Last year Labour's plans to secure a quiet cross-party deal on State funding - a deal to be agreed between the London headquarters of the central parties, you understand, without reference to you or I, the electors who will pay for it - collapsed when Cameron refused to play. Today in the FT, Norman Fowler carefully cracks open the door to prepare the way for these negotiations to continue.
The parties need money because as they have abandoned their roots and clustered to suckle around the teats of the central State, we the electors have abandoned them as irrelevant and unnecessary. Labour's membership may fall below 100,000 in the next few years, and the Tories have no hope of recovering the million members lost since 1979.
Fowler argues that State funding is necessary because it will prevent corruption. Whoo-whooo. On this basis we must pay burglars because it will prevent theft, pay fraudsters because it will prevent fraud and pay muggers because it will prevent robberies. There is a simple answer to political corruption; jail more politicians. This is undoubtedly Norman's position on any other crime, so why make an exception of political corruption?
The main parties are dying. They have committed slow suicide by becoming central corporations, 'brands', rather than building their strength as local associations. If they are to survive it must be by reversing this process, not stealing the cash from our pockets to prolong their hospice stay.