Outside the marginals

a commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010 & 2015 elections

Party Funding leads to hang-overs

“We need parties. The alternative is nightmarish. The leaders’ pathetic search for cash to pay for their parties fuels the anti-politics mood and yet they need the money. Virtually every dark story in British politics over the last 30 years has a connection with the funding of politics, but without funding parties cannot function.”
Steve Richards, The Guardian, 24 November 2013, Politics is too valuable to be paid for by union barons, fat cats or Methodist ministers. It should be state funded

But why do (national) parties need to be so dominant? We do not elect governments, we elect representatives. (The resulting balance of representatives then determines the government). Prospective representatives should be able to raise sufficient money to fund their own election campaigns. I do not want to see my money going to fund the national party machines that:

  • pay for SPADs who smear
  • briefing machines that feed sycophantic questions to MPs to ask at PMQs
  • pay for vacuous national campaigning at elections
  • etc.

Provided we have healthy political debate at constituency level (aided by a system that supports diversity of choice and effectiveness of votes) do we really need the current top-heavy expensive party machines that seem to act like magnets to fraudsters, shysters and anyone seeking influence beyond that of being a mere voter? It’s the national parties that should be cut down to size and (somehow) restricted from regrowing.

I suspect the “anti-politics” mood is very much an “anti-national-party-politics” mood. Giving the blighters a secure source of funding won’t help.


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