Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Party funding reform and Europe

The Conservative Party is in the uncomfortable position of having a grass roots membership in the constituency associations unequivocally opposed to the EU and an isolated Metropolitan party HQ unequivocally in favour. Tory MPs are caught in the middle, unsure whether to annoy the party bosses who hand out junior ministerial jobs or local voters who still retain a minor role in candidate selection. UKIP hovers in the background, ready to repeat its undertaking not to stand in constituencies where the Tory candidate is anti-EU and yesterday's Tory rebels will no doubt have had an eye on 2015. 

Yet the resolution to this impasse in the Party may come not from some cosmetic compromise, not from Cameron's banal and mendacious assurances over his Euro-sceptic credentials, but from changes in party funding. Sir Christopher Kelly's committee is about to publish its report on political funding. The three main parties are moribund, with a combined membership of fewer than 1% of the electorate. They're also broke. If Kelly's report throws them back on voter donations and caps large donations they will be far less able to ignore the voices from the backwoods, but this is the long-shot outcome. Far more likely that Kelly will recommend throwing in tens of millions of public money to allow the State parties to suckle at the teat of the taxpayer and maintain policies unsupported by their electors. However, what actually happens will be extremely sensitive to public opinion; the best chance now for all on the right apposed to the EU is to mount a campaign against State party funding, for only by depriving the pro-EU central State HQs of this oxygen will the voices of the people be heard. 


Mike Spilligan said...

You're 100% right on this. Taxpayer (not "state") funding means not only supporting the status quo, but being locked in to the views, and personalities, current at that time.

john miller said...

People get angry when politicians spend our money on crackpot schemes. Funding India's space program or paying for windmills that don't work.

At worst we tend to see this as false ideology or plain stupidity.

But when politicians take our money and spend it on themselves, that's a different story.

The expenses saga didn't go down very well with we punters, but the vast majority of the swindlers got away with it. So it will never occur to them that thieving our money to fund their moribund, out of touch, washed up parties, will cause a bit of a fuss.

So much of a fuss, boys and girls, that it may become a tad uncomfortable to be a party politician at Christmas...

Anonymous said...

"Kelly will recommend throwing in tens of millions of public money" To whom? Why,the House of Commons. I wonder what they will decide.

James Higham said...

New Conservative Party. Only way.

Scrobs... said...

FFS Cameron, pull your f*****g finger out...
Just today, I had a long-awaited meeting with three accomplished and professional property people. It had taken me three weeks to get these people together.

It was a sparse lunch, yeah, a couple of tinctures, but the theme was still exasperation, and severe angst at the failure of this blasted government with their lacky banks, to bring it on.

We discussed seven schemes. Seven big building projects, ranging from, roughly - £6m to £15 million pounds.

Each one, when costed, appraised and verified, (RICS standards I might add) showed a minimal profit for us, but, 10% of fees going to other starving businesses, like architects, engineers, builders etc. There was a huge element of 'funding' expectation (i.e. what the banks will rake in for their ludicrous 'risk'), but this stupid administration are getting as bad as the last lot. You'd expect a nulabour crowd to be incompetent and clueless where commercial expertise is required, but the piddling about we're coping with right now is insufferable.

That 10% going to others, (forget the banks' take, they'll stuff you anyway) therefore amounts to about £7,000,000 pounds, which will be used up by waiting, desperate, consultants, builders, sub-contractors etc. The figures are all calculated correctly, and they meet normal financial requirements for funding. There would also be approximately 425 jobs created from our schemes.

From now on in, we are forced to 'negotiate' with councils for planning permission. We're not digging out green belt land, despoiling the parks etc, we're commercial people, making jobs in business areas etc. Councils prefer to prevaricate for months, while the meter clocks up thousands of pounds in interest (banks again), and of course, they might well charge for their 'advice'. It's an utter disgrace that these little twerps can hold so much business to ransom, sit on their hands, and try to apply an obscure policy which is beyond his/her understanding, or they go on paternity leave.

So Scrobs is feeling a bit let down by Cameron and his bunch of wandering people. At this rate, he'll be asking the Hon Prospective Member for UKIP a few serious questions, like, 'If you get in, how will you look after your own country first...?'