Try as I might, I just can't get excited by all the controversty about the loans and peerages row besetting the Labour party.
In general, the British political system is pretty free of corruption. Even in the areas where it is part of folklore that bribes take place, it seems to be myth rather than reality. From time to time I see TV dramas where the plot involves councillors being bribed to pass planning applications. Yet in 10 or more years as a member of a planning committee, the most I have ever experienced is a polite letter from applicants arguing that their application meets all the relevant criteria. I'm not saying that there is no corruption in public life in Britain. Just that any there might be is almost certainly of negligible proportions.
It's in this light that I judge the recent furore. Where political parties nominate working peers, these are likely to be people who support the party's cause and have had some degree of success in their chosen career. So it's no surprise if some of them are seriously wealthy and made generous donations to the cause of the party they believe in. While making large donations to a political party shouldn't entitle someone to a peerage, neither should it be a barrier to it nor a cause for suspicion.
The only problem, it seems to me, is if a peerage is rather obviously bought by somebody who is clearly unfit to serve in the House of Lords and whose only real qualification is to have given a party a large amount of money. And there are safeguards against that.
Participation in the democratic process is a positive thing. Political parties need money in order to put their case to the electorate. Some people may just pay a few pounds to attend a constituency fundraising dinner. Others with more money on their hands may make rather larger donations. Good! It all helps make sure we have a vibrant political system. It is illogical that charitable donations are automatically seen as a good thing, even though some of the cosyest sounding charities will have controversial campaigning agendas, while giving to political parties is seen as a little sordid, even though the latter, for all their vices, are a necessary guarantor of an open society.