Peter Hain forgets to register the odd £100,000 or so...
Far from being an argument for the public funding of political parties, this latest episode provides strong reason for not going down that route. The great advantage of the current system is that it exposes the politicians like Peter Hain who are contemptuous of the law and the electorate; and the Prime Ministers who should sack them, but don't.
Public cynicism is, I'm afraid, fully justified. Why should we expect Mr Hain to be any more careful with funds donated by unwilling taxpayers than those from spurious think-tanks?
Underhand donations will always exist; ways are always found of exploiting ambiguities in the law. Mr Hain is not the first to receive a 'loan' (instantly repaid as soon as it becomes a matter of public exposure) and I doubt if he'll be the last.
It is to be hoped that this case results in a prosecution; it might remind politicians that they are not in the end above the law.