There will be many painful and necessary cuts to public spending over the next few years. Cameron has rightly proposed cuts in direct payments and benefits to MPs and ministers, including the ending of Parliamentary bar and restaurant subsidies. This is fine - but it ignores the elephant in the room. We must cut savagely existing tax funding for political parties.
Michael Pinto-Duschinsky, our foremost national expert on political funding and therefore completely ignored by Labour's tacky little 'review' by Haydn Phillips, has calculated the current cost of party funding at £1.75bn over a four-year electoral cycle.
This includes Cranborne Money, Short Money, Widdicombe Money, policy development grants to the big parties, the cost of SPAds at national and local level, and free party political and election broadcasts.
The traditional parties can no longer justify their special treatment because of their size; their combined membership is now probably below 1% of the electorate, and gradually abolishing the advantages of incumbency built into the system would allow a fairer and more level playing field for all. It would also strengthen the need for MPs and candidates to forge strong local links and support.
The current £1.75bn to the big parties is wholly anti-democratic in this age of memberless parties and a battle of the brands. Cameron must pledge to halve it during his government's first term - say a cut of £500m over his first two years in office.
Otherwise his 'canteen cuts' of £1.5m a year will just look like the chaff an aircraft ejects to fool homing missiles.