He who pays the piper calls the tune is an expression most of us old enough to remember bubble perms and white dog poo will be familiar with.
Like all popular adages and proverbs, it is often taken out of context, mainly by idiots in lounge bars, but in recent weeks it has carried much more meaning that usual.
The funding of political parties has long been a steaming King Edward, but now, little more than two months from the General Election it is positively nuclear. Since the woefully under reported issue of the ‘secret’ bank accounts at HSBC’s Swiss subsidiary, the issue of political funding has shot towards the top of the agenda as some of the names on the leaked list of the bank’s clients included political donors.
This led to bitter accusations between all the main political parties and David Cameron being branded a dodgy Prime Minister. Of course the question on the lips of many was ‘are we really surprised that those who bankroll our decision makers have their money in accounts the taxman can’t see’, or something along those lines.
This was quickly followed by figures which show in the last three months of 2014 a record amount of money - north of £20m - was donated to our major political parties. My initial reaction is why? Don’t know about you but if I were a multi-millionaire I would be spending my hard earned on essential items such as Caribbean islands and football clubs and not on leaflets or posters for privately-educated men who have never had an original thought in their lives.
Even the poor old Liberal Democrats, who must be looking forward to May 7 as much as a rabid pit bull does a trip to the vets, have received more money than they ever have, which can only mean there are businessmen, they usually are blokes, who have more money than sense and are willing to throw cash at lost causes. There is only one solution: political parties should be funded from the public purse, although I cannot see it happening any time soon as the public reaction to such a move would be vitriolic.
But it is a way we can guarantee that politics is clean and would remove any unwanted speculation as to where the money for campaigns has come from. Unless changes are made, the issue of party funding is an open sore which will continue to get worse and leaving us wondering who has taken care of the piper.