Tuesday, 13 May 2008

State Party Funding - Britain says No

By far the most useful analysis of State funding to political parties is not Hayden Phillips' risible, scrappy little report but that produced by Pinto-Duschinsky for the Policy Exchange. The author points out that State spending on parties is already massive; some £1.75bn over a four-year election cycle, including the value of TV broadcasts. Party workers employed by the State - as political assistants and the like - dwarf the numbers employed privately by the parties; 1,000 full time equivalent workers employed by the parties (at HQ and paid agents and the like) to 13,000 full time equivalent party workers paid for by the State - i.e. by you and me. The author comments:
It doesn’t take very much for political leaders, parliamentarians and local politicians to convince themselves that it is a matter of the public interest that they should receive more money from the taxpayer. Whether it comes in the form of improved salaries, benefits, allowances or subsidies for their party organisations, the basic demand is for more.

A common response by politicians to scandal is that the fault did not lie with themselves or with their accused colleagues but with the system. Political parties and candidates ‘need’ money for legitimate purposes. Had it been provided more plentifully by the state, the scandal - whatever it might have been - would have been avoided.
No doubt this is the same argument employed by every unsuccessful thief, robber, mugger and burglar in the country; if only the State gave me more money I wouldn't need to steal.

Jack Straw will bring forward proposals in Parliament for more State funding at some stage. The British public have already indicated that this is unacceptable. I think not only do we want a freeze on State spending, we also want to see a substantial reduction in current spending. This is not a decision for the politicians - they will always vote for more - but for the people.

As Wendy Alexander might say, bring it on!


mutleythedog said...

If we founded a political party would they give us a bunch of cash?

Raedwald said...

Ah, Mutley, only if you're Labour or Tory or Libdem.

But I understand the Northern Crock shareholders have written to the leader of the Labour Party (with £20m of debt and very little income)offering to buy the party for £100.

I'm sure between us we could offer £150, and it may be worth taking my collection of tram ephemera down to Cash Converters ....