Straw's White Paper on party funding is little more than a cynical and mendacious ploy to maintain the position of the main parties in the face of plummeting memberships and shrinking donations. Tax funding for the dying Labour Party, the securing of the position of national parties over local candidates in law, and the most illiberal and undemocratic strengthening of party incumbency are just a few of the points that emerge from a quick first reading that has left me fuming in rage.
This pernicious and dirty little paper has no part in our democracy; this is the politics of the banana republic, the politics of Mugabe and his thugs, the politics of every unpopular and mistrusted government that seeks to artificially prolong its life at the expense of the democratic choice of the people. It must be resisted with every effort we can muster.
I don't have time this morning to detail the grevious harms that these proposals contain, but will return to them. Tax funding of political parties is anathema - and this is an issue I am prepared to go to jail for. The fight back starts here.