The spectre of state funding is being raised again.
A huge increase in state funding of political parties, worth up to £100m over a five-year parliament, is being proposed by a government-commissioned inquiry.
The funding, which would be shared out according to the number of votes each party receives in a general election, would be presented as a way of compensating them for a huge loss of income as a result of introducing new caps on individual donations to parties. It would also be seen as a way of repackaging state funding that already goes to opposition parties.
No, no, no, no, no, no and no. Did I say no? Well, just in case there is any doubt, no! There should be no state funding of political parties, zero, none, nothing.
If I wanted to contribute to the party system, I would join a party and pay my dues. The problems that parties have with lack of funding is entirely their fault and they must deal with it themselves. Raiding the taxpayer’s coffers is not an answer and is most repugnant. Equally, I oppose the idea of a cap on donations. People should be able to donate whatever they want. If your party cannot attract enough support and funding, it means that you don’t have ideas that sell. It means that you may go under. Well, tough. Too bad. Cheerio, nice knowing you – but do not put your sticky fingers into the public purse you egregious little thieves.
The draft report is proposing that parties receive funding worth £3 per vote they receive. On the basis of the last election, the Tories would get £32m, Labour £25.8m and the Lib Dems £20.4m. The figures could be higher if tax relief were added.
Right, fine. I won’t vote for any of them, then.
Critics are likely to argue that such a degree of state funding would provoke public uproar and make it harder for small parties to break the stranglehold of the big three. But it would also act as an incentive for parties to get their vote out in seats that they are not likely to win. State funding is seen by most sides as the only way to reduce dependence on big backers.
I damned well hope it will provoke uproar. And I have no problem whatever with big backers – that’s the free market in action. I won’t vote for a big party because it has big backers, how much they have in the bank makes no difference to how I vote. What matters is the policies they put forward and as all three major parties are parties of more nannying, more interfering in our private lives and, generally more binge legislation involving micromanagement in stuff that is none of their concern, none of the bastards is getting a vote from me. Frankly, I wouldn’t be sorry to see the lot of them disappear. The party system is anti-democratic and actively pursues its own agenda at the expense of the electorate. It would be better to do away with the lot of them and have representatives who represent the people who elect them not some party machine.
Lord Feldman of Elstree, the Tories’ co-chairman, said in a letter to the committee that the cap had to be £50,000 and even this would mean the loss of 37% of the party’s donor income. He claimed: “A cap of £10,000 would hugely inhibit the ability of political parties to engage with the electorate.”
I agree with Feldman about the cap – but I object to the inference being made that I should pay for them to engage with me. I have heard what they have to say and it repulses me. I certainly don’t see why I should then foot the bill for it.