Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Party donations cap farce

With apologies to those of you who have read this here many times before, the parlous state of the main parties is wholly of their own making. They've gone from mass-membership political parties with powerful and effective local structures to centralised Metropolitan clubs from which the grass roots are excluded, in the process losing many millions of members and their fees. Their common agenda in the centralisation of State power and the emasculation of local decision making saw even the Tories lose over a million members between 1979 and 1997 when they were actually in government. They are no longer recognisable mass-membership parties but national political consumer brands. The combined membership of the big three doesn't even reach 1% of the UK electorate. Their long-term aims, supported by a Mandarinate willing to sacrifice democracy for the sake of what they see as 'stability', is to become the three permanent Parties of State, funded wholly by the taxpayer, and with the ability to exclude all newcomers from Parliament. This monstrous silent coup is taking place under our noses.

Today the Mail reports that Clegg is to seek to implement a donations cap but without increasing State funding. What bollocks. Clegg is facing the next election with a share of the poll that may not even reach double figures, with a probable membership of no more than 50,000 and no money in the bank. Of all three parties, he needs tax funding the most desperately and it's utterly disingenuous to pretend he isn't after greater tax funding whether up-front or through the back door. He's hardly likely to give away the LibDems' advantages of incumbency in the face of a determined challenge for third place from UKIP.  

There's really only one answer in reforming UK politics, which means loosening the stranglehold the big three have on our democracy, and that's not to vote for any of them - a 'No votes for the Tax Thieves' election campaign from the grass roots. However, under PPERA this may not be quite as simple as it seems - there are regulations about non-party campaigners which we need to look into. Watch this space.     


Anonymous said...

Just one more reason - if we needed one - to vote for UKIP.

Barnacle Bill said...

I shall watch this space wit interest young Raedwald.
A "None of the Above" Party is sorely needed on the next ballot papers.

Plantman said...

I looked at this issue about 3 years ago. IIRC the legislation - PPERA I think - prohibits the use of "None of the above" on ballot papers and as a party title.

THEY obviously had in mind what would be happening.

The legislation also, I think, forbids party titles that are more than 7 words long. Perhaps it's about time for a "None of these deserve a vote" party. Anyone up for it?

selsey.steve said...

The rules governing political party names are explained here:-

Anonymous said...

Clegg's proposal is simply immoral and will lead to the end of representative democracy.


Perhaps that's one of Clegg's goals - and the EU's.

Anonymous said...

If the National Trust put up candidates they would do well, and might even get a majority.

Don Cox

Anonymous said...

Not only does state funding for the political parties not be allowed.
We should also stop their subsidized boozing at all our expenses


James Higham said...

Angry Exile pointed out that just to not vote for any of the Big 3, as per our campaign, would result in the parties selecting someone else. He maintains that we should not vote at all.

Thinking about all of this.

outsider said...

For the reasons you give and others, there is no point in the vast majority of people belonging to or even supporting any of the three main Westminster parties. Their staff organisations would probably disappear without the existing taxpayer subsidies.

It seems obvious to anyone outside politics that, like any mature business, you attract interest by marketing and therefore the more your spending is restricted and the less benefit there is from membership the less interest there will be in conventional parties as a whole.
Other organisations such as the RSPB, the National Trust and even a few of the remaining private sector trade unions have no trouble attracting mass membership. With a few exceptions, such as the SNP, we just do not want political parties any more, however "vital" the political class believes them to be.
The logical progression would be for us to elect independent celebrities to public office. This already tends to happen where there are mayoral elections (hence the opposition of party machines to extending that system) but the national media machinery has so far prevented this happening at general elections.
Even when the Conservatives experimented with "primaries", people tended to go for an independent minded local doctor, so they soon put a stop to that.