the lives of others over the years is continually tarnished and the value of honours is diminished.