27 March 2012

State Funding Of Political Parties Is Good Value For The Taxpayer

For just £3 per voter per year the power of billionaires over political parties could be destroyed. Just £100m a year to regain a say over how £700bn of taxpayers money is spent. What could be better value than that?

Of course this is not the only problem we have with our corrupt political system - the concentration of ownership in the media also gives a few billionaires undue influence. That also needs to be broken up and strict limits on ownership imposed to protect against the Murdochs and Desmonds, Rothermeres etc.

Party political broadcasts work well in the broadcast media. They cheaply allow parties a say, I would extend this to the print media and internet - where a page or two of free advertising is given over. Allowing parties some redress to the constant bias in the press.

Then, of course there is the voting system...where as Bradford West will no doubt demonstrate a party can lose votes but win the seat just because the opposition is split. I predict Labour voters will split between Galloway's resurgent opportunistic media supported Respect and the Greens and despite losing voteshare to everyone the Tories will triumph. They have less support but will win the seat from Labour - what a way to allocate power!

That aside, lets get back to lobbying and party funding. Even if we assume that all political donations to parties are completely innocent and that an individual or organisation expects nothing in return and is just contributing to issues and causes they agree with. This is still wealth having undue influence. Parties need funding and they are bound to tweak (or more than tweak) policies if it helps them get power. And the media and large donors undoubtedly help them win votes and power. If we cap large donations at say £10,000 and replace the lost funding with a tickbox on the ballot where individual voters can decide to donate (or not) their £3 a year to the local party (not necessarily the one they vote for). Then we can get back to voters dictating policy not wealth.

No comments:

Post a Comment