The power of incumbency is increasing all the time. Many local newspapers won't give space to candidates who are challenging incumbent MPs, no matter what the newsworthiness of the story is. MPs recently voted themselves an extra £10,000 to publicise their 'achievements' to their electorate. This is enough to pay for four MP Report newspapers a year.
And now the Labour Party wish to curtail the amount of money local political parties can spend in between elections. They have submitted proposals to Sir Hayden Phillips to cap local spending. This would emasculate the ability of local candidates to campaign, and mean that while MPs can spend thousands a year publicising themselves, candidates would be unable to do so. This is partly driven by Labour's financial plight. They find themselves in a position whereby they cannot hope to compete with the Conservatives, who have a well funded treasure chest to fund local campaigns in marginal seats. So Labour are basically saying: we've buggered up our own finances so if we can't play, we're going to make damned sure you Tories can't either. These are the tactics of the playground bully.
So not only are Labour refusing to cap Trade Union donations, they're now trying to stop Opposition parties carrying out entirely legitimate local campaigning activities. Let's hope Sir Hayden doesn't fall for this. If he does, the Conservatives should withdraw co-operation from his Inquiry.