The last thing a broken dam needs is another hole

March 20th, 2006

What with all the controversy about occult loans to the labour party leading to nominations for peerages it has been suggested by some quarters that there should be consideration of taxpayers fnding political parties (Bliar and Prescott it seems)

This is entirely the wrong solution and if polls are to be believed thankfully 73% of the country are ‘against’ such moves. Although given that 80% didn’t vote for labour politicians at the election Bliar will probably view this as an ‘overwhelming mandate for reform’.

Firstly the current scandal is not that political parties are receiving large, private donations; it is that these loans are being used by the political parties to cover up their funding and for the government to be perceived to be using loans as a tool of patronage – to repeaat in neither case is the act of receiving private funding a problem and it is not this aspect that requires attention.

Secondly political parties are not required for a (true) parliamentary democracy to exist, the fact that independent members and members of very marginal parties have been elected to parliament show that it is not necessary to have the support of a large party to be elected. Of course parties make easier to identify what sort of promises will be broken by each MP and in any case we are talking about funding and not the abolition of politival parties (now!).

Thirdly if by some tragedy tax funding of politics were to be extended many of the activities that political parties currently undertake such as (commissioning think tank) reports and policy studies could be organised ‘independently’ by Select Commitees rather than political parties, that way we could possibly get less partial findings and avoid replication of spending.

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