Monday, 8 January 2018

Tax funding for political parties ... again

Yep you guessed. The political establishment is gearing up to have another go at getting tax funding of the established parties onto the statute books - or rather, enhancing the tax funding provisions that already apply. This time around the Conservatives, down to a rumoured 70,000 members, are listening. 

The previous crooked proposals from Christopher Kelly, building on earlier crooked proposals from Hayden Phillips, would have given all parties with at least one sitting MP about £3 a year from taxpayers for each vote the party got in the previous general election. Protests that this entrenched incumbent parties, discouraged tactical voting, discouraged all voting, inhibited political change and gave Labour, LibDems and Conservatives a sort of quasi-constitutional status beloved of establishment mandarins such as Kelly and Phillips fell on deaf ears. In the end it was Labour's refusal to accept a cap of £50k on individual donations - hobbling Union cash - that froze the scheme. 

Back in 2014 I wrote of my dislike for Carswell at the time of his defection - and was admonished by UKIP readers. I called him caddish, I think. However, had the Kelly / Phillips tax funding proposals gone through, he could have earned UKIP some £12m a year in party funding. Without him, 4m votes would get UKIP exactly nothing. Still a turd, perhaps, but possibly a gold plated one. 

Now of course wealthy individual LEAVE funders are being hit for 20% inheritance tax on their donations - donations tax free for global corporates and their UK incorporated dags, for trade unions or if made to (you've guessed it) political parties with at least one sitting MP. HMRC may be applying the law, but it is a dubious law that has the effect of implementing crooked and underhand tax funding of some points of view, wholly against the will of the public on tax funding in general. It's bent, it's corrupt and we didn't vote for it. It's the introduction of tax funding by the back door - and the lever that the establishment will use to move to the next stage. 

The political landscape never remains static. When I started writing this blog, the Conservatives had some 250k paying members, Labour was suffering and down to about 160k and the LibDems scraped some 60k. The 2010 coalition brought chauffeured jags for the LibDem top dogs but a massive hole in party funding from the loss of opposition Short money. Party membership in the UK had reached a nadir with just 1% of an electorate of 45m being party members. 

In 2018 we face a Conservative party with fewer than a third of the members it had ten years ago, a LibDem party on the verge of extinction, with only the disproportionate number of LD peers giving them any parliamentary presence at all, but a reinvigorated Labour party replete with individual memberships and backed with big union money from the TUs that would dearly love a Marxist in the Treasury. 

Party funding is in desperate need of a complete rethink; social media in particular makes a joke of much of the existing framework. But no more Kelly and no more Phillips - no more establishment mandarins, crooked civil servants, bent globalists or Blairite managerialists. 

Who would you nominate to chair a new, fair enquiry into party funding? My own nominees are both from the left; Simon Jenkins, who ran a membership organisation with over 4m paying members, and Helena Kennedy, whose seminal Power inquiry was squashed by the very establishment it sought to reform. 

17 comments:

DeeDee99 said...

Frank Field.

rapscallion said...

DeeDee99
You could add ex MP Gisela Stuart and current MP Kate Hoey. I would also recommend JR-M

It won't happen of course, because the whole system is as bent as a marzipan fishing rod.

Mr Ecks said...


That BluLabour are down is their own fucking doing. Start being actual Conservatives and the numbers will go back up again.

No funding for any of the bastards.

Anonymous said...

Parties and factions are an unavoidable evil, not something to be encouraged, certainly not by the taxpayer.

If people want to gang up in groups, that's up to them. But ideally, each MP should vote on each question according to his or her own opinions and judgement.

Don Cox

Cuffleyburgers said...

It's hardly surprising Tory membership has collapsed. They are now roughly where Blair was, and there is precious little sign of any recognizable conservative policy.

I don't think membership will ever go back up again, that is an old fashioned pre-social media approach.

The opportunity is there for somebody to invent a new social media based approach, probably harvesting facebook likes or something.

Only dinosaurs like me will be excluded, and franckly I couldn't give much a f@#k about that.

English Pensioner said...

I once considered joining the Conservative Party, but discovered that you got nothing for your membership fee. You didn't have a say in party policy nor did you have a voice in selecting the local parliamentary candidate.
So what's the point of membership?

jack ketch said...

That BluLabour are down is their own fucking doing. Start being actual Conservatives and the numbers will go back up again.- MrX

THIS!

wealthy individual LEAVE funders are being hit for 20% inheritance tax

This is just all kinds of wrong.

Raedwald said...

EP - The very reasons that the party lost a million members between 1979 and 1987, when the party centralised all power from both local government and local constituency associations. All that was left for me at the time was a decent snooker table with a large photo of Winston on one wall, a rather sleazy and grimy little bar with bald velveteen cushions and candidates for wifedom. I lapsed.

Anonymous said...

Mr Ecks said @ 09:29

'That BluLabour are down is their own fucking doing. Start being actual Conservatives and the numbers will go back up again.'

and:

Cuffleyburgers said @ 11:20

'It's hardly surprising Tory membership has collapsed. They are now roughly where Blair was, and there is precious little sign of any recognizable conservative policy.'

Well there you have it Raedwald, I'm guessing two folk who've probably been voting Tory most of their lives and have now, like your good self, virtually given up on the party. It'll take years to de-Blair the Tories and with a Third Way prime minister right now in the job that process won't even start. Several dozen of today's senior Tories could have slotted into Mandelson's New Labour and no one would have noticed. The Conservative brand is irredeemably fucked.

Not a farthing for any of them: they sold us out and they know it. Their contract with the People is null and void. It's musket time.

Steve

John Dub said...

"Several dozen of today's senior Tories could have slotted into Mandelson's New Labour and no one would have noticed. The Conservative brand is irredeemably fucked."

The globalists have captured them all.

Its Islam and mass immigration for ever. And no Brexit in real terms what ever fudge they come up with.

Ravenscar. said...

Taxpayers dosh for political parties?

For fucks sake I thought we were leaving the empire of doom not emulating the fuckers.

NEVER, NEVER, NEVER.

Raedwald said...

Ravenscar - I'm as utterly opposed to tax funding as you are.

There are other funding issues - unions, the global corporates, Soros and so on that need regulating, and we need to keep democracy going as we make the change from the old 20th century model of political parties to something different.

I don't know what the new models will be, but I'm pretty sure that a Britain free of Europe will blaze a trail of renewed democracy and genuine inclusive participation.

Cascadian said...

Tax funding for political parties.......NO!..... again.

Why promote another time-server to carry out a hearing that is not required. As many here have noted, the electorate have successfully de-legitimized the three trough-parties. Let time do it's work and kill them off.

Judging by what has been achieved by a true independent candidate -Trump in the USA (whatever you may think of him)-party politics is over-rated. Just review the half-century of failure that has marked yUK politics, and it can easily be argued that the half-century of failure would extend further were it not for the Marshall plan and generous write-offs from the commonwealth countries. Party politics is THE problem, allow 650 (my preference would be for many less) MP's to vote independently on each issue for a much improved parliament.

Ravenscar. said...

Radders said:

"There are other funding issues - unions, the global corporates, Soros and so on that need regulating, and we need to keep democracy going as we make the change from the old 20th century model of political parties to something different.

I don't know what the new models will be, but I'm pretty sure that a Britain free of Europe will blaze a trail of renewed democracy and genuine inclusive participation. " /quote.

Yes R, but imho, once, if and when we manage to sever the EU umbilical, shutting down all of the above (1st paragraph) will be the biggest battle ever undertaken 'in times of peace' and it needs to be done - desperately so.

Cuffleyburgers said...

Cascadian - you are right that the parties (everywhere) have betrayed their electorates.

However the party system wasn't so much invented as evolved, and it is I think inevitable in any political system that they will evolve.

The triumph of the alglo model in the early days was due I would say largely to the personal integrity of the participants quite possibly a result of their christian heritage, and to some extent the technological limitations which prevented them from being as offensively interventionist as the scum that invest more modern parliaments.

In general tabloid newspapers and social media do no contribute to high quality political debate as everything is reduced to headlines and likes.

In our comfortable rich societies there is little incentive to voters to think too hard about difficult issues.

Brexit will not be a panacea, but it is a step in the right direction, but only if we as an electorate work to hold them to account. Will we?

I'm not holding my breath but there's a better chance out than in!

Cascadian said...

Cuffley

Brexit showed what happens when people forget their "party allegiance" and vote sensibly in their best interests. It was a repudiation of most MP's and parties.
The troughers of all stripes are now thrashing around trying to exert whatever authority they believe they have in an attempt to "improve" parliament, thus the "give us more money and we will produce results" fallacy.
BTW, I see in my previous comment I have lost the ability of simple arithmetic it is seventy years of failure since 1948, why would anybody perpetuate that. We have talked here before of the need for sensible "real" people in politics-housewives and pipefitters-rather than lawyers, PPE dribblers and vicars daughters of no ability, they cannot presently be elected, destroy the party system with its inbuilt selection committees for better candidates.
A better idea would be to hold another referendum-do you want to pay more tax to fund existing political parties-and lets see the result.

rick hamilton said...

I would give the political class a D based on results in my lifetime. Our country has gone from being a world leader in nuclear and aerospace and one of the world's great manufacturing nations to a sort of industrial theme park where foreign investors can set up and employ a few grateful Britih peasants. We can't even make our own lawnmowers without help from the Germans. We can't build our own trains even though we invented them.

I blame a political class which is stuffed (in both senses of the word) with arts graduates and lawyers. People who value opinion and forms of words more than hard facts. They have no idea how far behind the UK has become in technical education and work ethic compared with the powerhouses of East Asia. In terms of infrastructure. transport and general customer service the UK is terrible and if Corbyn becomes PM it will be the worst managed country in the developed world.