In the furore over the government’s donations scandal, I’ve read an interesting article on Liberal Conspiracy.
The writer says:
So, what is the solution to party funding? To my mind, the situation we have already is ok. Britain has some of the cleanest politics in the world. The Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act generally took the view that ‘sunlight is the best disinfectant’. That is why it required donations to be registered. The furore over the David Abrahams case shows that people tried to circumvent this. This should be cracked down upon, as provided in the act.
The problem is that the situation over party funding is not ok, it’s definitely toxic. British politics continues to be dirty when the governing Labour party passes some laws, then privately attempts to break them. Prime Minister Gordon Brown was forced to admit this in Parliament. Far from cracking down on these unlawful donations, the government seems very reluctant to take any action. In the last few days, we have seen ministers openly apologise for failing to declare some donations.
The only way to deal with this properly is to openly force political parties to be funded solely by their members. No to state funding, no to donations, and there should be heavy restrictions on how much each political party and individual candidate can spend on campaigns and elections…. that must also include cutting the funding of the Labour party from the trade unions. The writer however is against this simple reform, saying:
[If a £50,000 cap was introduced]….It would make Labour still more dependent on wealthy individuals and would lead to the decay of the party and make it impossible for trade unions who wished to set up a new-left party.
The unions that (still) support the party are deluding themselves. If they had any sense, they would consider a open and public break with Labour. What is stopping them forming a new political party that supports their aspirations is fear….. fear that their influence would no longer be heard in the corridors of power. Where on earth have they been these last ten years?